Pope pins church's survival on family

2012-05-31 11:07

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI leaves a scandal-hit Vatican on Friday for the World Meeting of Families in Milan, where he will argue that the traditional family is the key to galvanising a flagging Church.

The pontiff will have a chance to shake off rumours of a power struggle at the heart of the Holy See and meet with young believers, as the Church battles the West's growing openness to unconventional family structures, homosexuality and divorce.

One million people are expected to attend a final mass to wind up the event on Sunday, which will take place at Bresso airport near Italy's economic capital.

Milan is not only the largest diocese in Europe, it is also home to Cardinal Angelo Scola - tipped by many as a possible successor to the pope before the leak of hundreds of secret papal documents threw the Church hierarchy into disarray.

The "Vatileaks" scandal, which has sparked rumours that a group of rebel cardinals may be jockeying to get one of their own to the papacy, resulted last week in the arrest of Pope Benedict's personal butler.

There are concerns that the ordeal may have taken a heavy toll on the elderly pontiff.

New evangelism

Speaking to the masses about family life will give the pontiff a chance to divert attention from the scandal, which some believe has made him appear weak and powerless to stop the Church imploding.

The 85-year-old, who appeared drawn and tired when he spoke this week of the sorrow the scandal has caused him, faces a hectic schedule in Milan.

From a concert at the prestigious Scala opera house, to a meeting with young pilgrims in the San Siro football stadium and a celebration with 300 000 faithful, Benedict will have little time to rest before Sunday's big mass.

He will tell those worried that the Church's influence in the West is in sharp decline that the traditional family will serve as the engine of new evangelism, and will call on governments to put family rights first.

Vatican officials are alarmed by legislation being adopted in a growing number of countries that recognises gay marriage or defends gay unions.

The pope has spoken often of the importance of family unity and lamented the spread of divorce, abortion, homosexuality and infidelity. He has warned the traditional family is "disintegrating" under the weight of secularisation.

International family fair

Benedict is likely to dedicate his message to those with children, arguing for a greater balance between work and family life and insisting on the importance of keeping Sunday as a day of rest.

According to experts, he is also likely to call for larger families to pay less tax and for women to have more flexible working hours.

The event is also scheduled to include an international theological congress and an "international family fair".

  • Sharon - 2012-05-31 11:46

    The vatican is horrified at anything that makes them less powerful! The early religious groups would be horrified at what the Vatican has become!!

  • Martin - 2012-05-31 11:47

    cant we strap the vatican to a rocket and shoot it into the sun

      LanfearM - 2012-05-31 13:03

      lol, can we please just retrieve all the documents buried in their archives and library? Documents that they mostly don't allow the world to see...

  • zaatheist - 2012-05-31 12:04

    "The pope has spoken often of the importance of family unity and lamented the spread of divorce, abortion, homosexuality and infidelity. " And what about your child raping clergy, Mr Pope. Hypocrite.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 12:05

      This is Father Oliver O'Grady, a former Catholic priest. The church knew he was a child abuser. He gave this deposition last year in a civil law suit where he was accused of sodomizing a child over a hundred times. O'GRADY: I swear by Almighty God that the evidence that I shall give in this deposition will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.... If the boy was tall or fat, that wouldn't attract me. I tended to take boys that were rather slim built. I tended to be attracted to the genital area, and there was a part of me would kind of want to be in touch with that, or to discover that, to see that in this particular boy. Q: What is it.. what about the little girls did you find attractive? O'GRADY: If she had a short dress or something like that I might have been tempted to, and often did, maybe raise her dress in a kind of subconscious way, or should I say in a way that she's not aware that I'm doing that. But checking her out at the same time, you know. You'd get a glimpse of her underwear. Q: And did you find that arousing?

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 12:05

      O'GRADY: I did, yes. The viewing was more attractive actually than the touching in the girl's case. Q: How about how you would greet the little girl you were grooming? Just use the name Sally. O'GRADY: Hi Sally, how you doing? Come here, I wanna give you a hug. You're a sweetheart, you know that. You're very special to me. I like you a lot. She might respond 'I like you too'. And that would allow me to give a better hug to you.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 12:06

      “Sometimes there just isn't enough vomit in the world. - Stephen Fry

      Peter - 2012-05-31 14:50

      This sounds like any other peadophile in the world, from a teacher to a imam, to a rabbi, take your pick. Sick individuals come in all forms, and just because there are less than 1 percent of these in the catholic church, does not make the whole organisation pernicious. The problem with the catholic church is that its a hierarchy that stretches all the borders of the world, and its downright illogical to blame the whole institution. Its like saying let's disband all teaching fraternities just because some teachers are child molesters.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 15:38

      @Peter Tens of thousand of children have been raped and sexually molested by Catholic and other clergy around the world. And if the Vatican is so innocent then why were such active steps taken to cover up the extent of this abuse. And how about this - A child protection official for the Catholic Church has been caught with 4,000 pictures of child porn. Father-of-four Christopher Jarvis was arrested after uploading pictures of children being abused to a website. Married Jarvis, 49, a former social worker, was employed by the church following sex scandals about pervert priests. His job was to monitor church groups to ensure paedophiles did not gain access to children in the church’s congregations. 1% PAH!

      Peter - 2012-05-31 15:53

      Like I said, what makes this catholic individual from any other sicko out there. You can't blame the whole church for a few rotten apples. Get over yourself, you are becoming like a stuck record, always harping over issues that afflicts all organisations. Maybe you should read up on what good the church has done, to give a more balanced approach, as your hateful remarks have betrayed your hatred of all things religious and have blinded you to the truth. You have become the very thing you despise, a religious bigot.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 16:47

      @Peter Care to enumerate what good the church has done that is not or could not be done by a secular organisation.

      Peter - 2012-05-31 17:55

      For starters, it is the biggest charity concerning the nursing of aids patients in SA, and was one of the first to open a hospital in SA which was not just restricted to catholics, and yes, it does not discriminate who it takes care of. It goes quietly with its business without trying to convert anyone. So, before you start painting catholics with the same brush go and do some research on catholic charities and welfare.

      Phoenix - 2012-05-31 20:45

      Peter, the fact is that upper management of the church knew about the 'peadophile' problem; and hid it from the police and everyone else by moving these people from diocese to diocese where they continued to abuse kids. THAT is the problem - we all know peadophiles are present everywhere; but other organisations will immediately contact the police - but NOT the Catholic church.

  • donald - 2012-05-31 12:10

    the most evil organisation in the world next to the ANC

  • WessBergg - 2012-05-31 13:13

    They have enough riches in their vaults to feed the entire world and yet they want to come and talk to us about morals. Sies man....

      MagdaKus - 2012-05-31 13:40

      So you would prefer the art treasures donated by people to the church over the ages which are held in trust for humanity in museums/galleries where EVERYONE can appreciate them to be sold to private collectors where only the very few can see them? Does this also square with the wishes of the donors? Ok- mostly passed away- but still. If not- museums and historical buildings cost much to maintain (even if on the books they may be reflected as assets). And Catholic parishioners these days do not tithe as much as their Protestant counterparts. Ask any person with the knowledge of parish finances- it is a very hand-to-mouth situation. And the Church still manages to finance a huge chunk of charity work done in the world- WessBerg- check out work organizations like CARITAS, CWD and others are doing in terms of feeding the world.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 14:03

      The church only does charity for the purpose of proselytising and to take a cut off the top of all charitable donations. If they were truly as charitable as you claim they could simply take all the money they collect and hand it over to secular international charities.

      Phoenix - 2012-05-31 15:56

      MagdaKus - donated????? LOL! They STOLE most of it!!! Do you not know your history?

  • david.m.stephens.3 - 2012-05-31 13:37

    Sies man indeed!!!...the whole religion is itself the whore that sits on the 7 hills spoken of in Ezekiel and Revelation. She will feel the full wrath of the Lords anger when He judges the earth!

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 14:05

      But,but, but. They wrote the book you so fondly believe in. They invented the whole thing so you should be thankful.

  • david.m.stephens.3 - 2012-05-31 14:16

    @zaathiest...FYI, they did not write the book that i believe in, i believe tin the bible as the inspired word of God, the last book of which was written in the yr AD91. The Roman Catholic Church was only formed and came into being 175 yrs later. So no, they did not write the bible. You are welcome to read the Word of God, which was written over a 1500 yr period and has no contradictions as it points to Jesus Christ...His birth , life and well as His resurrection. Jesus Loves you dude

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 14:22

      They wrote the bible you hold so precious - cobbled it together from all the scriptures and myths of earlier religions. Edited out the things they dis not like and added stuff which they thought gullible guys like you would be impressed with.

      Peter - 2012-05-31 15:02

      Hi David, the first usage of the word catholic was used by St. Ignatius, a student of Peter and worshipped with the apostles. The reason being was to differentiate between all the other sects claiming theirs was the true church Jesus started, all based on biblicial interpretations. Sound familiar. Also St. Polycarp, a student of St. John, used the word catholic to define the true church. Secondly the bible was codified by us catholics at the council of nicea.

      Peter - 2012-05-31 21:58

      @ Z, you are absolutely right regarding who codified the bible. The truth is christianity stand or falls with catholicism, and that unfortunately is where protestantism fails to understand, is that either catholicsim is one hundred percent correct or one hundred percent wrong.

  • david.m.stephens.3 - 2012-05-31 14:41

    hahahahaha.....OMG, i've not laughed that hard in a while dude @zaathiest. You are an athiest so automatically you have closed your mind off to any other belief but possibly Darwinianism. I'd ask you to kindly prove your allegations. Because it has been proved by many scholars among them C.S. Lewis who was a law graduate and Martin Luther King who was a human rights advocate and an accomplished scholar, that the bible was written by Jews over a 1500 yr period as God led them by the Holy Spirit. What they wrote has in many instances been fulfilled some 3500 yrs later and much is still to come to pass. So no, i'm not gullible...i've studied world religions, been sceptical and hated God. Believing if He existed that I would never have lived the life that I have, been abused sexually and doing drugs and alcohol from a young age. However, I've experienced the Love of God and I can not deny He is real and He is at work in the earth and that His word, the bible is true and powerful to those who will stand on His promises.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 15:40

      Gish galloping David - What has evolution to do with the topic. As for the protestant clergy - The Associated Press reported recently that three insurance companies receive upward of 260 reports each year of young people under 18 being sexually abused by Protestant clergy, challenging the assumption that clergy sexual abuse is an exclusively Catholic problem that does not take place in other churches. That is a higher number than the annual average of 228 “credible accusations” brought against Catholic clerics in records reported by the Catholic Church in response to media scrutiny, a priest observed in a Fox News commentary questioning why the story isn’t garnering more attention. While the report about abuse in Protestant churches doesn’t absolve guilty Catholic priests or those who enabled them, said Father Jonathan Morris, it offers a more complete picture. “The problem of sexual abuse has no denominational boundaries,” he wrote. The AP obtained figures on sex-abuse claims from three companies that insure the majority of Protestant churches in America–Church Mutual Insurance Company, GuideOne Insurance and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.

      zaatheist - 2012-05-31 15:42

      BTW, when I managed to work my way through your badly punctuated wall of text I see you want proof for my allegations. Which allegations and I will gladly respond.

      Phoenix - 2012-05-31 16:18

      ... cue Twilight Zone music...

      Peter - 2012-05-31 21:56

      For once I agree with Z on this one. Its not endemic to catholicism. So much for the celibacy theory. The truth is that these shameful acts have nothing to do with religion, and solely to do with the deprived individual himself.

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