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ITALY/ Pope Francis Endorses Same Sex Marriage; Becomes First Pontiff To Support Homosexuality

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ROME (AP) — Pope Francis became the first pontiff to endorse Same Sex Civil Unione-sex civil unions in comments for a documentary that premiered 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 came midway through the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered at the Rome Film Festival. The film, which features fresh interviews with the pope, delves into issues Francis cares about most, 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. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

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 favor of civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had, either.

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, 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.

Director Evgeny Afineevsky, who is gay, expressed surprise after the premiere that the pope’s comments had created such a firestorm, saying Francis wasn’t trying to change doctrine but was merely expressing his belief that gays should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals.

“The world needs positivity right now, the world needs to care about climate change, care about refugees and migration, borders, walls, family separation,” Afineevsky said, urging attention to the main issues covered by the film.

One main character in the documentary is Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse whom Francis initially discredited during a 2018 visit to Chile.

Cruz, who is gay, said that during his first meetings with the pope in May 2018 after they patched things up, Francis assured him that God made Cruz gay. Cruz tells his own story throughout the film, chronicling both Francis’ evolution on understanding sexual abuse as well as to document the pope’s views on gay people.

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 well-connected Argentines in Rome.

“Listen, when you are in the Vatican, the only way to achieve something is to break the rule and then to say, ‘I’m sorry,’” Afineevsky said in an interview.

The director worked official and unofficial channels starting in 2018, and ended up so close to Francis by the end of the project that he showed him the movie on his iPad in August. The two recently exchanged Yom Kippur greetings; Afineevsky is a Russian-born, Israeli-raised Jew now based in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Afineevsky’s 48th birthday, the director said Francis presented him with a birthday cake at the Vatican.

But “Francesco” is more than a biopic about the pope. Wim Wenders did that in the 2018 film “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.”

“Francesco,” is more a visual survey of the world’s crises and tragedies, with audio from the pope providing possible solutions.

Afineevsky, who was nominated for an Oscar for his 2015 documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” traveled the world to document the film: at Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, where Myanmar’s Rohingya sought refuge; the U.S.-Mexico border; and Francis’ native Argentina.

“The film tells the story of the pope by reversing the cameras,” said Vatican communications director Paolo Ruffini, one of Afineevsky’s closest Vatican-based collaborators.

Ruffini said that when Afineevsky approached him about a documentary, he tried to tamp down his hopes for interviewing the pope. “I told him it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said.

But Ruffini suggested Afineevsky find the people who had been impacted by the pope, even after just a brief meeting: refugees, prisoners and gays to whom he has ministered.

“I told him that many of those encounters had certainly been filmed by the Vatican cameras, and that there he would find a veritable gold mine of stories that told a story,” Ruffini said. “He would be able to tell story of the pope through the eyes of all and not just his own.”

Francis’ outreach to gays dates to his first foreign trip in 2013, when he uttered the now-famous words “Who am I to judge,” when asked during an airborne news conference returning from Rio de Janiero about a purportedly gay priest.

Since then, he has ministered to gays and transsexual prostitutes, and welcomed people in gay partnerships into his inner circle. One of them was his former student, Yayo Grassi, who along with his partner visited Francis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C., during a 2015 visit to the U.S.

The Vatican publicized that encounter, making video and photos of it available, after Francis was ambushed during that same visit by his then-ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who invited the anti-gay marriage activist Kim Davis to meet with the pope.

News of the Davis audience made headlines and was viewed by conservatives as a papal stamp of approval for Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The Vatican vigorously sought to downplay it, with a spokesman saying the meeting by no means indicated Francis’ support for her or her position on gay marriage.

However, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was fervently opposed to gay marriage when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. Then, he launched what gay activists remember as a “war of God” against Argentina’s move to approve same-sex marriage.

The pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, said at the time of his 2013 election that Bergoglio was politically wise enough to know the church couldn’t win a fight against gay marriage. Instead, Rubin said, Bergoglio urged his fellow bishops to lobby for gay civil unions.

It wasn’t until Bergoglio’s proposal was shot down by the conservative bishops’ conference that he publicly declared his opposition, and the church lost the issue altogether.

In the documentary, Francis essentially confirms Rubin’s account of what transpired. Of his belief in the need for legislation to protect gays living in civil relationships, he said: “I stood up for that.”

Afineevsky declined to say when Francis made the comment, but he began production in 2018 and Italy locked down for the coronavirus in March, suggesting the interview would have occurred in 2018 or more likely 2019.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization of LGBT Catholics, praised Francis’ comments as a “historic” shift for a church that has a record of persecuting gays.

“At the same time, we urge Pope Francis to apply the same kind of reasoning to recognize and bless these same unions of love and support within the Catholic Church, too,” he said in a statement.

More conservative commentators sought to play down Francis’ words and said that while secular civil unions are one thing, a church blessing of them is quite another.

In a tweet, conservative U.S. author and commentator Ryan Anderson noted that he and some colleagues had gone on record a decade ago saying they would support federal civil unions for any two adults who commit to sharing domestic responsibilities. Such an arrangement, Anderson said, would leave churches the option of refusing to recognize these unions as marriage.

Source: apnews.com

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“Rawlings Was A Great African Leader”, Stonebwoy Pays Tribute To The Former Statesman

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On Thursday’s edition of special interview on Max TV, multiple award-winning Ghanaian reggae & dancehall artiste, Stonebwoy, called on all Ghanaians, including political leaders to acknowledge and recognize the role former president Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings and other African leaders have played as far as Ghana’s democracy is concerned.

According to musician, the former Flight Lieutenant, whose tragic demise occured on Thursday, 12th November 2020 at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, where he was receiving treatment after a short illness, has been a pivotal, absolutely central, figure in the country’s political and economic fortunes, and his lingering political influence on Ghana may be second only to Kwame Nkrumah.

When asked if he has composed a tribute song to honor the late state’s man, Stonebwoy who is known for inspirational songs, focusing on good governance, poverty eradication, and spreading good cheer through positive messages with even more delightful melodies revealed that, though he has no tribute song in his catalogue, he’s recorded songs that revealed his admiration and respect for late president and other notable African leaders.

In 2013, the Ghanaian Dancehall finest act, Stonebwoy delivered a conscious reggae/dancehall on a Beatz Dakay’s Last Breathe Riddim titled “Real Warrior”. The tune talks about acknowledging great African leaders for setting policies the coushined the their electorates. The lyrics of song according to Stonebwoy was inspired by the Heroes and Heroines across the globe.

“Big up… Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Azumah, Yaa Asantewa, Madeba Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Muama Gadafe, Okomfo Anokye, Robert Mugabe, Marcos Garvey, Julius Nyerere, Rawlings JJ, Seko Toure, yes Bob Marley, Shaka Zulu, Hailey Selase blessing thing”, Stonebwoy is quoted saying.

“Live like a warrior and die like a soldier, this is the battle of de fittest. Live like a warrior and die like a soldier, de race is not for de swift”

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South Africa Passes Same-Sex Marriage Law

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has passed into law the Civil Union Amendment Bill which will prevent officiating officers from refusing to conduct same-sex marriages, and will change the lives of LGBT South Africans who constantly have to fight battles with a society that has not aligned itself with South Africa’s progressive legislation, according to reports by Okay Africa.

According to the reports, the Legislation stated that, Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi must ensure there is a marriage officer available to solemnise a civil union at every office. It added that, the bill was a positive step toward eleiminating existing differentiation between marriages and civil union partnerships, reducing discrimination against same -sex relationships and achieving equality for same-sex couples in South Africa.

Originally, officiating officers had the right to refuse marrying same-sex couples on the grounds of conscience, religion, and belief. This clause reportedly prevented South African LGBT couples from getting married as many Home Affairs marriage officers would then exempt themselves from marrying LGBT couples.

Responses on Twitter have been mixed with LGBT members welcoming the news while some South Africans have commented that the amendment infringes on their basic human rights. Understandably, there is still considerable contention when it comes to same-sex marriages being called “civil unions” instead of “marriages” in the heteronormative sense.

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Bank Manager Shot Multiple Times For Continuously Having An Affair With A Female Staff [WATCH VIDEO]

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A Ugandan man has killed his wife’s side dish, who also happens to be his wife’s supervisor at work, after he had committed to shoot him in the head for persistently sleeping with his wife. The jilted husband wrote a letter committing to shoot his wife’s boss sharing his displeasure about their unlawful love affair.

Sozzi, the woman’s husband, narrated how he had severally warned Mr.Kituka Ivan, his wife’s supervisor, and how he went a notch higher by slapping him infront of his customers and subordinates leaving the latter embarrassed. The late Ivan Kituka was a top employee at the Housing Finance Bank in Kampala where Sozzi’s wife worked as the Human Resource department.

In his commitment letter, Sozzi narrated how Kituka has been taking advantage of women he supervises at his work station. He painfully states how the departed man has taken his wife to all dancing halls and lodges in town. He accused Kituka of faking business trips to the US and the UK alongside his wife claiming they were out on ‘bank duty’.

Sozzi alleged that he had in his posession, videos of the two lovebirds having fun and forgeries the two used to obtain VISAs to the outside countries. He ended his letter by informing Kituka what was on his way.

‘ I have a budget on you to have you learn to respect other people and people’s families,’ read part of the letter.

Sozzi stated that he had hired mercenaries to put two bullets on Kituka’s head and lower belly. He assured the man that the work will be done in 72 hours time and will then be circulated to print and social media.

Kituka has since been shot at the bank premises and the news was broken on social media. Sozzi’s fate is yet to be known after he admitted to have sanctioned the murder.

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Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, And Rwanda To Host Caroline Group’s Africa Education Tour

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International Boarding School Services (IBSS) a subsidiary of the Caroline Group under the leadership of the 28-year old Educationist; Caroline Esinam Adzogble, has grown to become a foremost international education advising organization with excellent support strategies for students, international schools as well as other educational stakeholders; hence drawing partnerships from world class institutions across the globe.

The group is looking forward to consulting with families seeking boarding school opportunities abroad hence have announced the dates for the upcoming Africa Education tour slated for 23rd November to 2nd December 2020.

The tour will allow African families seeking boarding school opportunities for their wards of ages 10 to age 14 to be able to do so While the ripple effect of covid19 is still surging; Caroline assures that the tour is structured as a hybrid tour where boarding school representatives that are unable to travel down to Africa will be able to connect with families virtually.

Whiles it will be easier to just host it as a virtual event and have families connect when and as they can, Caroline stated that “I believe in perfectionism and coordination; most of all experience; so my team and I will be there to engage with all of these families and connect them to all these wonderful schools”

Caroline who founded the major education conglomerate and has worked with education partners across 70+ countries highlights.

“I work with so many wonderful partners with each bringing something very unique to the table and for African students; definitely they are all very special to me but right now Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts is the #1 on our leaderboard right now. ”

“The school is super unique and I call it the boarding school amongst boarding schools; home away from home. They provide everything that a family could ever ask for in a boarding school.”

“Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, with Wayland; every family that I have connected to Wayland so far always came back and said to me “why didn’t I find them sooner”; I mean; that sums up everything you should know about them”

“Northfield Mount Hermon is so rich in History that – the academic pathway they provide for students and families is beyond my words. ”

”Annie Wright Schools in Washington is my newest partner and bring many exciting opportunities to the table”

“TASIS in England, Trinity College in Canada and so many great partners I work with are all super super super special and I cannot wait to connect all these great families to all of these great schools.”

Families interested in participating in the tour can connect the front desk of the Caroline Group by email info@carolinegroup.com or by phone +233-244-271-978

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