August 31st, 2010
05:55 PM ET

Time for Catholic Church to ordain women as priests?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Pope Benedict - Ordain women now."

That's the message that will be plastered on London buses when the pontiff heads to England's capital in a couple of weeks.

A group called Catholic Women's Ordination is spending more than $15,000 for 15 buses to carry posters with this message for a month.

The group says they don't want to be disruptive, but "the church has got to change or it will not survive." And they say they're hopeful since the church is in "disarray" right now.

But one top British Catholic is pushing back - Father Stephen Wang says women are not barred from the priesthood because of sexism, rather because they can't fulfill a basic function which is "standing in the place of Jesus."

Wang says that Jesus chose 12 men, and no women, to be his apostles. He adds that men and women are equal in Christianity, but that gender still matters. Wang compares the role of a priest to an actor, saying no one would be surprised if he wanted a male actor to play King Arthur. He then admits this analogy is "weak."

No kidding.

In addition to the bus campaign - the women's group plans to hold a vigil the day before the pope's visit; and they plan to demonstrate outside the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 1994, then Pope John Paul II declared the Church has no authority to ordain women; and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now pope, agreed with him.

Here’s my question to you: Is it time for the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict
May 12th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why taken Catholic Church so long to acknowledge role in child sex abuse?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The pope is finally admitting that the Catholic Church itself is to blame for the worldwide child sex abuse scandal. It took long enough.
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Pope Benedict XVI calls the crisis "truly terrifying" and suggests "the greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church."

Benedict also stresses that quote "forgiveness is not a substitute for justice."

It's refreshing to finally hear the pope talk about this growing crisis head-on. For weeks, as accusations piled up, we've heard other Catholic officials blame anyone but the pedophile priests and officials who covered it all up.

They blamed the media, they blamed homosexuality, and they described the whole affair as "petty gossip."

But thanks in part perhaps to the relentless reporting of the scope of the scandal worldwide by the media, the pope is now talking; and he will likely be controlling the message from here on out.

Hopefully this is a sign that the pope, who's been criticized for not taking enough actions against allegations of abuse, understands how deeply this crisis has affected the Catholic Church. But so far it's just all talk.

Victims groups want more than talk… and rightfully so.

Here’s my question to you: Why has it taken the Catholic Church so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priests?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Catholic Church • Children • Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion
March 25th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

In light of the pope's role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again. Time now for another chapter in the tawdry tale titled: The Pope and the Pedophile Priests.
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The New York Times reports that top Vatican officials - including the future Pope Benedict XVI - refused to defrock a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

Deaf boys? Doesn't get much sicker than that. This is despite the fact that several American bishops repeatedly warned the Vatican about this creep.

Church files show that although officials disagreed about whether the priest should be dismissed, their top priority was protecting the church from scandal. Of course.

This Wisconsin priest - the Rev. Lawrence Murphy - was never tried or disciplined by the church. He also got a pass from police and the criminal justice system. We all know the story by now... Instead he was "quietly moved" to a different diocese where he spent the last 24 years of his life freely working… ready? With children! He died in 1998... still a priest.

The Vatican calls this case "tragic" and says part of the reason the priest was never defrocked was his poor health and lack of more recent accusations.

Meanwhile this comes on the heels of a sex abuse scandal spreading across Europe - From the pope's native Germany to Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands.

There are other accusations against Pope Benedict that he didn't alert authorities or discipline priests who were sexually abusing children, when he was both an Archbishop in Germany and the Vatican's top doctrinal enforcer.

Critics say it's time for the pope to resign. But that's only happened a handful of times throughout history - and not for 600 years - so don't hold your breath.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the pope’s role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion • Scandals
March 9th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Pope silent on Uganda’s 'kill the gays' bill?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/art.popebenedict.0309.cf.gi.jpg caption =" What’s the message if the Pope remains silent on Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill?"]

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a deafening silence coming from the Vatican.

When Pope Benedict the 16th recently met with Catholic leaders from Uganda, he made not a single mention of the nation's medieval-sounding anti-gay bill.

Something nicknamed "kill the gays" legislation is making its way through Uganda's parliament. It calls for life imprisonment for homosexuals - and in some cases, even execution.

People around the world have protested the bill, with Western nations and human rights groups expressing outrage. Pres. Obama has called it "odious" and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she's called Uganda's president to express her "strongest concerns."

According to the UN, the law would prohibit sex between people of the same sex and wouldn't recognize homosexual relations as an acceptable lifestyle. It even carries prison sentences of up to three years for anyone who doesn't report a gay person, not to mention life in prison, or potentially the death penalty, for homosexuals.

But the Pope said not a word about any of this, instead calling on Uganda's bishops to encourage catholic’s to "appreciate fully the sacrament of marriage."

It's possible the Pope didn't touch the issue in his wide-ranging speech because the bishops asked him not to, or because of concerns that his weighing in could backfire and lead to the passage of the bill.

Baloney. The Pope is supposed to be the moral authority for Catholics around the world. His counsel is sought and his office respected by people and governments both inside and outside the church. Compassion for human rights and the sanctity of life are supposed to be corner stones of Catholicism.

Even the archbishop of Uganda's capital says the bill "does not pass a test of a Christian caring approach to this issue." There's an understatement.

Here’s my question to you: What’s the message if the Pope remains silent on Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Filed under: Pope Benedict