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Bishop tells gays and lesbians: ìThe church is your homeî

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No, you didn’t misread the headline. In late March, Mexican Bishop Raul Vera Lopez celebrated Mass for participants in a diocesan-endorsed forum on sexual diversity, known as Comunidad San Aelredo.

Bishop Vera has made the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church a priority in his northern Mexican diocese, which has a reputation for championing human rights issues.

Shock and outrage in Belgium after bishop's remarks

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Belgium reacted with shock and outrage on Friday to a television interview in which a disgraced bishop revealed that he had abused two nephews, rather than the one previously acknowledged, and said that he did not consider himself a pedophile, according to an article today in The New York Times.

The comments came in a lengthy appearance on a Flemish television channel on Thursday night in which Roger Vangheluwe, 74, described how he resigned as bishop of Bruges a year ago after he admitted abusing a boy who was later revealed to be his nephew.

Vatican officials said this week that the bishop is receiving “spiritual and psychological treatment” outside Belgium and is not permitted to act as a priest until the Vatican rules in his case.

An Atheist and a Catholic

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How amazingly cool is this?! Way cool, in my humble opinion, and better than the much-blogged-about “God Debate” between Famous Atheist Sam Harris and Famous Evangelical William Lane Craig because Harris and Craig appeared to yell more at each other (or each other’s ideas) than they did seem to listen carefully.

Then again, the women behind the new blog An Atheist and a Catholic are, well, women. And, while some Mean Girls have gotten a lot of press lately being snarky and sarcastic (from the Greek sarkasmos, meaning “to tear flesh”) women – especially mothers – usually tend to be more willing than their male counterparts to hear each other out before shouting each other down.

Priest: calls transit tax a 'faith issue'

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ABC affiliate, WZZM13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, reports on a group of religious leaders coming out in favor of a 31% tax increase to support expanded bus service:

A group of priests, pastors and rabbis says it's almost a religious duty for people of faith to approve a tax increase for expanded bus service in the Grand Rapids area.

If you believe in the Bible, Father Mike Przybysz says, you should vote "yes" for the 31% tax increase The Rapid is requesting.

"The Scriptures, Old Testament, New Testament, say we are supposed to help those in need," says Father Przybysz. "This is a way for us to reach out to those on the fringes of society."

Clergy sex abuse survivor pleas no sainthood for Pope John Paul II

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The beatification, set for May 1st, of Pope John Paul II is especially painful for survivors of clergy sex abuse. The following open letter to Pope Benedict illustrates the depth of the anguish. It was written by Robert Wilford, an Alachua, Florida commissioner, and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. It appeared in The North Florida Herald.

Most Holy Father:

"Here stand I. I can do no other. So help me God!"

These courageous words proclaimed at the Diet of Worms in 1521 are attributed to Martin Luther when he was directed by this church's legislative body to deny or defend his teachings or suffer the consequences of excommunication as a heretic from the Roman Catholic Church.

I, too, must take Martin Luther's stance and challenge your inexplicable actions in seeking to have Pope John Paul II canonized as one of the church's saints.

John Paul's dastardly behavior, in not addressing the clergy sexual abuse issue confronting his church while he was the leader of the world's Catholics, disqualifies him from this exalted position.

On this day: St. Ruad·n

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Ruadán of Lorrha, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

Ruadhán (pronounced Rowan, meaning red-haired) founded an abbey at Lorrha (in today's Co. Tipperary) about the year 550. He ruled 150 monks and was renowned for his miracles, which included raising people from the dead.

Click here to see a stained-glass window of St. Ruadhán and to read of some of his miracles. His bell, shown with him, is preserved in the British Museum.

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