National Catholic Reporter

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Francis

Church must reach out to gays, divorced, Philippine bishop says

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The church must widen its reach to gays and divorced Catholics, said the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, in an Oct. 21 statement after the Synod of Bishops on the family, called for a merciful approach to ministering to the faithful by emulating Christ and not casting stones at sinners.

A revised top 10 list

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I'm still haunted by a late 1960s survey of American Catholics. Participants were asked just one question: What's the more important law -- love your neighbor, or give up meat on Friday? More than 50 percent responded, "Give up meat on Friday." When meatless Fridays trump love of neighbor, we Catholics are in deep trouble.

David Letterman didn't invent the top 10 list. In one form or another, such inventories have been around for a long time -- even during the biblical period.

Francis is asking us to take sides

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When asked "Which side are you on?" — as the song goes — most of us feel uneasy and generally try to sit on the intervening fence.

However, that is the question Pope Francis asked Catholics in his closing address to the bishops and cardinals — and by extension all Catholics — at the extraordinary synod on the Family Oct. 18. Noting the "moments of tensions and temptations" that occurred during the synod, Francis asks us to be honest with ourselves and declare which side we are inclining towards: the "traditionalist" or the "progressive” wing of the church.

Fr. Tony Flannery preaches church reform with a brogue

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It was a cool, rainy night Wednesday at Augustana Lutheran Church in Washington, D.C. But the drizzly weather did not keep more than 150 people from coming out to hear Fr. Tony Flannery, a priest from Ireland who has been ordered by the Vatican to sign a statement of orthodoxy and to remain silent. But Flannery -- unlike many theologians before him -- did not sign and won't keep quiet. In fact, this was the first stop in an 18-city speaking tour of the United States, sponsored by a coalition of U.S. church reform groups.

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