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Pope says priest celibacy not ‘optional’

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Pope Francis said Monday celibacy for priests was a “gift to the Church” and not “optional”, nixing the prospect of married men being ordained.

“Personally I think that celibacy is a gift to the Church,” the pope told journalists aboard his plane returning to the Vatican from Panama.

“Secondly, I don’t think optional celibacy should be allowed. No,” he said.

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The pope nevertheless conceded “some possibilities for far flung places”, such as Pacific islands or the Amazon where “there is a pastoral necessity”.

“This is something being discussed by theologians, it’s not my decision,” he said.

The Argentine pontiff has repeatedly said there is no doctrinal prohibition on married men becoming priests, and therefore the discipline could be changed.

Saint Peter, the church’s first pope, had a mother-in-law, according to the bible.

Celibacy was imposed in the 11th century, possibly partly to prevent descendants of priests inheriting church property.

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Some within the church believe it is time to join many eastern rite Catholic Churches in permitting married men to take the cloth. Married Anglican priests keen to convert to Catholicism have already been welcomed over.

The Vatican’s number two, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, suggested in an interview last year that the church could “gradually look in depth” at the issue, while ruling out any “drastic change”.

Some 60,000 priests have given up their vocation over the past few decades, often to marry.

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Pope Paul VI’s refusal to open the door to the use of the pill in the Swinging Sixties saw many priests abandon their calling.

Pope Francis suggested in 2017 that the church “reflect” on the question of ordaining “viri probati”, married men of proven virtue, particularly in far-flung places where priests are thin on the ground.

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The idea is likely to be on the table at a synod this year dedicated to the Amazon, an immense territory where clergy are scarce.

Sensing a possible shift in attitude, some 300 married, former priests in Italy sent a letter to Francis last year offering to take up the cloth once more should he need them.

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CNN

GOP strategist walloped for urging Dem lawmakers to leave Trump alone and worry about being re-elected instead

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On CNN Saturday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Doug Heye clashed after the latter suggested Democrats should value their re-election over holding President Donald Trump accountable for wrongdoing.

"We have to remember, this is not a trial as we think of trials in courtroom," said Heye. "This is a political process. It is designed to be a political process, and that's why this whole process is played out the way that it has so far. I would say to Maria, the Republicans aren't spending money to shore up Republicans per se. They're spending money to go after vulnerable Democrats who are going home and then coming back and telling Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership, I'm getting killed back home."

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2020 Election

William Barr made it clear this week that he’d sign off on a sham investigation into the Dems’ 2020 nominee

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

A perfect storm propelled New York's sleaziest real estate developer to an Electoral College victory in 2016 despite winning three million fewer votes than his opponent, but Nate Silver made a compelling argument that the letter James Comey sent to Congress just 11 days before Election Day announcing that the FBI was re-opening its probe into Hillary Clinton's emails was decisive.

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Bill Barr is serving notice to DOJ officials that he’ll ruin them if they investigate Trump: MSNBC host

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An MSNBC discussion about Bill Barr running interference within the Justice Department for Donald Trump ended with "AM Joy" host Joy Reid suggesting that the attorney general's very public "media blitz" over the so-called "Horowitz Report" is a warning shot to anyone in the DOJ who thinks about investigating the president.

As Reid explained it, "He did a whole TV blitz to basically say that his own agency, the FBI, was spying on the Trump campaign, something that the inspector general said did not happen."

Reid took that to its logical conclusion.

"Now he’s saying, ‘Well, I’ve got a different report that’s going to find the motivations’ that he’s basically saying are bad motivations by people in the FBI.  And if you’re that FBI agent and then you hear that Donald Trump may be again looking for foreign help and maybe again getting help from Russia or forcing help from Ukraine, what do you do?" she asked. "Would you then not be concerned that, should you go ahead and investigate foreign interference in our election, that William Barr may come after you?"

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