Homosexuality: no change to teaching
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York recently appeared on NBC's Today show to discuss Pope Francis' comments on "gay priests".
"What the Pope is saying is, don't forget there's another element to God's teaching, namely that we treat everybody with dignity and respect, that we don't judge their heart, that we love and respect them," said Cardinal Dolan.
"[In] no way could this be interpreted as a change in Church doctrine or the Church's faith and morals," he continued. "It is a change in tone."
"Homosexual people deserve love respect and dignity, while homosexual acts are immoral," Cardinal Dolan added.
"The Church's teaching, which is based on the Bible and God's revelation, is that sexual love is reserved only between a man and woman in the lifelong, life-giving relationship of marriage, and any relations outside of that, hetero or homo, would be less than God's intention."
Catholic World News
Encyclical bridges pontificates
The director of L'Osservatore Ro mano, Giovanni Maria Vian, said Pope Francis' encyclical Lumen Fidei could be considered a "bridge" between two successors of St Peter.
In an editorial published on 6 July, Vian said, "The image of a bridge perhaps best represents the encyclical Lumen Fidei as an extraordinary text uniting the pontificates of Benedict XVI and his successor Francis."
He said that it "is not a coincidence" that the release of the encyclical, "in and of itself already quite out of the ordinary, was preceded a few hours earlier by the presentation of the document and later the historic announcement of the canonisation of John XXIII and John Paul II."
The encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI was a visible expression of the fraternity between the Bishop of Rome and his predecessor, he added.
"This is the immediate and profound context one should consider when reading and understanding this encyclical," Vian said, quoting the words of Pope Francis during the Angelus on 30 June:
"Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense," the Holy Father said at that event. "When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow."
"The continuity in diversity of the succession in the Roman Chair is the background for the document stamped with the date of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul," Vian emphasised.
For those who wish to read it, he said, the encyclical is a chance to rediscover in the faith "the lamp that guides our steps in the night."
Catholic News Agency
Russian President Putin praises Church's role
Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the growth of co-operation between the Orthodox Churches and the Russian state, stating that the Church was giving Russians a moral compass when so many were looking for help.
The Russian Federation recently passed legislation making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal, a move that, while condemned by many European leaders, was strongly supported by the Orthodox Church.
"Today when people are once again searching for moral support, millions of our compatriots see it in religion," Putin said at a meeting to commemorate the 1025th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity by the Kievan Rus in 988.
He added that the Church was ultimately responsible for the development and rise of "culture and education" in Russia over the last 1000 years.
"The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of Christian civilisation and helped it turn into one of the largest world powers," Putin said.