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Jason Voorheees
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December 30 2013 9:50 AM   QuickQuote Quote  
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Edward Snowden and Pope Francis Broke America’s Political Deadlock in 2013

By Peter Beinart
thedailybeast.com December 30th 2013

On poverty and surveillance, Democrats and Republicans finally found some common ground.

In 2012, Barack Obama travelled the country promising that if he defeated Mitt Romney, in 2013 the Republican Party’s “fever may break.” Didn’t happen. In 2013, the GOP Congress remained just as hostile to Obamacare, citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a budget deal that includes higher taxes as it had in 2012. That’s the bad news. The good news is that in two areas, 2013 did witness a potential break in the Verdun-like standoff between America’s two parties. And the two men most responsible were completely unknown a year ago and don’t even reside in the United States: Edward Snowden and the Pope.

First, Snowden. For a few years now, it’s been clear that while Cheneyism still dominates the Republican foreign policy elite, many grassroots conservatives are less than thrilled about a permanent, wildly expensive “war on terror” that gives the federal government virtually unchecked power to spy on Americans. By exposing the breathtaking reach of National Security Agency surveillance, Snowden empowered these conservative insurgents. In July, despite the unified opposition of House GOP leaders, 94 House Republicans voted to limit NSA spying. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Republicans who believe the government has gone too far in restricting civil liberties has jumped 18 points since 2010, and now exceeds the level among Democrats.

Spying divides Democrats along similar lines. The party’s foreign policy elites are more willing to trust the NSA with vast surveillance powers, at least when they control the White House. And Democratic leaders don’t want to jeopardize their success in overcoming the party’s reputation as “soft on terror.” But as in the GOP, the further you get from the centers of governmental power, the unhappier Democrats are with NSA spying.

It’s now possible to imagine the surveillance issue dividing insiders from outsiders in the 2016 primaries in both parties. Chris Christie and Rand Paul have already begun sparring over the issue. And it’s a good bet that whoever challenges Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination will take a harder line against the Obama administration’s record on spying and drones. Despite the depressingly static nature of Washington partisan conflict, America’s national security debate is being scrambled in ways not seen since 9/11. And Snowden is a big part of the reason why.

The other figure scrambling Washington debates in a way Obama can’t is Pope Francis. First of all, he’s helping bury the culture war. It’s harder to claim that secular liberals threaten Christianity when they’re madly applauding the most prominent Christian leader in the world, and he’s applauding back. Second, Francis is fueling a debate about economic inequality and government’s responsibility to the poor. That’s mildly uncomfortable for Democrats, who since the Clinton era have been more comfortable talking about the problems of the middle class, and whose policy wonks generally believe it’s necessary to cut entitlements. But the really interesting impact is on the GOP. Because Francis is probably the non-American who Republican elites revere most, and because he stands outside Washington’s partisan scrum, his focus on poverty is convincing some GOP leaders that they should focus on it too. From Ralph Reed to Newt Gingrich to Paul Ryan, prominent Republicans have begun talking about remaking their party in Francis’s image. It’s unclear if they mean real policy change, or mere rebranding. But even if leading Republicans merely shift away from the radically individualistic, Tea Party-esque message of recent years to something closer to George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” it would change the tenor of America’s economic debate in ways we haven’t seen since the financial crisis hit.

If you look at American politics from the inside-outside out—at the fights over Obamacare, the budget and the confirmation of nominees—it looks predictable and depressing. But if you look from the outside-in, you can see the way forces beyond the Beltway are remaking the terms of Washington debate.
Jason Voorheees
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January 16 2014 1:55 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Pope Francis Names 19 New Cardinals, Focusing On The Poor

AP

January 16, 2014 03:08

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis named his first batch of cardinals on Sunday, choosing 19 men from Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere, including the developing nations of Haiti and Burkina Faso, in line with his belief that the church must pay more attention to the poor.

Francis made the announcement as he spoke from his studio window to a crowd in St. Peter's Square.

Sixteen of the appointees are younger than 80, meaning they are currently eligible to elect the next pope, which is a cardinal's most important task. The ceremony to formally install them as cardinals will be held Feb. 22 at the Vatican.

Since his election in March as the first pontiff from Latin America, the pope has broken tradition after tradition in terms of protocol and style at the Vatican.

And in a move to restore the reputation of the Vatican's Bank, Pope Francis also reshuffled most of the cardinals from the oversight body of the institution, replacing all but one of predecessor Pope Benedict XVI's appointments.

On February 16, 2013, a few days before announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI had confirmed the members of the supervisory board of the bank for five years. Among them was the assistant secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has been widely accused by many for the administrative failures of the Vatican under the rule of Pope Benedict.

The cardinals’ commission is tasked with approval of the overall strategy of the institution including charity work as well as reviewing accounts. It is a de facto link between the Pope and the board of superintendence, consisting of five lay men from around the world. Last February, Ernst Von Freyberg was appointed as the new president of the bank.

Pope Francis has practically canceled the decree of Benedict, replacing Bertone and other members of the committee in charge of reforming the bank formerly known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). In the middle of 2013, Pope Francis appointed a trusted friend, Monsignor Battista Ricca, to occupy the post of supervisor and appointed an independent commission of inquiry to examine the activities of the bank and its legal status.

His team shut down many of the suspicious accounts held in the bank and asked the Promontory Financial Group to audit the institution and bring it up to international standards.

Pope Francis has vowed to reform the bank or close it down completely after a series of scandals that tainted the reputation of the Holy Sea and the institution responsible for its charity around the globe.

Last July, IOR director Paolo Cipriani and deputy-director Massimo Tulli resigned, three days after the arrest of Vatican accountant Monsignor Nunzio Scarano on charges of plotting to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) into Italy from Switzerland.

Dubbed "Monsignor 500", the man is currently on trial in Rome on the smuggling charge and is also under investigation for money-laundering Vatican accounts.

In a 2010 scandal, Italian police seized 23 million euros from an IOR account. At the same time authorities launched an investigation against IOR's then-president, Gotti Tedeschi and director Paolo Cipriani for alleged money laundering from a Vatican account at an Italian bank. The money was later unfrozen and Gotti Tedeschi was exonerated as a suspect, while Cipriani hasn't been charged.
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January 20 2015 12:39 AM   QuickQuote Quote  







Pope upholds ban on contraception

Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Published Monday, January 19, 2015

Pope Francis is firmly upholding church teaching banning contraception, but said Monday that Catholics don't have to breed "like rabbits" and should instead practice "responsible parenting."

Speaking to reporters en route home from the Philippines, Francis said there are plenty of church-approved ways to regulate births. But he said most importantly, no outside institution should impose its views on regulating family size, blasting what he called the "ideological colonization" of the developing world.

African bishops, in particular, have long complained about how progressive, Western ideas about birth control and gay rights are increasingly being imposed on the developing world by groups, institutions or individual nations, often as a condition for development aid.

"Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonized," Francis said.

His comments, taken together with his defence of the Catholic Church's ban on artificial contraception during the trip, signal that he is increasingly showing his more conservative bent, which has largely been ignored by public opinion or obscured by a media narrative that has tended to highlight his populist persona.

On the trip, Francis gave his strongest defence yet of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which enshrined the church's opposition to artificial birth control. He warned against "insidious attacks" against the family -- a reference to gay marriage proposals -- echoing language often used by overwhelmingly conservative U.S. bishops. And he insisted that "openness to life is a condition of the sacrament of matrimony."

At the same time, however, he said it's not true that to be a good Catholic "you have to be like rabbits." On the contrary, he said "responsible parenthood" requires that couples regulate the births of their children, as church teaching allows. He cited the case of a woman he met who was pregnant with her eighth child after seven Cesarean sections.

"That is an irresponsibility!" he said. The woman might argue that she should trust in God. "But God gives you methods to be responsible," he said.

He said there are many "licit" ways of regulating births that are approved by the church, an apparent reference to the Natural Family Planning method of monitoring a woman's cycle to avoid intercourse when she is ovulating.

During the Vatican's recent meeting on the family, African bishops denounced how aid groups and lending institutions often condition their assistance on a country's compliance with their ideals: allowing health care workers to distribute condoms, or withdrawing assistance if legislation discriminating against gays is passed.

"When imposed conditions come from imperial colonizers, they search to make people lose their own identity and make a sameness," he said. "This is ideological colonization."





re: every catholic mission in every country ever






crunkmoose
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January 20 2015 11:33 AM   QuickQuote Quote  
Pope upholds ban on contraception? Thats not a problem (except for areas where AIDS is still a massive problem and the church still wants to keep people from using condoms), as in America over 90 percent of female catholics use birth control at some point in their lives anyway.

Also, lets not overlook everyone's favorite Ill Papa coming out AGAINST free speech when it comes to criticizing religion... and his thoroughly un-christian "If you say a curse word against my mother, I will punch you" remark.

It wasn't about this Pope or this subject, buuut Tim Minchin said it best.

WREN
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January 20 2015 1:46 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
I guess I can understand the mindset of not wanting people to criticize religion but to use the killings in Paris as a platform to make that statement was ill advised. No one wants their beliefs to be ridiculed but as a Christian would say, you need to learn to turn the other cheek. It would have been better had he stated that and condemned the killings. Alas, he didn't.

As far as punching the person who insulted his mother, I kind of like that he said that. It makes the Pope human instead of the untouchable voice of god that he's believed to be. If I was a Catholic, I'd kind of want to know that he's a bit like me instead of this mythological being. That's just me.
WREN
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January 20 2015 1:47 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
And the Catholic Church still hating on contraception is so dumb. With all the progressive stances he's been taking since he took the position, you'd think this one would be an easy change for the church. Much easier than accepting gays. While, I like a lot of what this Pope has been trying to do, I still think the Catholic Church is a giant shit show.
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January 20 2015 1:48 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
The pope isn't supposed to show reactionary human emotion. He is God's representative on earth, and Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.
WREN
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January 20 2015 2:07 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
I vote for Buddy Christ. He seems like a cool dude. I bet he'd bop someone on the nose for insulting his mother.
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January 20 2015 2:12 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
The reason for the catholic church condemning contraception is pretty obvious. They want idiots to make more catholics.
And yes, it is ridiculous. The missionaries fucked the continent of africa up so badly by spreading that nonsense.
Dianana
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January 20 2015 2:30 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Speaking of missionaries, how about those good christians that went over there and started a "KILL ALL GAYS" campaign in Uganda?
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June 17 2015 12:04 PM   QuickQuote Quote  

The Pope Needs to Change the Climate on Contraception


by Ronald A. Lindsay 06/17/2015


It is very likely that Pope Francis will issue an encyclical Thursday that will endorse the scientific consensus that the earth is warming and that this change in climate is caused in large part by greenhouse gases generated by human activity. One cheer for the pope! All things considered, it obviously is a good thing that the pope recognizes the reality of climate change.

Unfortunately, when it comes to proposing remedies for the problem, the pope ignores one of the principal underlying causes, not just for global warming, but for other looming ecological disasters.

The pope will apparently recommend reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Sure, yes, that will help and virtually everyone agrees that should be done. Of course, how to bring about this reduction in fossil fuels without adverse economic consequences is a subject of much debate, and here, apparently, the pope has nothing to offer but nostrums. Exhortations to lead a simpler life and a call for richer nations to assist poorer nations in the transition away from fossil fuels sound more like wishful thinking than practical solutions.

There is one very practical measure, immediately realizable and eminently feasible that is, as it were, staring the pope right in the face: The pope should not only end the Catholic Church's morally absurd and repugnant opposition to contraception, but should urge all families to engage in responsible family planning.

Reducing population growth would have a substantial positive effect on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. One persuasive scientific analysis indicates that reducing population growth could help achieve 37 percent to 41 percent of the targeted reduction in emissions by the end of the century. This paper also pointed out that "there is a substantial unmet need for family planning and reproductive health services in many countries."

But a dangerously warming climate is not the only adverse effect resulting from substantial increases in population. Just yesterday, a study was released indicating that the majority of the globe's largest aquifers were rapidly depleting. "The aquifers under the most stress are in poor, densely populated regions, such as northwest India, Pakistan and North Africa" according to the report. In January of this year, eighteen scientists published a paper in the journal Science, which indicated that human societies had already caused four of nine "planetary boundaries" to be crossed, with the other five under threat. (The four crossed boundaries relate to the extinction rate for plant and animal species, the contamination of oceans through runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus (from fertilizers), climate change resulting from the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and deforestation.) Crossing these boundaries threatens to destroy the stability of our environment and with it, the sustainability of human life (not to mention other forms of life).

We are over seven billion people now, with many more on the way. Even if we reduce consumption of fossil fuels, we will still be drinking water, using fertilizers to increase crop yields to feed ourselves, and cutting down forests to create fields in which to raise these crops. Substantially more people very likely will result in increasing use of our natural resources and increased damage to the environment from that use.

No, I don't have a problem when the pope endorses scientific findings. But before the pope lectures us on our moral responsibilities with respect to the environment, he should take a hard look at himself and his Church. The Church's morally indefensible stand against contraception has caused much harm already and threatens to cause even more serious harm in the future. Removing the Catholic Church's opposition to contraception will help the environment much more than telling everyone to ride bicycles.



Originally posted by: Regional Russell



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June 22 2015 3:26 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Originally posted by: Jason Voorheees






crunkmoose
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June 22 2015 6:49 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
Hey, Matt. Get the fuck over to the post about science proving god and finally give me some sources for actual GEOLOGY that you said you would provide. The things you provided have NOTHING to do with GEOLOGY.
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August 19 2015 4:00 PM   QuickQuote Quote  
AP survey finds only 4 in 10 US Catholics know of Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change

August 19, 2015 AP

NEW YORK – A new survey has found fewer than half of U.S. Roman Catholics said they knew of Pope Francis' bombshell encyclical on curbing climate change — and only a fraction of those heard about it from the pulpit — in the month after he released the document with an unprecedented call for the church to take up his message.

Forty percent of American Catholics and 31 percent of all adults said they were aware of the encyclical, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University. Among Catholics who knew about the document, just 23 percent said they heard about it at Mass.

The survey, conducted July 17-19, provides an early measure of the impact of the encyclical in the U.S., where Francis is expected to press his teaching on the environment in his first visit to the country next month.

The U.S. is home to some of the staunchest objectors to mainstream science on climate change and to government intervention aimed at easing global warming, along with a segment of Catholics who think the pope should be talking far more about marriage and abortion than the environment.

In the encyclical, released June 18, Francis called global warming a largely manmade problem driven by overconsumption, a "structurally perverse" world economic system and an unfettered pursuit of profit that exploited the poor and risked turning the Earth into an "immense pile of filth." He urged people of all faiths and no faith to save God's creation for future generations.

Environmental advocates hoped the encyclical would transform public discussion of climate change from a scientific to a moral issue. But Catholics in the survey were not significantly more likely than Americans in general to think of global warming in moral terms. Just 43 percent of Catholics and 39 percent of all adults said they considered global warming a moral issue. A very small percentage viewed climate change as having a connection to religion or poverty.

"That's unfortunate," said Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, which works closely with the U.S. bishops on environmental protection and has distributed model sermons and parish bulletin inserts on the encyclical. "There's a clear human impact. That's going to be our challenge — to explain that this environmental question is really a human thriving question."

The document had a rollout unlike any other. The encyclical was introduced at the Vatican by a secular climate scientist and a top Orthodox Christian leader, with simultaneous news conferences by Catholic leaders in many countries and the chiming of church bells for emphasis. Francis underscored the importance of the document by sending it to the world's bishops with a handwritten note.

But questions arose about whether American bishops and parishioners would embrace the message with any enthusiasm. While the bishops for decades have issued statements calling environmental protection a religious duty for Catholics, the issue has not been atop their public agenda.

For years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has focused its resources on upholding marriage as the union of a man and a woman, seeking religious exemptions from laws the bishops consider immoral, fighting abortion and clergy sex abuse, and bringing back fallen-away Catholics.

This summer, bishops in Iowa, Illinois and Ohio have held news conferences on the encyclical, urging political leaders to take up the pope's call for bold leadership and pledging to reduce carbon emissions or water and power usage in their own dioceses.

In California, the Diocese of Orange held an Aug. 8 conference on the theology of the encyclical and the science of climate change, drawing 450 attendees and an additional 500 viewers via livestream, a spokesman said. And Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, the U.S. bishops' point person on the environment, has cited the encyclical in expressing support for President Barack Obama's clean power plant rules announced this month.

But Terry Majewski, 67, a Pensacola, Florida, resident who said he attends Mass weekly, said he has heard no preaching about the encyclical at his local church. He's glad he hasn't. Majewski thinks highly of the pope, but disagrees with his position on global warming and wishes the pontiff hadn't taken up the issue. In the survey, about two-thirds of Catholics said it was appropriate for Francis to take a position on global warming, and 55 percent of all adults agreed.

"He can talk about his own belief, but don't sit there and bring it down on the church," Majewski said, adding Francis should talk about "things that relate to religion, not climate change."

At St. Camillus Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, last weekend, about 1,000 of the estimated 4,800 people who usually attend Masses there signed a petition urging immediate action to curb carbon emissions, said the Rev. Jacek Orzechowski. He said it was a sign that interest in the pope's statement and in climate change is "percolating" among Catholics, despite the survey findings.

"I think it's beginning to take root within the parishes within the archdiocese," Orzechowski said. "One can be dissatisfied it has not produced more fruit, but the seeds are germinating."

Francis is widely expected to reiterate his plea for bold policy measures on global warming when he travels to the U.S., where he will address a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24 and the U.N. General Assembly the next day.

Climate change activists had hoped Francis' rock-star popularity would amplify his views. But a recent Gallup poll found double-digit drops in his favorability, fueled mainly by conservatives who think he has gone too far with his reforms and statements, and liberals who believe he hasn't gone far enough.

The AP-NORC poll found 62 percent of Catholics and 39 percent of Americans overall had a somewhat or very favorable view of Francis.
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September 6 2015 1:51 PM   QuickQuote Quote  



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