In the last eight years, we have used many laudatory words and phrases to describe Pope Francis. Genuine. Pastoral. Open-minded. Concerned for the poor, humanity, the environment. Friend of the marginalized.
"But the pope's decision," we write in our latest editorial, "to approve the March 15 decree from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith instructing Catholic priests not to offer blessings for same-sex couples brings to mind a word that is much more bitter in the throat. Hypocrite."
This decision gives us whiplash, we write. This is the same man who, when asked in 2013 about a gay priest in Vatican service, famously replied: "If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis has met with LGBT couples throughout his papacy and personally intervened for one Italian gay couple to make sure their three children were able to be raised Catholic.
"We recognize, of course, that the earlier papal quips and meetings did not ultimately change the church's teaching on human sexuality," we write. "… But we come to the point of absurdity — and hypocrisy — when a pope says he wants to welcome LGBT people into the church but then simply cannot countenance that they might want to pursue loving relationships, just like the rest of humanity."
- Two Catholic cardinals 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.
Nearly 50 years ago, Catholic labor activist César Chávez won a hard fought battle to ensure California's farm workers a right to organize. Now, Catholic leaders in the state fear a U.S. Supreme Court case on March 22 could overturn a fundamental regulation that could chip away at worker's rights and have broader health and safety concerns throughout the country.
In Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, agricultural growers in California are seeking to overturn a 45-year-old regulation that allows union organizers to briefly enter agricultural workplaces during non-work hours to speak to farmworkers. The growers argue that the regulation allowing union officials onto their property results in an unconstitutional "taking" of their property. Farm workers, and their allies, counter that preventing labor leaders from having access to workers so that they understand their rights strips them of essential legal protections.
"This would be another step in constricting the ability of workers to form associations, to unionize and to effectively bargain," Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego told NCR. "Those rights are being chipped away little by little and that's very destructive to our society."
More than 20,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for Kansas City-St. Joseph Archbishop Joseph Naumann to be removed from his post as chairman of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee following a series of comments signaling hostility towards President Joe Biden over his position on abortion.
The open letter, according to its authors, "highlights how the archbishop’s culture-war attacks on the president’s faith contrasts with the approach of Pope Francis, who has expressed his desire to find common ground with the administration."
The letter was published by the advocacy groups Faith in Public Life and Faithful America. Signatories call for Naumman to be replaced by a bishop who will give attention to a range of pro-life concerns, stating that "Pope Francis reminds us that 'the lives of the poor' and 'those already born' are 'equally sacred.'" Among its signers are 400 priests, religious sisters and brothers.
- NCR asked our readers if they have returned to in-person Mass as part of our look back on one year of the coronavirus pandemic. We have the results here.
- A report commissioned by Germany’s Cologne archdiocese
on church officials' handling of past cases of sexual abuse found 75
cases in which high-ranking officials neglected their duties.
- Readers respond to our recent editorial that expresses frustration with the U.S. bishops sowing doubt about vaccines and relief that promote the common good.