Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI at the close of the contentious Synod on the Family. Pope Francis will not be "progressing" toward some new day of sexual freedom. He is "sealing the deal" on Church teaching on contraception by beatifying Paul VI. And in so doing, Pope Francis, like Paul VI, is defending the rights of the poor and vulnerable.
For Paul VI is the author of the 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Paul VI dashed any hope, inside or outside of the Catholic Church, about a "new day dawning" on the subject of contraception. In spite of all the wishful thinking among the rich and powerful of our time, the Catholic Church will not be changing its position on the highly contested moral issues now, either.
Humanae Vitae was prophetic. Against all the "winds of change," against the rich, the beautiful and the important people of the 1960's claiming that contraception would solve the world's problems, Paul VI reiterated the ancient teaching of the Catholic Church. (In fact, the prohibition on contraception had been the universal teaching of all the Christian churches right up until the Lambeth Convention of the Anglican Church in 1930, but I digress.) In spite of all pressure arrayed in favor of artificial birth control, Paul VI predicted that this social experiment would end badly. more >>
Evolution is not inconsistent with God, said Pope Francis during an unveiling of a bust of his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday.
"Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation," Francis said. "The scientist," he continued, "must [nevertheless] be moved by a trust in the idea that nature hides, within her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities that it is the task of intellect and freedom to discover and actuate, in order to achieve the [kind of] development that is in the design of the Creator."
The pope, who backed the Roman Catholic Church's openness to evolution, added that scientific advancements can be used for the benefit of people. more >>
Pope Francis has called on Christians everywhere to campaign to end the death penalty and life imprisonment, a goal which has been achieved in the Vatican state. Meanwhile, a recently released Gallup poll found that six in 10 Americans support capital punishment.
"It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," Francis said Wednesday in a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, Catholic News Service reported.
"All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment," he said. "Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty." more >>
Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently addressed the new document approved by the Vatican regarding the church's relation to Catholic divorcees, gays and married gays, and expressed his admiration for Pope Francis during the segment.
In an interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos Dolan concurred that the Pope's recent statements on homosexuality at this month's Synod represent an 'evolution,' not a 'revolution' within the Catholic Church.
"Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us," said Dolan to ABC News. "Just when you think you might have him figured out, he offers another fresh innovative way of looking, that talk to which you just referred at the close of the synod was nothing less than inspirational. He spoke from the heart. He spoke about himself as the Pope and the church and he challenged all of us. And it reminds me of Jesus. Always walking down the road, and never forgetting the people on either side." more >>
Pope Francis beatified the late Pope Paul VI at the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family on Sunday, describing him as a "courageous Christian" and a "tireless apostle." Paul VI, who was known for affirming the Roman Catholic Church's stance against contraception, has been credited for a miracle in California where he is said to have helped in the birth of an unborn child.
Catholic News Agency pointed out that the miracle occurred in the 1990s, where a mother asked a nun to pray for her using a photo of Pope Paul VI in response to news that her unborn child posed a danger to her life and his. After the prayers, the baby boy was born healthy.
Another requirement for beautification was fulfilled by the presentation of relics, in the form of two blood stained vests worn by Paul VI when he was attacked by a man with a bayonet in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in 1970. more >>
Brother Guy Consolmagno, astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, has said that he finds Young Earth Creation theories that run contrary to science "almost blasphemous" in nature. He also argued that the Bible should not be used as a science book.
"It's almost blasphemous theology," Consolmagno told Fairfax Media during a visit to Australia on Wednesday.
"It's certainly not the tradition of Catholicism and never has been and it misunderstands what the Bible is and it misunderstands what science is," he said. more >>