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France’s First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy recently announced to the world that Pope Benedict XVI has forcibly driven her away from the Catholic Church. The Italian-born former supermodel and third wife of Nicolas Sarkozy accused the Pope of “damaging” countries in Africa with his stance on condom use, apparently a reference to the Pope’s remark during his March trip that the AIDS pandemic “can’t be resolved with the distribution of condoms; on the contrary, there is the risk of increasing the problem.” Bruni-Sarkozy told the women’s magazine Femme Actuelle, “I was born Catholic, I was baptized, but in my life I feel profoundly secular. I find that the controversy coming from the Pope’s message — albeit distorted by the media — is very damaging” (Telegraph, May 18).
Archbishop Jonathan Blake, a former Anglican priest who is now a bishop of the Open Episcopal Church, is catering to worshipers who cannot get to his “Eucharists.” He consecrates hosts, then posts them in the mail to allow members of the public to say their own “Masses.” Prices are significantly lower when purchased in bulk: Blake charges approximately $4 for one consecrated host, and $20 for 500. According to Blake, when the hosts arrive, there’s no need to construct a tabernacle: “People can carry a Host with them on a neck chain or in a specially adapted wallet for emergencies or just to have that sense that Jesus is with them throughout the day.” Of course, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, the wafers Blake is sending through the post are just that: wafers (Damian Thompson’s “Holy Smoke,” Telegraph, May 25).
The Editor-in-Chief of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Gian Maria Vian, told the Italian newspaper Il Riformista that U.S. President Barack Obama “is not a pro-abortion president.” In the interview, Vian explained, “Let me be clear, L’Osservatore stands where the American bishops are: we consider abortion a disaster. We must promote, always and at every level a ‘culture of life.'” Commenting on Obama’s speech at the Notre Dame commencement, he added, “What I want to stress is that yesterday, on this precise and very delicate issue [of abortion], the President said that the approval of the new law on abortion is not a priority of his administration. The fact that he said that is very reassuring to me. It also underlines my own clear belief: Obama is not a pro-abortion president” (Catholic News Agency, May 20).
An Omaha couple is allowing their eight-year-old son to live openly as a girl. “She’s been a girl since the beginning, everything about her, the way she dances and skips around and the things she’s attracted to,” the boy’s mother explained to an Omaha television news reporter. “One night, she said, ‘Every night when I go to bed, I pray my inside will match my outside. But it never happens,'” the mother added. The boy’s case came to light when his parents met with Fr. Joseph Taphorn, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Omaha, to talk about transitioning the boy into third grade at St. Wenceslaus school — as a girl. The family wanted the child to use a new female name, be able to wear a girl’s uniform, and be included in girls’ activities. Fr. Taphorn explained that the student would be welcome to continue at the school as a boy — but not as a girl. “The child is welcome to come, but it would not be acceptable to change the child’s gender and present as a girl,” he said. The child will attend a public school in the fall, wearing a ponytail and using his chosen girl name (WPTZ.com, May 18).
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