The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict XVI will resign, making him the first pope to do so in six centuries. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, and he will step down at 8:00 p.m. Rome time on Feb. 28 due to advanced age. The pope is 85. Over the past eight years, he has led the Church’s staunch stance against gay marriage, but he has also showed some modernization on the issue of condoms, especially in Africa. As the leader of the Catholic Church, he has the power to influence the actions and attitudes of millions around the world. Before we find out who will inherit the papal Twitter account, let’s look back at Pope Benedict’s XVI’s legacy on issues of sexuality. Read more…
On Tuesday, Ireland Senator Martin McAleese released a report on Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries, where 30,000 women and girls were enslaved in Catholic Church-run laundries between 1922-1996. (The Laundries actually existed since the 1700s, but the free state of Ireland was only established in 1922.) McAleese’s report specifically focused on uncovering the Irish State’s involvement in the Laundries and, as survivors have long claimed, found that, according to the Guardian, “the state and the Irish police force bore a major responsibility for sending the women there and failing to protect their rights as workers.”
Women and girls who were considered “troubled” or morally “fallen” — i.e. unwed mothers and girls who were deemed “loose” or wild — were sent against their will to the Church-run laundries to live and work, receiving no pay, no pension, and no protection. The McAleese report found that the women and girls were used as free labour and that the labour laws were repeatedly broken. Women and girls who died in the Laundries were often buried in unmarked graves. Babies born to the “Maggies” were taken from their mothers, often never seeing them again. The report detailed that a quarter of the women sent to the Laundries (for whom records exist) were sent by the state; that the state gave these laundries lucrative contracts but did not abide by fair wage clauses; and that the state was responsible for inspecting the laundries and thus allowed them to be run in manner that was illegal and amoral. Keep reading »
Hey, great news, male prostitutes with HIV/AIDS! The Pope has given you his blessing to use condoms! In the upcoming book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, Pope Benedict XVI concedes that in very rare cases, condom use could be considered justified to help stop the spread of AIDS. The example he specifically uses is for that of male prostitutes, for whom condom use “can be a first in the direction of moralization a first assumption of responsibility.” When the media was quick to jump all over this statement as a reversal of the Catholics Church’s long-standing policy banning contraceptives, the Church was quick to clarify that the Pope’s statement was no such thing. Because, I mean, let’s face it, the Catholic Church certainly doesn’t believe male prostitutes (with AIDS!) are getting into heaven anyway. Keep reading »
In Barcelona, 200 gays and lesbians gathered at the Sagrada Familia church this past weekend to do lots of kissing. Why? To make a statement to Pope Benedict XVI who just happened to be passing through for mass. The “kiss-in” was a peaceful protest against the Catholic Church’s stance against divorce, abortion, same-sex marriage, and condom use and a comment made by the Pope that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” That’s right, people, lock lips. Make love not hate. [L.A. Times] Keep reading »
If you’re Catholic and you know it, pray before sex! Roman Catholic couples are being encouraged by
the Church [UPDATE] prominent church group the Catholic Truth Society to say a prayer before sex in order to “purify their intentions.” Cause, you know, sex shouldn’t be about fun. The Prayer Before Making Love goes, ahem:
Place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes. Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will. Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in true dignity and take to yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, for ever and ever.
The next time I’m having sexual relations with a man, I am going to say this prayer, just to see what he does. Will it scare him? Or add a new level of kink? [Daily Mail]
Keep reading »
Ebert and Roeper can shove over, because the newest film reviewer, the Vatican, is now voicing their opinion on the latest flicks. Via their official newsletter, L’Osservatore, the Vatican has given “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” two thumbs up. The holy Romans really loved how the adapted film showed that good deserves to triumph over evil and how it portrayed the “correct balance” of adolescent love. So if you were teetering on whether to head to theaters this weekend, now you know that the Catholic Church has totally got your back. [Mirror] Keep reading »
Is a steamier sex life the key to getting closer to God? According to Father Ksawery Knotz, it is. Sex as You Don’t Know It: For Married Couples Who Love God is chock full of stuff you didn’t learn in Sunday school. And it’s a bestseller in Poland. The inspiration? Football, aka soccer.
“I compare sex to a football game. There are games of different leagues, great and wonderful as well as boring and hopeless.”
Keep reading »
Yesterday was Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.” That means today is Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent. Since I’m not Catholic this all is a bunch of mumbo jumbo to me, but I did attend Mardi Gras three straight years in a row, and while I don’t get my forehead swiped by a priest on Ash Wednesday, I do try and give up something “bad” for Lent, which lasts for 40 days and 40 nights, until Easter. But forget about giving up lame stuff like carbs and sugar and sex — after the jump, 10 bad things you really should consider ditching for Lent. Or permanently. Keep reading »
We didn’t realize taking communion had so many rules! Rudy Giuliani got a major scolding from New York Cardinal Egan for taking the Eucharist during Mass when the Pope was in town. Egan said that he had “an understanding” with Giuliani that he would not ingest the communion wafer, which represents the body of Christ, because of his support of abortion rights. Egan said doing so was “a grave offense against the will of God.” Color us crazy, but we’re pretty sure plenty of practicing Catholics don’t agree with everything the Church stands for and still take communion — like all the ones having premarital sex! Is it just worse in God’s eyes for Giuliani to do it because he’s a prominent politician? [MSNBC] Keep reading »