an information resource
for orthodox Anglicans

Mainstream media wakes up: AP reports Pope Benedict removed nearly 400 abuser priests in two years

January 21st, 2014 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

by Hilary White, LifeSite News

After eight years of continual accusations of doing “nothing” by mainstream media, it has been revealed that Benedict XVI was busy throughout his pontificate removing priests from office who were found guilty of sexual abuse. From 2011-2012, Pope Benedict “defrocked” or laicised 384 priests, more than twice the 171 removed from the clerical state in 2008-09.

According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, in 2011, 125 laicisations were imposed as a penalty, and a further 135 were granted upon request. In 2012, there were 57 dismissals and 67 dispensations. A laicised priest can no longer perform any of the sacramental or public functions of the priesthood, can hold no office in the name of the Church and is removed from all parish duties. At the same time, he is released from obligations to his bishop and is outside the normal supervision of ecclesiastical superiors.

The documents came from Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s ambassador, or Permanent Observer to the UN in Geneva, who presented the figures to a panel on sex abuse cases last week. Tomasi presented a specially compiled document to the UN human rights committee.

According to Tomasi, in 2012, 418 new child sex abuse cases were reported to and investigated by the Vatican. The figures were later confirmed by Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the official who Benedict placed in charge of overseeing sex abuse allegations.

Tomasi told the panel, “The Holy See has formulated guidelines to facilitate the work of the local churches to develop effective measures within their jurisdiction and in conformity with canonical legislation.”

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Why did Pope Benedict XVI resign?

November 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

by Mark Dowd, BBC News

Benedict XVI shocked the world in February when he became the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. But attention shifted quickly to the succession, and the election of the new Pope, Francis. Amid the drama, one question was never fully answered – why did Benedict quit?

Pope Benedict's official resignation statement offered his waning physical and mental powers as the explanation, but it's long been suspected there was more to it. And my inquiries have confirmed that.

I went to visit the Nigerian Cardinal, Francis Arinze at his apartment overlooking St Peter's. He's one of the most senior figures in the church and knows the Vatican like the back of his hand. He was even, for a short time in March of this year, mooted as a possible successor to Pope Benedict. And he was one of the select handful of senior church officials who were in the Pope's Apostolic Palace when he broke the news to them personally.

I raised the subject of the scandals that had preceded the Pope's bombshell decision and, in particular the Vatileaks affair in which the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, had leaked confidential documents exposing Vatican power struggles. Could that have been a factor in his resignation? His answer was unexpected.

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He’s back! Benedict XVI speaks out on sex abuse – and calls Richard Dawkins ’science fiction’

September 25th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

by Tim Stanley, Telegraph

We've heard very little from Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI since his retirement, but he's made a surprise return to public life. Benedict has written a letter to the atheist mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi, covering subjects from the sex abuse scandal to evolution – and extracts have been released by Italy's La Repubblica newspaper. Coming off the back of Francis' letter to another atheist on the subject of obeying one's conscience, it's hard not to draw parallels between the two and there's already discussion about the possibility of collaboration. Either way, Benedict makes some interesting points.
First, he rejects involvement in the cover up of priests engaged in sexual abuse:
I have never tried to hide these things. That the power of evil penetrate to such an extent in the inner world of faith is for us a suffering which, on the one hand, we have to endure, while, on the other, we must at the same time, do everything possible to ensure that such cases do not repeated.
This probably will not satisfy those who feel the Church hasn't done nearly enough or with sufficient speed – and who will continue, fairly or not, to blame the Vatican for the inaction. Benedict adds that this one sin should not blind people to the wider accomplishments of Christianity:
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Venting and vetting: The brutal side of papal politics

February 27th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

Cardinal Keith O'BrienBy David Gibson, RNS

If you want a crash course on how papal politics really works, look no further than the saga of Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

On Friday, Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric grabbed headlines by telling the BBC that priestly celibacy was “not of divine origin” and that he’d be “happy” if priests had the option to marry.

On Saturday, O’Brien was back in the news, this time after four men reportedly accused him of “inappropriate acts” dating back to the 1980s.

By Monday, O’Brien had resigned as archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh and announced he would skip the conclave.

From champion of married priests to disgraced churchman within 72 hours, O’Brien’s trajectory is stunning but also emblematic of the frenetic and fever-pitched campaigning that occurs during the tiny window between a pope’s death or resignation and the election of his successor.

The interregnum lasts a few weeks at most, when church leaders and various interest groups can openly voice their views to try to influence the future course of Roman Catholicism. It is also a time when the media act as the chief means for vetting any potential candidate whose track record, views and character might otherwise remain a mystery to the public and even many of his fellow cardinals.

If the process is far less expensive and not quite as mind-numbing as the slog of a U.S. presidential campaign, the condensed papal version is not much gentler, or necessarily more effective. Instead it can be nasty, brutish and short.

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Pope tells faithful God called him to quit

February 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

From The Telegraph

Pope Benedict XVI told tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square in a voice breaking with emotion that he was resigning because God had called on him to devote himself to prayer

Pope Benedict XVI has given his pontificate's final Sunday blessing from his studio window to the cheers of tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square.

Benedict says even though he's retiring on Thursday from the papacy, the first pope in 600 years to do so, he's "not abandoning the church."

In a voice breaking with emotion that he was resigning because God had called on him to devote himself to prayer but said he would not foresake a Church role.

Instead he says he'll serve the church with the same dedication he has till now, but will do so in a way "more suitable to my age and my strength."

Benedict, 85, will spend his last years in prayer, meditation and seclusion in a monastery on Vatican City's grounds.

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Pope Benedict XVI resigns: the mainstream media just doesn’t get God or Catholicism

February 15th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

By Tim Stanley, Telegraph

For Lent, I’m giving up. How can anyone of faith not feel like surrendering after this week’s largely bad media coverage of the papal abdication? The identikit headline seems to be, “Elderly Homophobe Quits Misogynistic Institution Because He Can’t Hack It”. And my favourite piece of instant analysis has to be The Guardian’s “Five Key Issues for the Catholic Church”, which details the things the next Pope must do to rescue the Church from oblivion. They include ordain women priests, conduct gay weddings and hand out condoms. So The Guardian’s ideal Pope is someone who isn’t a Catholic. The paper reports that Sinead O’Connor is available.
Some parts of the mainstream media don’t do God and don’t understand people who do. They see everything through the prism of politics – presuming that Christians fall into camps of Left and Right, that Bible-talk is ideological slang or that the tenets of faith are up for negotiation in the same way that party platforms are easily forgotten by the hucksters who ran on them. Some journalists need a crash course in Christianity.
Let’s name and shame a few media sins:
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A liberal Pope? Not a prayer: Benedict’s successor will feel the shadow of his continuing presence in Vatican City

February 14th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

By Edward Stourton, Mailonline

The next Pope will almost certainly be someone you have never heard of. That is the only prediction one can make with any confidence as the Roman Catholic Church sets sail on the uncharted waters opened up by Benedict XVI’s resignation.

The church is far and away the world’s largest institution, but the system for choosing its leader is anything but democratic. The decision is taken by members of the College of Cardinals who are under 80: currently 117 of them. Many of them have worked together over the years, and know one another — and therefore the candidates — very well.

But they are not representatives in the sense that politicians in a democracy represent the voters.

They are Princes of the Church, clerical aristocrats, not democrats. And there is often a wide gap between the way they understand Catholicism and the views of ordinary Catholics they are supposed to lead.
Indeed, the electoral process is designed to be as ‘unworldly’ as possible. The cardinals will be locked up — the word ‘conclave’ is derived from the Latin for ‘with a key’ — in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican until they have made their choice, cut off from the outside world.

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Pope’s last addresses call on Catholics to stay strong on marriage, abortion, eugenics, euthanasia

February 14th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

By Hilary White, LifeSite News

It was an emotional day at the Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI, in two of his last public addresses, called again on Christians to continue to defend the lives of innocent unborn and vulnerable people and to uphold the sanctity of natural marriage. In this morning’s regular Wednesday general audience he warned that Christians will face great pressure to give up their commitments.

“Even those who come from a Christian family … must renew daily their decision to be Christian, to give God the first place in the face of the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, in the face of the criticism of many of their contemporaries.”
But this must not deter them from proclaiming the truth: “The temptation to set one’s faith aside is always present and conversion becomes a response to God that must be confirmed at various times throughout our lives,” he said.
“It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in our everyday lives, or to leave space for prayer and inner silence.
“It is not easy to publicly oppose the decisions that many consider to be obvious, such as abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to avoid hereditary diseases.”
The tone of the Ash Wednesday homily was sombre, befitting the occasion of both the first day of Lent and the mood of Catholics around the world at Pope Benedict’s almost unprecedented and shocking revelation on Monday. In the homily, he warned ominously against divisions and “sins against the unity of the Church”.
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Lightning strikes St Peter’s Basilica as Pope resigns

February 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

From Cranmer – read here

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Pope Benedict resigns: sex abuse survivors hope move eases prosecution

February 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Paedophilia, Pope Benedict Comments Off

By Karen McVeigh, Guardian

Victims and their advocates – who hold pontiff responsible for covering up abuse – push forward with international legal cases

Victims of the child sex abuse crisis that has engulfed the Catholic church during Pope Benedict's tenure welcomed his unexpected resignation on Monday, amid speculation over what prompted his departure.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), an organisation of 12,000 members worldwide, claim Benedict is personally responsible for widespread abuse within the church because he chose to protect its reputation over the safety of children. US lawyers who are currently suing the pontiff and other high-ranking Holy See officials for systematically concealing sexual crimes around the world, said his resignation may lead to more international prosecutions.

[...]  The Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed a case against the pope last year at the International Criminal Court on behalf of Snap, said his departure would make international prosecution easier, both in its case at the ICC and other, potential prosecutions, because it will remove the immunity given to him as a head of state.

In a statement, the CRR said: "This pope is responsible for rape and other sexual violence around the world, both through his exercise of superior responsibility and through his direct involvement in the cover up of specific crimes. Tens of thousands of victims, most of them children, continue to suffer because he has placed the reputation of the church above the safety of its members. His resignation will make international prosecution easier for national systems of justice that still grant immunity to current heads of state."

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David Lindsay comments here

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The ordeal awaiting us – watching all and sundry pontificating on all matters Papal and religious

February 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

Hans KungBy Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald

The Pope announced his intention on laying down his burden on 11th February, World Day of the Sick, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The see of Peter will fall vacant at 8pm on Thursday 28th February. The Conclave will meet in mid-March, and if the modern trend continues, we may well have a Pope the next day – maybe 17th March will be the day. Thus so far the timetable is shaping up.
Naturally there were good reasons for the Pope to announce his resignation in advance. It gives people time to prepare, and it gives the Pope time to prepare for his departure from the Papal Apartment. It also means that the Cardinals, who must elect his successor, have an added two weeks to think, reflect and pray – or as some people would love to put it, to jockey for position, to intrigue and to campaign. And there lies the disadvantage of these two weeks and a few days: the media coverage, which abhors a vacuum, will do its best to fill this space.
This represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Catholics.
The challenge will be in having to watch the airwaves fill with a whole load of people who are very marginal to Church life, and yet who will be invited to pontificate on all matters Papal and religious, giving it their own particular slant, which they will advance as a mainstream view. I haven’t yet seen Hans Küng grace our screens, but he is just the sort of person I mean: a man whose theology is greatly at variance with what Catholics believe, and yet who will perhaps pop up as a Catholic expert. And yet we all, in a funny way, like Professor Küng, and we have grown used to him over the years. The milk of human kindness may however turn sour at the sight of the lawyer who was interviewed on Newsnight last night, a man who has apparently written a book about the Pope, and who seemed to promise, with his reference to General Pinochet, that the Pope could expect to be harassed in retirement by lawyers like himself wanting his arrest on unspecified charges. Whereas Professor Küng is a theological critic of the Pope, as is his right, this lawyer seems to be a professional Pope-hater, which is rather different. I fear we may see more of that.
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Some 'pontificating' -
New Pope should not condemn contraception, says Cardinal by By John-Paul Ford Rojas, Telegraph
A Pope who opposed human rights, by Peter Tatchell, who fronted a Channel 4 TV documentary about he Pope in 2010
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Warning of decisive shift away from Christian teachings: Benedict’s legacy

February 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

by John Bingham, Telegraph

To his many admirers, Pope Benedict has proved to be a persuasive defender of Christian values and a voice of stability in a world where centuries-old certainties about the family, the state and faith have shifted at a dramatic rate.

To his critics however, he has been an arch-conservative who held back reform during an eight year papacy that endured its fair share of controversies.
Pope Benedict's time in office coincided with a decisive shift away from traditional Christian teaching among many European nations, vividly illustrated by recent moves to legalise gay marriage in Britain and France and bans on crosses in the workplace and on prayers in council meetings.
It was Benedict, during his visit to Britain in 2010, who first warned of the threat of "aggressive secularism" to these traditional values, and it came to be a phrase that many others, including David Cameron, proved eager to endorse.
In the UK, Benedict will be best remembered for that historic 2010 visit, which had a galvanising effect on British Catholics, and made strides toward reconciliation between the Papacy, the Anglican Church and the British crown over differences dating back to the 1530s.
It was a process perhaps best symbolised by the moment he joined the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in Westminster Abbey praying at the tomb of Edward the Confessor, an English king and a Catholic saint.
He also founded the Personal Ordinariate, the new branch of the Catholic Church set up for breakaway Anglicans.
While Pope Benedict was a disappointment to reformists in the Catholic Church, he was a champion of conservatives. He reintroduced the once-defunct Latin Mass and fiercely opposed gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia.
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A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury on Pope Benedict’s resignation

February 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Pope Benedict Comments Off

(AM's newslinks on Pope Benedict's resignation can be found here)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has released the following message on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

It was with a heavy heart but complete understanding that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict’s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage. As I prepare to take up office I speak not only for myself, and my predecessors as Archbishop, but for Anglicans around the world, in giving thanks to God for a priestly life utterly dedicated, in word and deed, in prayer and in costly service, to following Christ. He has laid before us something of the meaning of the Petrine ministry of building up the people of God to full maturity.

Read here

The Archbishop of York's message can be read here

David Cameron pays tribute to Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict in shock resignation

February 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in News, Pope Benedict Comments Off

From BBC News

The Pope is to resign at the end of this month in an entirely unexpected development, the Vatican has confirmed.

The 85-year-old became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 following the death of John Paul II.

The reasons behind the head of the Catholic Church's surprise resignation have yet to emerge.

Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office.

At 78, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.

He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.

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Cranmer has the full resignation statement

Pope Benedict XVI resigns – live reaction by Paul Owen, Guardian 

Comment: The leadership of the Catholic Church are hate-fuelled bigots by Paul Tippetts, Pink News

Pope to resign. This is unbelievable news, but evidence of Benedict XVI's deep humility by Damian Thompson, Telegraph

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation: live blog from Catholic Herald

The Pope has tried to help, but being a Catholic has never felt more difficult than at the beginning of the 21st century by Cristina Odone, Telegraph

The Catholic Church in England and Wales will have no say in the papal conclave. Just as well, perhaps by Damian Thompson, Telegraph

Three centuries of popes – interactive by Paddy Allen and Ranjit Dhaliwal, Guardian

Anglican-Catholic relations rest, in part, on Pope’s successor from ACNS
Can the pope resign?
from The Guardian

Pope Benedict XVI has resigned – what happens next? from The Guardian

Pope Benedict XVI – in pictures The Guardian

Pope Benedict's resignation: a stunning shock by Andrew Brown, Guardian

SPUC thanks Pope for linking protecting life with defending marriage

Richard Dawkins: what a nasty old man by Damian Thompson, Telegraph

Who will be the next Pope?  from Cranmer

Cranmer links to One Of These Men Will Be The Next Pope by Michael Brendan Dougherty, Business Insider

Pope Benedict resignation: Cardinal Keith O'Brien shocked by news from BBC News, Scotland

Peter Tatchell: A Pope who opposed human rights

Reflecting on the resignation by Fr Ed Tomlinson

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Pope blessing gay marriage is not ‘offensive’?

January 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Activism, Pope Benedict Comments Off

By David Gibson, Sacred and Profane

Apparently not in New Zealand, where the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a four-and-a-half story billboard depicting Pope Benedict XVI blessing the marriage of a male couple “is unlikely to cause widespread offence.”

The billboard was put up in December in central Auckland and Wellington by an electric company, Powershop, to show support for a same-sex marriage bill before the legislature.
Contrast that outcome with the decision last spring by the outre’ outfitter Benetton to end its controversial UNHATE campaign ad showing a photoshopped image of the pope smooching a prominent Egyptian sheikh. The Vatican had sued Benetton, which is known for provocative ads, and the clothier “publicly recognized it had hurt the faithful’s sensitivity,” and that “the pope’s image must be respected and can only be used with the prior authorization of the Holy See.”
I’m still not clear whether it was blasphemy or copyright fears that prompted Benetton’s reversal. Or maybe a boycott risk.
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Pope warns David Cameron on gay marriage ‘damage to family’ in New Year message

January 1st, 2013 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Pope Benedict Comments Off

By Steve Doughty and Simon Caldwell, Mailonline

The Pope will today give a public warning to David Cameron that his plans for same-sex marriage will undermine the family.

Pope Benedict XVI’s New Year’s Day message warns that the Coalition’s reforms will reduce the status of marriage and harm the families that are built around it.

He will say that such moves by politicians are ‘an offence against the truth of the human person’.
In a message aimed at the Prime Minister – who is not named – the Pope will add that the cause of preserving the institution should be supported by everyone concerned about the family, whether or not they are Christian.

The Pope warns there is ‘a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union’.

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The Pope is right – we’ve lost the ability to slow down and think

December 26th, 2012 Jill Posted in Culture, Pope Benedict Comments Off

By Harry Mount, Telegraph

In his Christmas message, the Pope said, “The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have."

How we rush to fill our time with time-saving appliances that soon become mere time-filling devices. Mobile phones, iPads, Facebook, tweeting – all, at their best, are staggeringly efficient things that produce extraordinary advances in our working lives. I have written whole articles on my phone while on the train and filed them to newspapers instantaneously – a process that would once have needed a pen and paper, a copytaker, a railway station telephone box and a team of hot metal print workers.

Those same marvellous things then come along and devour our spare hours, destroying our capacity for spiritualism, for reading long books and for just thinking. We shouldn't really blame the devices themselves, more our capacity for being waylaid by short-term gratification. That man avidly staring at his phone on the 7.32am from Guildford might be reading Proust or the Bible on his mobile – except he's not.

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Pope’s Christmas message warns gender theory is a denial of God and the Bible

December 22nd, 2012 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

By John-Henry Westen, LifeSite News

The gender theory, which is behind the homosexual revolution and the attack on the family was highlighted in Pope Benedict’s Christmas message to Vatican prelates this morning. “There is no denying the crisis that threatens,” the family “to its foundations – especially in the Western world,” he said.

Crediting the Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, for the research, Pope Benedict XVI said “the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper” than was originally believed. “While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question.”

According to “the ‘gender’ philosophy,” explained the Pope, “sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.”

The Holy Father added: “The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.”

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Abortion and same-sex marriage seriously damage peace: Pope Benedict

December 15th, 2012 Jill Posted in Pope Benedict Comments Off

By John Smeaton, SPUC

Pope Benedict's message, published on 8th December by the Vatican, for "the celebration of the world day of peace, 1st January 2013" could not have been more appropriately timed in view of current developments in both Ireland and Britain.

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, said:

"Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life. 

"There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. 

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Pope welcomes new Archbishop of Canterbury

November 12th, 2012 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Pope Benedict Comments Off

By John Bingham, Telegraph

The pope has reaffirmed his desire for stronger ties between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in his first message to the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

In a message through Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican’s ecumenical chief, he spoke of the long-standing aim of “fully restored ecclesial communion” between the two churches.

The letter promised prayers for the Bishop of Durham and his family and spoke of the “intense spiritual and human friendship” between previous Archbishops and Popes.

Ties between the church in England and the papacy were first severed under Henry VIII and permanently separated under Elizabeth I.

But current relations between the two churches are widely viewed as closer than at any point in the last 400 years.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has a strong personal friendship with Pope Benedict, and shares a similar background as a theologian.

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