VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Monday that priests and other Catholic Church ministers cannot bless same-sex unions and that such blessings are "not licit" if carried out. The Vatican's doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued the ruling in response to questions and moves in some parishes to impart such blessings as a sign of welcome to gay Catholics. The response from the congregation was "Negative". (Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Toby Chopra)
Al Franken targets 'political roadkill' Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham in comedy tour recalling Senate years: report
Comedian and former Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is taking aim at his erstwhile colleagues from both sides of the aisle — but especially Texas Republican Ted Cruz — as part of a new 15-city standup tour.
"I like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I really hate Ted Cruz," Franken told a nearly sold-out crowd in Northampton, Mass., on Saturday, according to a report from the Washington Post.
"Franken's finest Cruz bit, his chef's kiss, involves fellow Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a luxury ocean liner and an unprintable bodily function. It rarely fails to kill," the Post reported.
Franken launched his "The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour" more than three years after resigning from the Senate in the wake of allegations that he groped and inappropriately kissed several women. Franken has adamantly denied the allegations, and fans attending his show said they believe he was "railroaded."
"For more than eight years in the Senate, Al Franken largely stifled the funny, as though he coexisted with a powerful alter ego in desperate need of submission: Senator Franken and 'Saturday Night Live' Al," the Post reports. "He had to watch everything he said. He dared to be dull. No longer. Now, everything is political roadkill for his new comedy tour. ... He can swear like a sailor — or, more precisely, a comic — and call Cruz any invective he wishes."
In addition to Cruz, Franken mocks and "occasionally drubs" Republicans Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham and former Sen. Tom Coburn — as well as Democrats Bernie Sanders, Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer. His act even includes a bit about Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that features Franken impersonating McConnell by "slowing his speech to the velocity of an impaired turtle."
"Did he slam former president Donald Trump? Indeed, but not nearly as much as Cruz or the minority leader," the Post reports."Mitch McConnell has systematically ruined the Senate," Franken said.
Fox News co-host Kacie McDonnel suggested that President Joe Biden was to blame for a scuffle that occurred at a New York City restaurant.
According to reports, a tourist from Texas began punching a hostess on Thursday after she asked for proof of vaccination.
McDonnel reacted to the incident on Tuesday by faulting Biden.
"Are we in college again with fake IDs and fake vax cards and you create this almost demand for it," she opined. "So you have the hostess or the manager at the restaurant policing the patrons. They're at work. They're trying to make a living. They're trying to make up for this last year of loss. And in turn, you have patrons who want to have a little sense of normalcy."
"Where is Joe Biden's unity?" McDonnel asked. "What has humanity come to? I mean, it's hard to watch this."
Watch the video below from Fox News.
Germany reacted with shock and outrage on Tuesday after a 20-year-old petrol station worker was shot dead by a customer angry about being asked to wear a mask while buying beer.
The killing on Saturday evening in the western town of Idar-Oberstein is believed to be the first in Germany linked to the government's coronavirus rules.
With the country five days away from a general election, politicians from across the spectrum condemned the killing and voiced concern about the radicalization of the anti-mask movement.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz from the centre-left Social Democrats, the frontrunner to succeed outgoing Chancellor Angel Merkel, said he was "shocked" by the murder of someone who only wanted "to protect himself and others".
"As a society, we must resolutely stand up to hatred," he tweeted.
The row started when the cashier, a student, told the customer to put on a face mask, as required in all German shops. After a brief argument, the man left.
The suspect returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he brought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another discussion ensued.
"The perpetrator then pulled out a revolver and shot him straight in the head," prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann told reporters on Monday.
- 'Not the way' -
The unnamed suspect, a 49-year-old German man, walked to a police station the following day to turn himself in. He was arrested and has confessed to the murder.
He told police he felt "cornered" by the coronavirus measures, which he perceived as an "ever-growing infringement on his rights" and he had seen "no other way out", Fuhrmann said.
Idar-Oberstein mayor Frank Fruehauf called it "an unfathomable, terrible act", and residents have laid flowers and candles outside the petrol station.
The suspect was not known to police and did not have a permit for the weapons and ammunition found in a search of his home, the prosecutor added.
Armin Laschet, the chancellor candidate from Merkel's conservative CDU-CSU bloc, said it was a "horrible" crime.
"Violence is not the way," he said in a direct appeal "to those who have other opinions, including the Querdenker".
Germany's "Querdenker" (Lateral Thinkers) movement has emerged as the loudest voice against the government's coronavirus curbs.
Its protests have at times drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators, attracting a wide mix of people including vaccine sceptics, neo-Nazis and members of the far-right AfD party.
Annalena Baerbock, the Green party's candidate for the chancellery, said she was "shaken" by the murder and very concerned about the "radicalisation of the Querdenker scene".
- 'Growing aggressiveness' -
The Tagesspiegel newspaper said far-right chat groups on Telegram were applauding the murder, with one user writing "Here we go!!!" while others posted thumbs-up emojis.
Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said it was "repulsive" that the killing was being used online "to spread even more hatred and contempt" for human life.
"The rule of law must use all means to oppose the radicalization of violence-ready Covid deniers," she said.
Germany's domestic intelligence agency announced in April that it would start monitoring leading Querdenker figures over concerns they were trying to undermine the state and had ties to right-wing extremism.
Stephan Kramer, head of the domestic intelligence agency in the eastern state of Thuringia, told Germany's RND media group he was saddened but not surprised by the killing.
"The escalation of right-wing conspiracy fantasies among aggressive and violence-prone citizens has been obvious for months," he said.
"The growing aggressiveness is palpable in everyday life."
© 2021 AFP
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