Showing posts with label gay agenda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gay agenda. Show all posts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pope Francis revealing his take on Synod controversies in his private homilies?


By John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews.com

While Pope Francis has been silent about many of the controversial matters being debated at the Synod, both in the lead-up to the Synod and in the Synod Hall, veteran Vatican watchers say he has been obliquely making his views known through other avenues, including through some of his close advisors, as well his homilies at his private morning masses.

When it comes to advisors, none have sparked more speculation than Cardinal Walter Kasper, with debate swirling for months about whether Pope Francis himself personally supports Cardinal Kasper’s controversial proposal to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion in some circumstances.

While the cardinal himself has repeatedly claimed the pope’s support, and Francis has repeatedly praised the cardinal on a personal level and his writing in general, no explicit confirmation of the pope’s position on the specific issue has been forthcoming. But in an explosive interview yesterday Kasper was arguably more explicit than ever before, bluntly telling Edward Pentin of Zenit that the pontiff “wants” the change. "Of course, the pope wants it and the world needs it," he said.

If so, it is hard to interpret a homily from Pope Francis on the morning of October 13, 2014, the day the controversial “mid-term” report was released, creating a firestorm inside and outside the Synod, as anything other than the pope strongly hinting at his views on this, and possibly other controversies at the ongoing Synod.

Indeed, even consummate Vatican journalist John Allen of the Boston Globe agreed, writing: “In his usual impromptu homily at morning Mass (Monday), Pope Francis seemed to prepare the ground for the (interim report), and the conflicting reactions it was destined to stir, by delivering a strong rebuke to rigid legalists of all stripes.”

During the homily, Pope Francis spoke of the “Doctors of the Law” who were “unable to understand the signs of the times.” They were, he said, “closed within their system, they had perfectly systemized the law, it was a masterpiece.

“Every Jew knew what they could do and what they could not do, how far they could go. It was all systemized. And they were safe there."

The pope noted that the Doctors of the Law "did not like” Jesus, he “was dangerous; doctrine was in danger, the doctrine of the law” which the theologians had formulated over the centuries. Pope Francis said that while the theologians had  "done this out of love, to be faithful to God," they had become “closed", they had "simply forgotten history. They had forgotten that God is the God of the Law, but He is also the God of surprises."

Seeming to address one of the major sub themes of the Synod, that doctrine will never change, but pastoral practice should, Pope Francis said: "They did not understand that God is the God of surprises, that God is always new; He never denies himself, never says that what He said was wrong, never, but He always surprises us. They did not understand this and they closed themselves within that system that was created with the best of intentions.”

But while the pope seemed to frame the controversies of the Synod as a dispute between legalists and those who are open to God’s “surprises,” leading Synod Fathers who are concerned about attempts to change long-standing Church practice and teaching, have been arguing that the controversy is ultimately about whether or not the Church will conform “to the mentality of today’s world.”

Numerous Vatican Synod Fathers have voiced grave concerns both within and without the Synod hall over the last few days that the Synod mid-term report has indeed endangered assurance of doctrinal security, and with potentially grave consequences.

Most recently, Australian Cardinal George Pell said: "In seeking to be merciful, some want to open up Catholic teaching on marriage, divorce, civil unions, homosexuality in a radically liberalising direction, whose fruits we see in other Christian traditions.” He urged, “the task now is to reassure good practising Catholics that doctrinal changes are not possible; to urge people to take a deep breath, pause and to work to prevent deeper divisions and radicalising of factions.”

His remarks echo the even more blunt words of Cardinal Raymond Burke, who himself directly addressed Pope Francis in his criticisms of the Synod’s mid-term report, saying that a statement from the pope strongly re-affirming Church teaching is “long overdue.”

“The faithful and their good shepherds are looking to the Vicar of Christ for the confirmation of the Catholic faith and practice regarding marriage which is the first cell of the life of the Church,” he added.

The mid-term report, he said, proposes views that many Synod fathers “cannot accept,” and that they “as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept.”

The push to radically alter so-called “pastoral practice” without simultaneously affecting doctrine is not possible.  One African bishop who was appraised of the situation at the Synod reportedly wept at the proposals on the table. “Oh my God, what are they doing? The people will soon get hold of declarations like these and they'll prefer to become evangelicals or even Muslims than remain Catholic! What are they doing in Rome? Oh my God, oh my God!,” he declared.

It’s not the first time the pope has seemed to address tensions of the Synod in his morning homilies. Before the official launch of the Synod, while various polarized positions were being laid out in the media via book releases and such, Pope Francis sounded a remarkably similar tone to Monday’s homily.

“It’s the ruling class which closes the door to God’s way of salvation,” Pope Francis said, referring to Church leaders, in the homily at his private Mass on October 4. “This attitude is quite different from that of the people of God, who understand and accept salvation brought to them through Jesus,” he added. “Their leaders, on the other hand, reduce salvation to the fulfilment of the 613 commandments they have created through their intellectual and theological fervour.”

“These leaders,” the pope said, “don’t believe in mercy and forgiveness but simply in sacrifices.” He urged asking ourselves: “How do I want to be saved? On my own? Through a spirituality which is good, but fixed and clear so that there are no risks? Or following the footsteps of Jesus who always surprises us, opening doors to that mystery of God’s mercy and pardon?”

That homily too was interpreted by veteran Vatican watchers as Pope Francis staking out a position on the matters of the Synod. “The Pope has hinted in homilies, addresses and interviews,” said the Telegraph’s Vatican correspondent Nick Squires, “that he is in favour of adopting a more ‘merciful’ approach towards remarried divorcees who want to receive the Sacrament.”

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Synod Bishops revolt against leadership and get their way – UPDATE!

From Father Z:

Apparently the bishops at the Synod are tired of being manipulated.

They created a little lío of their own.

In full view of the Pope, they rose up pretty much as a body and rebelled against the way Card.
Baldisseri, who seems to be the chief architect of what may have been a pre-determined agenda, has been handling them.

I am reading Marco Tosatti’s piece at La Stampa.

My translation:
Synod, more censorship, protests
The General Secretary of the Synod [Card. Balidsseri] announced the decision not to publish the reports of the Circuli Minores [subcommittees by language groups, tasked with contributing elements to the final report]. The announcement provoked the protest of Card. Erdo [the president or chairman for this Synod], and numerous other Synodal Fathers. The Pope, silent and very serious. At last, Fr. Lombardi announced that the reports of the commissions would be made public.
[...]
Erdo took the floor, implicitly distancing himself from the report that bore his name, and saying that if that “disceptatio” had been made public, then the others of the Circulo Minores ought to be made public.
His speech was followed by an avalanche from many others along the same line, underscored by thunderous applause.
The Secretary of the Synod, Card. Balidisseri, was watching the Pope, as if in search of advice and lights, and the Pope remained silent and very serious.
Silent also were the Under-secretaries of the Synod, Fabene, Forte, Schoenborn and Maradiaga. [What a list.]
Kasper wasn’t there.
Finally, Fr. Lombardi announced that the reports of the Commission would be made public.
This is a big deal because the bishops didn’t simply roll over and let the appointees running the Synod run them over.... (continued)

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DAILY ROME REPORT


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Document-gate



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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Catholic League bowing out of New York's St. Patrick's parade

(Associated Press) NEW YORK – The Catholic League says it will sit out next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York because parade organizers aren't letting an anti-abortion Catholic group march.

Catholic League head Bill Donohue said Thursday that his organization won't participate in the March 2015 parade for the first time in 20 years.

Parade organizers said last week that they would allow OUT(at)NBCUniversal to march. That's an LGBT resource group at the company that broadcasts the parade.

Gay activists say inviting the NBC employee group isn't enough.

But Donohue says parade organizers promised him that if a gay group could march under its own banner, a "pro-life" Catholic group would be included also.

He says the organizers backed out of their pledge.

Parade spokesman Bill O'Reilly called the Catholic League's decision disappointing.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Vatican makes 'new generation' cardinal head of key German archdiocese

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican has appointed the archbishop of Berlin, seen by German media as part of a "new generation" of less dogmatic clergy, to take over the Cologne archdiocese, the largest and richest in Germany, it said on Friday.

The move makes Rainer Maria Woelki, who turns 58 next month, one of the most influential Roman Catholic cardinals and is an indication of the type of person Pope Francis wants to see in prominent Church roles.

Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper called him "the prototype of a new generation of bishops ... not grumpy and dogmatic ... these men speak of mercy and mean it. They're open to people, even their critics, to a point and have a heart for the disadvantaged. Still, they're theologically conservative."

Woelki is a Cologne native and served there for years under his retired predecessor, the staunchly conservative Cardinal Joachim Meisner, before becoming bishop of Berlin in 2011.

When his Berlin appointment was announced, some politicians and Catholics in Berlin said he was too conservative for a city with such a large gay community, pointing to comments he had made that homosexuality was against “the order of creation”.

They also noted that he did his doctorate in theology at a pontifical university in Rome run by the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei.

But Woekli surprised Berliners by saying he respected all people and would gladly meet with gay activists.

A year later, in 2012, he said: "If two homosexuals take responsibility for each other, if they are loyal to each other over the long term, then one should see this in the same way as heterosexual relations."

Berlin's Alliance against Homophobia nominated him for its Respect Prize that year, an honor he politely declined by saying it was normal for a Christian to respect all people so he should not receive an award for it.

In July 2013, the newly elected Pope Francis changed the tone of Vatican comments on homosexuality in comments on the plane returning from a visit to Brazil, saying, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?"

The German Catholic Church is one of the richest in the world and helps fund Vatican activities as well as missionary work in poor countries.

Its financial strength and long history of theologians and leading Church personalities, including the now retired Pope Benedict, give it considerable influence in the Vatican.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of Germany's other powerful archdiocese, Munich, is a member of the pope's group of cardinals working out proposed reforms for the worldwide Church.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Meet the Christian Leaders Who Are Suing for Gay Marriage as a Religious Right

By Solvej Schou

(Takepart) Rev. Nancy Ellett Allison has joyfully officiated same-sex marriages in her corner of the conservative South since 2006.

“It is just a delight to be able to help these couples celebrate their lives together and work with them to craft their vows,” said Allison, her bright voice laced with a twang.

What Allison, the senior pastor at Holy Covenant United Church of Christ in Charlotte, N.C., has been doing is considered a misdemeanor crime under state law, punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Not only are gay marriages and domestic unions illegal in the state, but it’s considered criminal for clergy to officiate religious vows between couples who have not yet obtained a valid marriage license.

This week, though, the progressive United Church of Christ fought back, filing the first federal lawsuit to say gay marriage bans are a violation of religious rights. It’s an unprecedented move—experts say it’s the first such lawsuit ever in the United States.

The church joined with plaintiffs that include Allison, other UCC ministers, and six same-sex couples to file a lawsuit Monday against North Carolina state and county officials challenging the constitutionality of the state’s anti-gay marriage laws as violating the church’s free exercise of religion. In 2012, voters approved a ballot measure to ban gay marriage, imposing a legal definition of marriage as an act that can occur only between a man and a woman, and making it part of the state’s constitution.

The UCC’s lawsuit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against all laws that would make it a crime to perform religious rites that sanctify the union of same-sex couples.

“Not until we entered this lawsuit was I aware that it was illegal to perform a same-gender marriage ceremony without a marriage license. That was one of the shocking things I learned,” said Allison, who noted that Charlotte, like other major North Carolina cities, is more open-minded than rural areas, and that the state voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 (though Republican Mitt Romney won it in 2012).... (continued)

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Dominican Sister Who Gave Presentation at North Carolina High School to go on Sabbatical

"Sister Jane has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. She is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, which founded and runs Aquinas College."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) — Reaction to a Dominican sister’s presentation on human sexuality at a North Carolina school has prompted “speculation from many sides,” but few among those commenting about it “were actually present to hear the talk,” said an April 4 statement from Aquinas College in Nashville, where she is an associate professor.

The college was referring to a March 21 presentation by Dominican Sister Jane Dominic Laurel at a Charlotte Catholic High School student assembly. Titled “Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift,” it drew the ire of many students and parents and sparked an online petition with more than 3,000 names.

About 900 people packed the school gym the evening of April 2 to criticize the assembly and the school leaders who arranged it.

School and diocesan leaders arranged the meeting to hear from concerned parents and explain the intended purpose of the assembly. There were comments from parents who supported the school and the presentation, but most of the comments were critical. Two observers called the meeting’s climate “disrespectful” and “hate-filled.”

In its statement, Aquinas College said, “The events and discussions that have transpired over the last two weeks reflect that there is something in this that surpasses an ordinary high school assembly.”

The college said it was “saddened by this extreme outcome and wishes to reiterate that this is not something the college condones or desires to create. There is division where there should be unity.”

Some parents at the Charlotte meeting said they felt betrayed by school administrators for not being told about the all-school assembly beforehand. Other parents objected to some of the material Sister Jane presented about the alleged causes of same-sex attraction and the way she presented it.

Aquinas College said: “We believe it is our privilege to bring the best aspects of our faith tradition to bear on the moral and cultural questions of the present age. In her presentation, Sister Jane Dominic spoke clearly on matters of faith and morals.”

However, “her deviation into realms of sociology and anthropology was beyond the scope of her expertise,” it said, adding that Sister Jane has cancelled her speaking engagements “and, at her request, is preparing to begin a sabbatical from teaching at Aquinas College.”

According to officials at Charlotte Catholic High School, Sister Jane spent about half of her hourlong talk in March on homosexuality, including attributing a correlation between the decline of fatherhood in America and the rise in homosexuality.

“Sister is a trained theologian from a pontifical university and has the credentials to contribute to scholarly bodies of work. This she has done in the past with distinction,” Aquinas College said. “The unfortunate events at Charlotte Catholic High School are not representative of the quality of Sister’s academic contributions or the positive influence that she has had on her students.”

It added, “The students at Charlotte Catholic were unprepared, as were their parents, for the topic that Sister was asked to deliver. The consequence was a complete misrepresentation of the school’s intention to bring a message that would enlighten and bring freedom and peace.”

Sister Jane has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. She is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, which founded and runs Aquinas College.

Her presentation was based on a series of instructional videos she created for Aquinas College.

According to the website www.newmanconnection.com, where Sister Jane’s videos are posted, her presentations focus on the differences between the genders, the role of the family in nurturing each child’s unique gifts, the importance of real friendships and emotional intimacy, and the impacts of contemporary culture and the media on our concepts of sexuality.

About a week after her presentation, Sister Jane told the Catholic News Herald, Charlotte’s diocesan newspaper, she has given similar talks more than 80 times in 25 states.

Aquinas College said it firmly believes “all men and women are created in God’s image and likeness and are made with a capacity to love and be loved. The college supports the Catholic Church’s teachings which are open to the diverse needs and desires of all, which must be considered in light of eternal truths.”

“We support and affirm that every man and woman, regardless of his or her state in life, deserve respect, and that the health of any culture is gauged according to the capacity of its members to uphold their own beliefs while respecting the beliefs of others,” the statement said. “The college’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, was known for his ability to thoughtfully consider all things and retain what is true, regardless of the source of that truth.”

The college said it hoped the Charlotte high school community “will soon begin a process of healing and renewal.”

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Whose Side Is God on Now?

By Pat Buchanan

....In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia's flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity. His recent speeches carry echoes of John Paul II whose Evangelium Vitae in 1995 excoriated the West for its embrace of a "culture of death."

What did Pope John Paul mean by moral crimes?

"Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation." - Vladimir Putin
The West's capitulation to a sexual revolution of easy divorce, rampant promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality, feminism, abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, assisted suicide — the displacement of Christian values by Hollywood values.

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum writes that she was stunned when in Tbilisi to hear a Georgian lawyer declare of the former pro-Western regime of Mikhail Saakashvili, "They were LGBT."

"It was an eye-opening moment," wrote Applebaum. Fear and loathing of the same-sex-marriage pandemic has gone global. In Paris, a million-man Moral Majority marched in angry protest.
Author Masha Gessen, who has written a book on Putin, says of his last two years, "Russia is remaking itself as the leader of the anti-Western world."

But the war to be waged with the West is not with rockets. It is a cultural, social, moral war where Russia's role, in Putin's words, is to "prevent movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state."

Would that be the "chaotic darkness" and "primitive state" of mankind, before the Light came into the world?

This writer was startled to read in the Jan-Feb. newsletter from the social conservative World Council of Families in Rockford, Ill., that, of the "ten best trends" in the world in 2013, number one was "Russia Emerges as Pro-Family Leader."

In 2013, the Kremlin imposed a ban on homosexual propaganda, a ban on abortion advertising, a ban on abortions after 12 weeks and a ban on sacrilegious insults to religious believers.

"While the other super-powers march to a pagan world-view," writes WCF's Allan Carlson, "Russia is defending Judeo-Christian values. During the Soviet era, Western communists flocked to Moscow. This year, World Congress of Families VII will be held in Moscow, Sept. 10-12."

Will Vladimir Putin give the keynote?

In the new ideological Cold War, whose side is God on now?


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Boycott Guinness, Sam Adams, Heineken - Catholic League

By Bill Donohue

(The Catholic League)  Bill Donohue is calling for a boycott of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams:

Diageo, the parent company of Guinness, and Heineken, have pulled their sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade; the Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams, has withdrawn its sponsorship of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

None of these companies believe in diversity. No gay person has ever been barred from marching in any St. Patrick’s Day parade, anymore than the parade bans pro-life Catholics or vegetarian Catholics; they simply cannot march under their own banner. The parade has one cause: honoring St. Patrick. Those who disagree do not have to march—that’s what diversity is all about.

The parade is quintessentially Catholic, beginning with a Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is this Catholic element that angers those who are engaged in a bullying campaign against the St. Patrick’s Day parades. The bullies also have nothing but contempt for the constitutional rights of Irish Catholics.

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that the First Amendment guarantees the right of private parade organizers to determine its own rules for marching. It is this liberty that the makers of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams want to squash.

I have had my last Guinness and Sam Adams. Heineken was always slop, so there is no sacrifice there. I urge Catholics, and all those who believe in tolerance, diversity, and the First Amendment, to join with me in boycotting these brews.

To contact Guinness, email: press.office@diageo.com
To contact Heineken, email: pressoffice@heineken.com
To contact Sam Adams, email: jessica.paar@bostonbeer.com

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Sam Adams pulls sponsorship from St. Patrick's Day Parade Due to Exclusion of Gays

Photo: wcvb.com

Gays exclusion led to Boston Beer Company decision 

(WCVB) BOSTON — After its support of the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade led one Boston restaurant to boycott its brew, the Boston Beer Company – which manufactures Sam Adams – has pulled its sponsorship from Sunday's parade.

Club Café, in the South End, had announced it would not serve the company's beer because of the ongoing controversy over the exclusion of openly gay individuals from marching in the parade.

Boston Beer Company said that it is disappointed that an agreement could not be reached between the gay rights advocacy group MassEquality and parade organizers that would have allowed a group of gay veterans to march, despite pressure from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Rep. Stephen Lynch.
"We share these sentiments with Mayor Walsh, Congressman Lynch and others and therefore we will not participate in this year's parade," the Boston Beer Company said in a statement.

"We were hopeful an agreement could be reached to allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in this parade. However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible," the statement read.

A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council could include or exclude whichever groups it wanted.

"As a result of this (decision) we are again proud to serve Sam Adams and Boston Beer Company Products," Club Café said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The parade organizers' phone was not answered. The parade, one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the nation, draws as many as 1 million spectators to South Boston.

UpdateThe Catholic League: Boycott Guinness, Sam Adams, Heineken

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pope calls for fresh Church approach to children of gay parents


Pope Francis leads a mass at St Peter's Basilica on January 1, 2014 at the Vatican

Rome (AFP) - Pope Francis has called for a rethink in the way the Catholic Church deals with the children of gay couples and divorced parents, warning against "administering a vaccine against faith". Related Stories

"On an educational level, gay unions raise challenges for us today which for us are sometimes difficult to understand," Francis said in a speech to the Catholic Union of Superiors General in November, extracts of which were published on Italian media websites on Saturday.

"The number of children in schools whose parents have separated is very high," he said, adding that family make-ups were also changing.

"I remember a case in which a sad little girl confessed to her teacher: 'my mother's girlfriend doesn't love me'," he was quoted as saying.

The pontiff said educational leaders should ask themselves "how can we proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing?"

"We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them," the 77-year-old added.

Though the Church has often been in conflict with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community over its opposition to same-sex marriage and to homosexuality, Francis has drawn praise for attempts to be inclusive.

In July he reached out to gays, declaring that "if someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"

And in December, the Advocate magazine -- dedicated to the gay and lesbian community -- chose the head of the Catholic Church as the "single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people."

The reform-minded pontiff has also called an extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops next year to discuss the Church's position with regard to the family, which is expected to address among other issues the problem of divorcees remarrying and children of divorced parents.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

A&E Welcomes Phil Robertson Back to 'Duck Dynasty'


(The Hollywood Reporter) Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E's Duck Dynasty clan who was suspended from his hit reality series on Dec. 18 following some incendiary comments about gay people, won't be put on hiatus after all.

The network and the Robertson family announced Friday that Phil will still be part of the series -- and since he didn't miss any filming, his temporary suspension will have no effect on the upcoming fifth season....  (continued)

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Robertson to be Reinstated? Fearing boycott, Cracker Barrel Reverses Decision.


By Will Payne In West Monroe, Louisiana

(MailOnline) The Duck Dynasty patriarch led a small Bible study group in his home town church in West Monroe, Louisiana on Sunday, granting MailOnline exclusive access.

And the deeply religious outdoorsman stood by his incendiary statements – which saw him call homosexuality a sin and led to his suspension from the hit reality show by network bosses at A&E.

During Sunday’s speech, he defended himself, saying he was simply quoting from the Bible and even went so far as to say Jesus could save gay people.

‘I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,’ he added.

The 67-year-old has been slammed by gay rights groups since his interview in January’s issue of GQ magazine was made public last week.

He was quoted as saying: 'It seems like, to me, a vagina - as a man - would be more desirable than a man’s anus.

'That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.'

But despite the criticism Robertson has faced, his family and local community have come to his defense and stood firmly behind him.

Just before Sunday’s Bible study class started, one church-goer actually thanked Robertson for his comments...

Yesterday Entertainment Weekly claimed that despite his suspension, Robertson will be back on the hugely popular show – which regularly pulls in 12 million viewers – when filming recommences in January.

They quoted a source saying: ‘The network also hopes the media and fan furor will cool down over the holidays and that tensions over shooting future episodes can then be resolved. There’s no negotiation to have; we’re doing the show.’

That will come as welcome news to the people of West Monroe and much of the country, who have leaped to Robertson’s defense and said he has the right to speak his mind...

Yesterday it was revealed one company, Cracker Barrel had dropped the Louisiana family. But after threats of a boycott they almost immediately reversed their decision, releasing a statement, saying:

‘You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you...’

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Duck Dynasty: A & E are Discriminating Against Them for Their Deeply Seated 'Christian Beliefs'

By Will Payne

(MailOnline) Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and his family believe they have been ‘hung out to dry’ by TV network A&E after he was suspended for homophobic comments made in a magazine interview, MailOnline can reveal.

Sources within the close-knit Louisiana clan say they are convinced A&E are manipulating the controversial situation to bring them – and particularly Robertson – back into line after Television executives grew tired of the family pushing their deeply-held, Christian beliefs.

They also think the network could have done something to stop the controversial GQ article being made public, because an A&E representative was present during the interview with patriarch, Roberston, 67.



A source close to the family, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline: ‘You have to ask yourself, why this interview happened and why it ever became public. Someone from A&E was there and was aware of the kind of answers Phil was giving.

‘But despite that, they didn’t ever try to stop it or control it. Instead, they let it hit the headlines and then released a statement condemning it.

‘It is our belief that they knew what was going to happen and then used the situation to exercise control over Phil.

‘It is our understanding that when the TV executives came up with the concept for the show they wanted it to be a case of people laughing at a bunch of backward rednecks.

‘But when it didn’t turn out like that and people actually started identifying with the way the family behaved and were laughing with them, not at them, they became uncomfortable. It did not sit will with the New York TV types.


Family values: The Robertson family feels as though they are being discriminated against for their deeply rooted Christian beliefs

‘We believe they were also uncomfortable with the family’s insistence that there would be a strong religious presence in the show. They knew Phil was the driving force behind this and we think they have used this situation to bring him in line so they could steer the show back down the path they originally intended for it.

‘But they may have underestimated how united the family are and how committed they are to their beliefs. They also didn’t realize how much support Phil would get from the public, so things have backfired on them.’

The controversy began after outrageous extracts from Robertson’s interview for the January edition of GQ were made public. The outdoorsman was quoted as saying: 'It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man’s anus.

'That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.' When asked what he thought was sinful, Robertson replied: ‘Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.’


The Duck Dynasty trailer sits outside of the Duck Commander Store in West Monroe on Friday

A&E suspended him on Wednesday and released a statement, saying: ‘We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series 'Duck Dynasty'.

‘His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.’

But on Thursday the family issued their own response which suggested they would be prepared to walk away from the highly lucrative reality show, which regularly pulls in more than 12 million viewers.

They said: ‘While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.


A sign supporting A & E Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson sits at the corner of Vernon Drive and Washington Street in West Monroe

‘We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.’

The family source added to this, telling MailOnline: ‘We believe in the word of the Bible exactly as it is written and we will call a sin a sin and a sinner a sinner. But we are all sinners, every one of us and we believe in redemption and that opening yourself up to Jesus Christ will save you. ‘That is what Phil believes and that will not change. We are sorry if that has offended anyone, because that was never our intention. We believe in love and truth and that is it.’ Multi-millionaire Robertson’s incendiary comments have been slammed by many, including gay-rights groups.

GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz was first to condemn him, saying: ‘Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. ‘He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.’

But Cruz’s views certainly aren’t reflected in the family’s home town of West Monroe. The Robertson’s are absolutely loved and revered in the deeply religious north-western Louisiana city. The family were already wealthy before their reality show, making their money from the Duck Commander business which sells hunting equipment. Phil Robertson lives in a huge gated compound on the edge of town and his son Willie owns a gigantic lakeside property.

They have employed dozens of locals for years and now their empire has grown, they provide even more jobs to the town’s people. That has cemented their popularity and since the homophobia scandal broke, a number of make-shift signs have been constructed offering backing to Robertson. On Friday cars honked their horns in support as they drove passed one erected on the edge of town.


The Whites Ferry Road Church of Christ where the Robertson Family worship

Their presence in West Monroe is inescapable, with billboards and posters celebrating them everywhere. Last weekend, around 30,000 people packed the downtown area for the ‘Duck Commander Christmas Parade’. People travelled from all over the country to celebrate the festive season with the family, filling every hotel room in town.

Phil’s son Willie owns a massive downtown restaurant, which is always packed and there is a huge gift store just down the road, constantly filled with fans, eager to get their hands on Duck Commander merchandise.

The controversy that has engulfed the family this week has done nothing to put a dent in business, if anything it has given it a boost.

The Madrid family drove two hours from Alexandria to show their solidarity and snap up some trademark duck calls for an upcoming hunting trip. Mother-of-two Kimberly said: ‘We are Christians and we completely support Phil.


Images of ducks tatter street lamps in downtown Monroe in support of Robertson

‘This country has a proud history of freedom of speech and I believe Phil is the one who is being persecuted, because he has lost his jobs because of his religious beliefs.

‘The spokesman for GLADD said Phil wasn’t representing the people of Louisiana, but I don’t know one person who is not behind him. We will not be watching A&E again.’

Another customer, Bernard Wolleson said: ‘I think you would have to get out of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama to find anyone who does not support Phil.

‘I am supportive of religious freedom, regardless of the faith and that is what is at issue. They knew he was outspoken when they hired him. What he said may have sounded crude, but I believe his intent was right.’

Just days after the scandal broke, rather than hide away; Phil Robertson went to his local church, White’s Ferry Road church to take part in a prayer meeting.

He is actually a very prominent elder there and his parishioners are completely behind him. On Friday Church secretary Luanne Watts told MailOnline they had been bombarded with calls and emails from American’s showing their support.

She said: ‘What has happened is a blessing. Phil believes in the word of God and he will not shift from that.

‘We have had hundreds of messages from people all over the country and I think out of all of them only one email has been negative.


Kimberly Madrid of Alexandria, La. discusses her support of Duck Dynasty Star Phil Robertson while shopping at the Duck Commander Store with sons Nathaniel, 12, and Matthew, 9

‘I went to school with his boys, so I have known him for years. He is a great man and his faith is the most important thing in his life. He is here every Wednesday and Sunday, to give sermons, or take prayer groups. He will be here this Sunday as well.

‘We are all completely behind him. You will struggle to find anyone in town who does not support him.’ And that view seems to be held by many Americans. On Thursday MailOnline revealed Walmart had sold out of their money-spinning Duck Dynasty range.

The Robertson family has a merchandise empire that is estimated by Forbes to be worth about $400million - and their deal with Walmart makes up around half of this.

The chain sells a huge array of Duck Dynasty merchandise- from T-shirts to camo bedding, posters, watches, toy trucks, camo chairs, clothing, jewellery and even bottle openers.

Walmart announced at their annual shareholders meeting that the best-selling item of apparel for both men and women this year was the reality show's T-shirt, according to Forbes.

Forbes writer Claire O'Connor said: 'When I was down in Arkansas for this Walmart meeting, you really do marvel at the amount of people who are wearing these Duck Dynasty T-shirts and hats.

'There are kid’s pajamas, there is camo bedding and you probably won't be surprised to hear that they sell Duck Dynasty prayer devotionals.'

Aside from their continued commercial success, an online petition called #IstandwithPhil demanding Robertson’s reinstatement has already attracted almost 140,000 signatures.

UPDATERobertson to be Reinstated? Fearing boycott, Cracker Barrel Reverses Decision.

Link:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Femen feminists attack Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium


"Scantily clad activists of feminist group Femen invaded a conference at a university in Brussels. During the act, demonstrators threw water on the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Andre-Joseph Leonard. The priest did not react and avoided looking at the activists. The protest was against homophobia, according to international agencies. At the end of the demonstration, the archbishop kissed a picture of the Virgin Mary to leave the room. Born in Ukraine and with subsidiaries in several countries (including Brazil and nations with a Muslim majority), the Femen often campaigning for the rights of women and minorities. One of their banners is the defense of gay marriage."



BRUSSELS (AFP) - The Catholic Church in Belgium on Wednesday angrily denounced Femen topless protesters who targeted its primate at a conference though the archbishop himself remained composed and apparently at prayer throughout.

The four protesters leapt out of their seats at a debate on blasphemy and freedom of expression held at the Brussels' Free University (ULB) campus Tuesday evening, baring their breasts and squirting water at Archbishop Andre Leonard as they accused him of homophobia.


Security guards threw the women out of the hall within minutes as the archbishop remained quietly seated, his hands crossed apparently in prayer.

The Belgian religious leader, a known conservative, has often been criticised for his stand on gay issues.
In March he said homosexuals should practise "a form of celibacy and abstinence" and welcomed protests in France against its gay marriage legislation.

The Church in a statement denounced "the attitude of a few persons... in total contradiction with the theme of the debate and with the manner in which the Catholic Church hopes for dialogue".


"At the end of the demonstration, the archbishop kissed a picture of the Virgin Mary to leave the room."

Link to AFP story