Pope Benedict XVI, insisting that the faithful hold firm to Church teaching, has told Catholic politicians they must support the Vatican's nonnegotiable rejection of abortion and gay marriage.
On Tuesday, Benedict also rebuffed calls to let divorced Catholics who remarry receive Communion.
Putting his conservative stamp on his nearly two-year-old papacy, Benedict in a document also said that the Vatican was keeping its requirement that priests in the Roman Catholic Church be celibate, despite shortages of priests in some parts of the world.
A worldwide meeting of bishops, held at the Vatican in 2005, had endorsed the celibacy requirement, and Benedict, with the document, embraced their call.
The 131-page "exhortation," destined for both clergy and rank-and-file faithful among the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, is part of Benedict's vigorous campaign to ensure bishops, priests and their congregations strictly follow Church teaching.
Before becoming pontiff in April 2005, Benedict, a German theologian, led the Vatican's drive to safeguard Church teaching from doctrinal error.
Laced throughout the document are what sounds like nostalgic calls by Benedict for a kind of comeback for Latin and more "sobriety" during Mass.
Russell Shaw, a conservative Catholic writer in the US, described Tuesday's document as "certainly consistent with the pattern of this pontiff to date, a highly intelligent, highly thoughtful document which says nothing surprising but which reaffirms the traditional positions of the Church."
The question of whether Catholic politicians whose politics conflict with Church teaching should be denied Communion grabbed attention during the 2004 US presidential election campaign, when St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said he would deny the Eucharist to the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, a Catholic who supported abortion rights.
Benedict wrote that public witness to one's faith was especially required of politicians who decide matters such as abortion, euthanasia, "the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman ... and the promotion of the common good in all its values."
"These values are not negotiable. Consequently Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature," Benedict wrote.
Benedict indicated he was leaving the matter of wayward Catholic politicians to local bishops.
"Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them," the pope said.
Referring to Benedict's leaving the matter to bishops, Lisa Sowle Cahill, a theologian at Boston College, said liberals might be "grateful he's not more aggressively insisting that pastoral flexibility be curtailed."
The plight of divorced Catholics who remarry is a concern for many faithful in the US, where divorce and remarriage is common among the general population.
While Benedict acknowledged "the painful situations" of those remarried Catholics, he also reiterated the Church's stance that they cannot receive Communion because the Church views such faithful as living in sin if they remarry and consummate their new marriages.
The Church "encourages these members of the faithful to commit themselves to living their relationship ... as friends, as brother and sister," Benedict said.
Benedict sounded rueful about some of the changes in the Mass since the liberalizing reforms in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council, including a switch from Mass in Latin to local languages.
The pope wrote that he agreed with bishops at the 2005 meeting that, on international occasions, parts of the Mass should be celebrated in Latin. Faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, Benedict wrote.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s