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Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff

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Pope Francis became the first pontiff to endorse same-sex civil unions on Wednesday, sparking cheers from gay Catholics and demands for clarification from conservatives given the Vatican’s official teaching on the issue.

The papal thumbs-up to same-sex civil unions came midway through the feature-length documentary ‘Francesco’ that had its debut screening at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday.

The film, which includes fresh interviews with the pontiff, looks into the issues that mean the most to Pope Francis, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

ILGA Europe, an association that promotes the interests of LGBTI people, gave the pontiff’s words a cautious welcome.

“In the context where there is so much polarisation and scapegoating of LGBTI people, often endorsed and stoked by religious leaders, Pope Francis’ statement on same-sex unions is to be welcomed and should be carefully listened to,” the organisation said on Twitter. “We will monitor closely to see in how far the statement will be picked up by the churches and will lead to real change for LGBTI people and their families.”

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit who has sought to build bridges with gays in the church, praised the comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”

“The pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws,” Martin said in a statement.

However, US conservative Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, called for clarification. “The pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the church about same-sex unions,” he said in a statement. “The church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships.”

Catholic teaching holds that gays must be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” A 2003 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office stated the church’s respect for gays “cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

Doing so, the Vatican reasoned, would not only condone “deviant behavior,” but create an equivalence to marriage, which the church holds is an indissoluble union between man and woman.

That document was signed by the then-prefect of the office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI and Francis’ predecessor.

While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favour of civil unions as pope.

Director Evgeny Afineevsky had remarkable access to cardinals, the Vatican television archives and the pope himself. He said he negotiated his way in through persistence, and deliveries of Argentine mate tea and Alfajores cookies that he got to the pope via some well-connected Argentines in Rome.

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One Christian Killed, Four Kidnapped in Nigeria

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Nigeria– A bus driver was killed and four female members of an Anglican Church abducted while driving along Kaduna-Kachia road on Tuesday, April 6th, reports the Barnabus Fund.

“Bandits blockaded the road and opened fire on the church bus and another truck. In addition to the Christian bus driver, named as Alfred Makinde, three others were killed in the gunfire,” stated the news source.

The kidnappers contacted the church demanding a N100 million (about $245,000) ransom.

“My conversation with the Anglican church is there were 15 members in the bus but the others ran into the bush and others were shot and sustained injuries, but the bandits took four persons; one old woman and three young ladies” said Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna Christian Association of Nigeria chairman.

The attack comes just twelve days after eight Christians were abducted while driving on the same Kaduna-Kachia road, about 20 miles outside of Kaduna city. Christians are particularly targeted in this area of Nigeria, often referred to as the middle belt, where the Muslim majority north meets Nigeria’s mostly Christian south, creating an environment of ethnic tension which often results in severe Christian persecution. Christian communities are targeted, and thousands of believers have been kidnapped, tortured and killed with nowhere to turn for safety. While the government denies religious motive behind these attacks, the frequent burning of churches and targeting of believers shows that a hatred of Christianity plays a key role in the violence throughout the Middle Belt.

Please pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped. Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for the Lord to strengthen the Nigerian church and heal His persecuted children of their trauma. Please also pray for the world to recognize the scale of the suffering that believers are having to endure in Nigeria, as well as for the souls of those who persecute the church, that all will repent and find salvation in Christ.
Sources:persecution

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പാസ്റ്റർ ജോൺ വർഗീസിൻ്റെ (രാജൻ പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ) സഹധർമ്മിണി ഏലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി -71) അമേരിക്കയിൽ നിര്യാതയായി

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ഒക്കലഹോമ: ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ മുൻ ശുശ്രുഷകനും സിനിയർ പാസ്റ്ററുമായ Rev. Dr. ജോൺ വർഗീസിന്റ (രാജൻ. പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ, ആഞ്ഞിലിത്താനം ) ഭാര്യ എലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി – 71) ഏപ്രിൽ 10-ന് പ്രഭാതത്തിൽ താൻ പ്രിയം വെച്ച കർത്തൃ സന്നിധിയിൽ ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ടു. മെമ്മോറിയൽ സർവ്വീസ് ഏപ്രിൽ 16 നു വെള്ളിയാഴ്ച വൈകിട്ട് 6- മണിക്കും സംസ്കാര ശ്രുശ്രുഷ ഏപ്രിൽ 17- നു രാവിലെ 10 മണിക്കും നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും . രണ്ടു ശുശ്രുഷകളും ഒക്കലഹോമ ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ സഭാ ഹാളിൽ വെച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും.

മകൾ : ഫെബി മാത്യു.
മരുമകൻ: ജോൺസൻ മാത്യു (ബോബി ).

കൊച്ചുമക്കൾ: ജോയാന, രൂത്ത് & ക്രിസ്റ്റഫർ

Viewing:- Wednesday 4 – 7.30pm (prayer meeting 6.30 pm – 7.30pm)

Memorial service:- Friday 6.30 pm. @IPCH

Home Going Service:- Saturday 10 am. @ IPCH

Follow CDC guidelines.
Come and go as you wish.

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