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Posts tagged ‘Pope’

Langone: Pope’s Comments on Rich Upsets Wealthy Church Donors.


Billionaire investor Ken Langone has told New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan that Pope Francis may be hurting fundraising projects for the Roman Catholic Church with his controversial criticism of capitalism.

Langone, the Home Depot founder who is leading the push to raise $180 million to give New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral a facelift, said at least one seven-figure donor is reluctant to give financial aid to the church following the pontiff’s comments, according to CNBC.

The pope angered capitalists in the U.S. and around the world with his attack in November on trickle-down economics, which he said leads to a “culture of prosperity” that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Langone, who calls himself a devout Catholic and prays every morning, told CNBC he had brought up the problem a couple of times with Dolan.

“I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,'” Langone said.

The pope made his comments about capitalism during his first “exhortation”, a 224-page document that appeared to vilify the rich while attacking “an economy of exclusion and inequality” resulting from “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”

The pope also lambasted the “idolatry of money” and called capitalism “the new tyranny,” adding that in many cases the wealthy were “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

The criticism was immediately slammed by the likes of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who called it “pure Marxism,” and Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, who said he was “not enamored” with the pope’s “economic perspective.”

In response to Langone’s comments, Dolan told CNBC that the Pope Francis’ message had been misinterpreted. He said he told Langone, “Well, Ken, that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father‘s message. The pope loves poor people. He also loves rich people. ‘Ken, thanks for bringing it to my attention. We’ve gotta correct to make sure this gentleman understands the Holy Father’s message properly.’ And then I think he’s gonna say, ‘Oh, OK. If that’s the case, count me in for St. Patrick’s Cathedral.'”

Dolan added that in his conversations with the pope, he had praised Americans for their spirit of giving.

“In the one long sit-down that I had with him, the Holy Father told me that he has a lot of gratitude for the generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States. He’s aware of our help to the missions, to the poor of the world, to international development, to peace . . . and justice.”

Still, Langone urged the pope “to celebrate a positive point of view rather than focusing on the negative.” He also that “there is no nation on earth that is so forthcoming, so giving” as the United States.

According to CNBC, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in the Charities Aid Foundation’s most recent World Giving Index.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Vatican Stresses That Pope Has Not Abolished Sin.


The Vatican felt compelled on Tuesday to deny that Pope Francis had “abolished sin“, after a well-known Italian intellectual wrote that he had effectively done so through his words and gestures.

The singular exchange began on Sunday when Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who writes opinion pieces for the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, published an article titled “Francis’ Revolution: He has abolished sin”.

Scalfari, who held a long private conversation with the pope earlier this year and wrote about it several times, concluded in the complex, treatise-like article that Francis believed sin effectively no longer existed because God’s mercy and forgiveness were “eternal”.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio that “this affirmation that the pope has abolished sin” was wrong.

“Those who really follow the pope daily know how many times he has spoken about sin and our (human) condition as sinners,” Lombardi said.

It was not the first brush between the Vatican and Scalfari, who founded La Repubblica newspaper in 1976.

Last month the Vatican removed from its website the text of Scalfari’s transcript of his conversation with the pope, saying parts of it were not reliable.

Scalfari said he had not used a tape recorder or taken notes when he met the pope but reconstructed the long session from memory afterwards and made additions to help the flow of the article.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Franklin Graham Disagrees With Pope Francis on Homosexuality.


The Rev. Franklin Graham is criticizing Pope Francis for his stance on homosexuality.

The pontiff declared earlier this year: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

But Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, says being gay is a sin in the eyes of God, and that unlike the pope he does not plan to soften his position, according to Politico.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“I want to warn people that I think he [the pope] is right when he says he’s not the judge,” Rev. Graham, the head of his father’s ministry, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, adding: “He’s not the judge. God is the judge.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

“God would have to shift — and God doesn’t. God’s word is the same, yesterday and today and a million years from now. It’s a sin. I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they stand before God.”

Franklin also said on the program that his 95-year-old father is still “very weak.”

“His vitals are good, blood pressure, heart rate, these things are good. And he’s eating a little bit, but he’s just extremely weak. So I’ve asked people to pray. People who are watching this program, I hope they would pray for him. He would appreciate it very much.”

Billy Graham has been battling to regain his strength since celebrating his birthday last month by posting a personal, 30-minute video message online called “My Hope America,” which was described by some as possibly his final sermon.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Franklin Graham Disagrees with Pope Francis on Homosexuality.


The Rev. Franklin Graham is criticizing Pope Francis for his stance on homosexuality.

The pontiff declared earlier this year: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

But Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, says being gay is a sin in the eyes of God, and that unlike the pope he does not plan to soften his position, according to Politico.

“I want to warn people that I think he (the pope) is right when he says he’s not the judge,” Rev. Graham, the head of his father’s ministry, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, adding: “He’s not the judge. God is the judge.” 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

“God would have to shift — and God doesn’t. “God’s word is the same, yesterday and today and a million years from now. It’s a sin. I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they stand before God.”

Franklin also said on the program that his 95-year-old father is still “very weak.” 

“His vitals are good, blood pressure, heart rate, these things are good. And he’s eating a little bit, but he’s just extremely weak. So I’ve asked people to pray. People who are watching this program, I hope they would pray for him. He would appreciate it very much.”

Billy Graham has been battling to regain his strength since celebrating his birthday last month by posting a personal, 30-minute video message online called “My Hope America,” which was described by some as possibly his final sermon. 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Novak: Conservatives Overreact to Pope on Economy.


The political right is overreacting in its criticism of Pope Francis, said a prominent Catholic theologian who predicted the pontiff’s economic views would become more friendly toward capitalism.

“I’m very enthusiastic” about the Pope, author Michael Novak said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “He’s concentrated on the basics. Love, care for the poor, humility, kindness. And those are what matter, really. The rest is housekeeping.”

Novak, whose latest book is called “Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative,” questioned some conservatives’ criticism that has been directed at Pope Francis. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, who isn’t Catholic, called the Pope’s comments about economic inequality and the need for regulation “just pure Marxism.”

“Rush doesn’t understand the Catholic part of it and he’s taking it seriously,” Novak said. “Give the guy a chance to get his feet on the ground, get his arms around the questions of globalization, get his arms around the fact that capitalism is mostly ideas.”

While reiterating church teaching on social issues like abortion, Pope Francis has elevated economic issues to prominence since succeeding Pope Benedict XVI in March. In November, he urged governments to stand up to the wealthy and criticized the theory that policies favoring the rich will eventually “trickle down” to help the poor.

“Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless,” Francis said Nov. 26. “Such an economy kills.”

President Barack Obama invoked Pope Francis in his Dec. 4 speech, calling economic inequality the “defining challenge of our time.”

Novak said he didn’t agree with all of the Pope’s economic pronouncements and said that he wished the Pope wouldn’t say “some of the too simple things he says” in his speeches. “Priests, bishops are not trained to do economic analysis,” Novak said.

He suggested that Pope Francis’s views were shaped by his upbringing in Latin America, where social mobility isn’t as fluid as it is in the U.S. The pope was born in Argentina.

“I think he will begin to see the different economies of the world in a different light,” Novak said.

Novak also broke with others from his side of the political spectrum in calling on Congress to pass an immigration bill that addresses the status of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the U.S.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, won’t allow his chamber to vote on a Senate-passed bipartisan measure that offers a path to citizenship along with stronger border control measures.

“My family got here as immigrants, the wretched refuse of the Earth,” Novak said. “And so I’m grateful for that.”

Decades ago, Novak worked for such prominent Democrats as Robert F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver. By the 1980s, he was backing Republicans Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich.

Novak said his ideological shift, as chronicled in his book, was influenced by his view that government programs intended to help the poor turned out to be largely counterproductive.

“What I’ve come to think is that poverty programs ironically fed the wrong incentives,” Novak said. “And for the first time in our history, we have a body of people who are generations on welfare.”

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Pope Denounces Discrimination, Violence Against Christians.


Image: Pope Denounces Discrimination, Violence Against Christians

VATICAN CITYPope Francis on Thursday denounced discrimination against Christians, including in countries where religious freedom is in theory guaranteed by law.

He delivered his traditional noon prayer and address to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square on the day the Roman Catholic Church commemorates St. Stephen, its first martyr.

The 77-year-old Argentine pope asked the crowd for a moment of silent prayer for “Christians who are unjustly accused and are subjected to every type of violence.”

Francis, celebrating his first Christmas season as pope, said “limitations and discrimination” against Christians was taking place not only in countries that do not grant full religious freedom but also where “on paper, freedom and human rights are protected.”

“This injustice should be denounced and eliminated,” he said.

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

Francis did not name any countries but the Vatican has long urged Saudi Arabia, the site of Islam’s holiest places, to lift a ban on Christians worshiping in public.This year there have been a number of incidents of intolerance and attacks against minority Christians in Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria, and other countries where their rights are guaranteed by law.

Francis, departing from his prepared text, said he was sure that Christians suffering from either discrimination or violence were “more numerous today than in he early times of the Church.”

In the past, the Vatican has also expressed concern over what former Pope Benedict called “sophisticated forms of hostility” against Christians in rich countries, such as restricting use of religious symbols in public places.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Paul Ryan: Pope ‘Triggering Exact Dialogue We Should Be Having’.


Image: Paul Ryan: Pope 'Triggering Exact Dialogue We Should Be Having'

By Drew MacKenzie

Pope Francis’ controversial economic views have startled Republicans who are now having to rethink their relationship with the Catholic churchaccording to Politico.

The pontiff has recently attacked “trickle-down economics, saying that the theory has never been confirmed by fact,” and “that it expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.”

The pope also criticized “the idolatry of money” and slammed capitalism as a “new tyranny.”

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has already called Time’s “Person of the Year” a closet Marxist and now Republicans in Washington are taking aim at the pope, who took over the office in March.

New York Rep. Peter King, who went to a Catholic school and graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s law school, told Politico that the pope’s economic statements are demeaning.

King said that Francis uses the phrase “trickle-down” as a “pejorative” term, “like some liberal speechwriter stuck it in.” He said, “I genuinely believe (that) supply-side economics does more to help people come out of poverty, move up in the world.”

But King added, “On the other hand, we shouldn’t be dwelling on wealth. The guidance I’d take from this is, when I support conservative economics, I should do it in a way that helps the most people.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain said that, although he was “impressed” with the pope’s modern day outlook on social issues and helping the poor, “his economic perspective I’m not particularly enamored with.”

The pope maintains that he wants to de-emphasize the church’s position on issues like abortion and gay marriage and instead concentrate on more important problems such as helping the poor and the underprivileged.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic who is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said that he did not believe that Francis was a Marxist. But he pointed out in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the pontiff’s background is rooted in the Peronist movement in Argentina, where the state took a leading role in the economy.

“The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina,” Ryan said. “They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”

He added, “What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having.”

The pope’s economic opinions have also annoyed former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a tea party favorite, who said Francis had made “some statements that to me sound kind of liberal.” But she later went back on that statement, according to Politico.

The pope, however, is taking all the criticism in his stride, especially from Rush Limbaugh. “The Marxist ideology is wrong,” he said. “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Pope Calls on Atheists to Work With Religious Believers for Peace.


Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as Roman Catholic leader, on Wednesday called on atheists to unite with believers of all religions and work for “a homemade peace” that can spread across the world.

Speaking to about 70,000 people from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the same spot where he emerged to the world as Pope when he was elected on March 13, Francis also made another appeal for the environment to be saved from “human greed and rapacity.”

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

The leader of the 1.2 billion-member Church wove his first “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and world) message around the theme of peace.

“Peace is a daily commitment. It is a homemade peace,” he said.

He said that people of other religions were also praying for peace, and – departing from his prepared text — he urged atheists to join forces with believers.

“I invite even non-believers to desire peace. [Join us] with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace,” he said, drawing sustained applause from the crowd.

Francis’ reaching out to atheists and people of other religions is a marked contrast to the attitude of former Pope Benedict, who sometimes left non-Catholics feeling that he saw them as second-class believers.

He called for “social harmony in South Sudan, where current tensions have already caused numerous victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state.”

Thousands are believed to have died in violence divided along ethnic lines between the Nuer and Dinka tribes in the country, which seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war.

The pontiff also called for dialogue to end the conflicts in Syria, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, and prayed for a “favorable outcome” to the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

“Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!” he said, saying their most vulnerable victims were children, elderly, battered women and the sick.

The thread running through the message was that individuals had a role in promoting peace, either with their neighbor or between nations.

The message of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was directed at “every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty,” he said.

“God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world,” he said.

Pilgrims came from all over the world for Christmas at the Vatican and some said it was because they felt Francis had brought a breath of fresh air to the Church.

“[He] is bringing a new era into the Church, a Church that is focusing much more on the poor and that is more austere, more lively,” said Dolores Di Benedetto, who came from the Pope’s homeland, Argentina, to attend Christmas Eve Mass.

Giacchino Sabello, an Italian, said he wanted to get a first-hand look at the new pope: “I thought it would be very nice to hear the words of this pope close up and to see how the people are overwhelmed by him.”

In his speech, Francis asked God to “look upon the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflicts, and all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers.”

He also called for a “dignified life” for migrants, praying tragedies such as one in which hundreds died in a shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa are never repeated, and made a particular appeal against human trafficking, which he called a “crime against humanity.”

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Pope Francis on Christmas Eve Notes Jesus’ Humble Start.


Image: Pope Francis on Christmas Eve Notes Jesus' Humble Start

Pope Francis lauded Jesus’ humble beginning as a poor and vulnerable baby as he celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass as pontiff Tuesday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful, and you made yourself vulnerable,” Francis said of Jesus as he delivered his homily in the basilica, packed with faithful.

Francis has dedicated much of his nine-month-old papacy to drawing attention to the plight of the poor, of children, and of other vulnerable members of society.

He noted that the first to receive news of Jesus’ birth were shepherds, who in society were considered “among the last, the outcast.”

Francis, who turned 77 a week ago, walked briskly up the main aisle of the basilica for the ceremony, which began Tuesday 2 ½ hours before midnight. Keeping with the theme of humility he has set for his new papacy, Francis carried the statue instead of an aide, and kissed a knee of the figure of the newly born Jesus.

The Argentine-born pope has also encouraged his flock to be a joyful church, and he called Jesus “the Light Who brightens the darkness.”

In the world’s history and our own personal history, Francis said, “there are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows. ” He added that “if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us.”

Francis has applied this same vision to the heart of the Vatican‘s own workings, saying in past remarks that there is no place for personal ambition in the clerical hierarchy. Rather, he has insisted, the Catholic Church must be one of service to those in need.

Earlier, in the Holy Land, thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations, bringing warm holiday cheer to the biblical birthplace of Jesus on a cool, clear night.

The heavy turnout, its highest in years, helped lift spirits in Bethlehem as leaders expressed hope that the coming year would finally bring the Palestinians an independent state of their own.

“The message of Christmas is a message of peace, love, and brotherhood. We have to be brothers with each other,” Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, said as he arrived in Bethlehem.

At the Vatican, the basilica ceremony is the pope’s only public Mass for Christmas. On Wednesday, Christmas Day, Francis will deliver his Christmas message, meant for the world, from the basilica’s central balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

American Catholics Give Pope Francis Sky-High Approval Rating.


Image: American Catholics Give Pope Francis Sky-High Approval Rating

By Drew MacKenzie

Roman Catholics in America love Pope Francis and believe that the people’s pontiff is doing a wonderful job in the Vatican, according to a new survey.

The CNN/ORC International poll found that 88 percent of Catholics in the U.S. approve of how the 77-year-old Francis is leading the church while in charge of 1.2 billion followers worldwide, according to CNN’s Belief Blog.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Francis has been also given the thumbs up by three out of every four Americans when non-Catholics are included in the study.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland argues that the Pope is probably the “most well-regarded religious figure” among the American public today.

After taking the reins at St. Peter’s Basilica nine months ago, the Argentine-born Francis has already proved that the life under his papacy will be vastly different from his predecessors.

First and foremost,Time Magazine’s Person of the Year  is seen as the everyman pope who has shunned the traditional luxuries afforded to the highest Catholic by living in a Vatican guesthouse instead of the papal palace as well as wearing more simple vestments to official functions. He even rides around in a 1984 Renault.

Francis was the most talked about person on the Internet this year, ahead of fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Prince William’s wife and new mom Kate Middleton, and even twerking singer Miley Cyrus.

As an example to others, he’s gone out of his way to show compassion to the less fortunate, such as embracing a man with heart-breaking facial tumors — moves that have drawn praise the world over.

To mark his 77th birthday, instead of thinking about himself, Pope Francis welcomed three homeless men to a Mass and a special meal at the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse. The men, one of whom brought his dog, then sang “Happy Birthday” to the pontiff.

When Francis was named Time’s Person of the Year, the magazine’s managing editor Nancy Gibbs declared, “Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly — young and old, faithful and cynical — as has Pope Francis.”

Even the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate named him its person of the year. “While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man,” said the magazine.

The surprise award was given for the Pope’s potential policy-shifting position on homosexuality, made five months ago when he declared, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Instead of concentrating on such cultural issues as abortion and gay rights, the pontiff is urging his flock to care more about moral issues such as the poor and the underprivileged.

But it has not been all plain sailing for Pope Francis in his first year. In a 50,000 word statement, called “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”), the pope attacked the “idolatry of money” and said that trickle-down economics was “crude and naive.”

But conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh called him a closet Marxist and declared that the pontiff’s economic opinions were “dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong.”

The CNN poll found that American Catholics agreed with the pope’s new direction for the church, with nearly two thirds of recipients saying more attention should be paid to moral issues. The survey showed that 86 percent of U.S. Catholics said the pope understands the problems of the modern world while 85 percent believed that Francis was neither too liberal nor too conservative.

These statistics lie in stark comparison to a poll in 2003 finding that more than half American Catholics thought that Pope John Paul II was out of touch with the times as he neared the end of his 23-year tenure in the Vatican, CNN pointed out.

The poll revealed that two out of every three Catholics in America support the pontiff’s economic position that capitalism is hurting the poor.

More than six out of 10 U.S. Catholics also agree with the pope’s stated position that women must play a larger role in the future of church leadership, although he still supports the longtime doctrine that women cannot be ordained as priests.

The poll recorded that 60 percent of American Catholics believe Francis has also performed admirably in dealing with the ongoing sexual abuse scandal inside the church, although 64 percent claim that the church overall could do a better job on the problem.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Francis was creating a special commission to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and to help victims of abuse. The commission will be working with authorities to report such cases, according to CNN.

CNN polling chief Holland said that there have not been many approval surveys conducted on the pontiffs, and thus it was difficult to compare Pope Francis with his predecessors. “It’s a tough question since polling on Popes is pretty sparse,” he said.

The phone poll of 1,035 adults was conducted from December 16-19, and it has a margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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