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.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
SYMBOLIC: The bill sponsored by a cross-party group of lawmakers was hailed as a ‘historic moment’ in the fight for marriage equality, but is unlikely to pass Lawmakers in South Korea have proposed the country’s first same-sex marriage bill, in a move hailed by civic groups as a defining moment in the fight for equality. The marriage equality bill, proposed by South Korean lawmaker Jang Hye-yeong of the minor opposition Justice Party and co-sponsored by 12 lawmakers across all the main parties, seeks to amend the country’s civil code to allow same-sex marriage. The bill is unlikely to pass, but forms part of a trio of bills expected to increase pressure on the government to expand the idea of family beyond traditional criteria. The two other bills relate to
READY FOR ACTION: Military, police, firefighters and volunteers were standing by for search-and-rescue operations, with an official saying they ‘cannot afford not to prepare’ Philippine officials yesterday began evacuating thousands of people, shut down schools and offices and imposed a no-sail ban as Typhoon Mawar approached the country’s northern provinces a week after battering the US territory of Guam. The typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 155kpm and gusts of up to 190kph, but was forecast to spare the mountainous region a direct hit. Current projections show the typhoon veering northeast toward Taiwan or southern Japan. Although it is expected to slow down considerably, authorities warned of dangerous tidal surges, flash floods and landslides as it blows past the northernmost province of Batanes from today