Vatican's gay blessing ban stokes fear among African LGBT Catholics
The Vatican's recent decree banning Catholic priests from blessing same-sex marriages has stoked fear among the LGBT community in countries across Africa, where gay people are routinely discriminated against or even arrested because of harsh laws criminalizing same-sex activity.
Nigeria is one place with such a law on the books. If a person is found engaging in a same-sex relationship and convicted, they can be punished with a 14-year prison sentence. Activists say the measure's passage in 2014 led to a spike in violence against LGBT people.
The decree has also been criticized in South Africa, where LGBT persons still face discrimination and violence despite same-sex marriage being legalized in 1998.
One gay Nigerian man told NCR contributor Patrick Egwu that given the opportunity, he would like to leave the country for a place "where I will be safe and accepted."
- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a formal response March 15 to a question about whether Catholic clergy can bless gay unions: "Negative."
- Two Catholic cardinals, including Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, defended Pope Francis' decision to approve a decree that bans priests from blessing same-sex unions, saying that the church needs to be clear in its teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Bring back the assault weapons ban
The slaughter in Boulder, Colorado, coming on the heels of the slaughter in Atlanta, should make clear to everyone in the country that our nation's gun policies are not working, writes Michael Sean Winters in his column today. "Thirty-one people were murdered in Chicago in February, and there were 144 shootings. In one city in one month."
While he supports comprehensive background checks, Winters doesn't believe that they can deter mass shootings in the future. He supports President Joe Biden's call to bring back the ban on assault weapons.
He says: "Our conservative friends like to talk about American exceptionalism. Turns out, nothing is more exceptional about America than its mass murder rate."
- In the March issue of The Life, Global Sisters Report's monthly panel of women religious around the world, sisters reflect on how Jesus' promise of everlasting life through the Resurrection resonates during a time of great individual and collective loss.
- The latest reflection in EarthBeat's Lenten reflection series reminds readers that because climate change is caused by humans, it is not just a scientific reality; it is also a moral and spiritual problem.
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