Gay-friendly pope? Let's hope.

Gay-friendly pope? Let’s hope.

The announcement that Pope Francis has extended an olive branch to gay priests and the LGBT community in general should be seen as a major development in the Roman Catholic Church—although how much change it will actually lead to remains very much in doubt. The comments by Francis occurred during an 82-minute press conference aboard Vatican Air, following the pope’s visit to Brazil for World Youth Day. His Holiness addressed ...
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Putin, Sochi, and "You Can Play"

Putin, Sochi, and “You Can Play”

Now that the National Hockey League has finally confirmed it is sending its players to the Sochi Winter Olympics—and just weeks after Russian president Vladimir Putin unveiled some of the most homophobic laws on the planet —the obvious question for many is: so what will happen to the “You Can Play” project, and the NHL players who have endorsed it, some of whom will presumably crack the line-ups of Team Canada ...
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Twitter, purgatory, and "authentic spiritual fruit"

Twitter, purgatory, and “authentic spiritual fruit”

There’s something more than a little odd about the latest news out of the Vatican, that good Catholics can win “indulgences” by following Pope Francis’s Tweets during World Youth Day, a week-long event starting on July 22. Of course, Jorge Bergoglio isn’t the first pontiff to take advantage of social media. Pope Benedict got the Twitter ball rolling when he opened the first @Pontifex account not long before deciding he’d ...
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The Trial of Pope Benedict launched

The Trial of Pope Benedict launched

VANCOUVER—About seventy-five friends, colleagues, Gawthrop family members, fellow writers, and other readers showed up at Pat’s Pub on June 25 to celebrate the launch of The Trial of Pope Benedict. The place was packed. There were lots of happy reunions, there was a fabulous introduction from Carellin Brooks, and there was a reading. There was also a long line-up of people with copies to sign: legendary queer rights activist Janine ...
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Francis Mania and the Papal Publishing Fest

Francis Mania and the Papal Publishing Fest

Some people think my book on Joseph Ratzinger, being launched this week, was quick off the draw—arriving in stores only four months after its subject surrendered the papacy. But The Trial of Pope Benedict has nothing on the “instant book” phenomenon surrounding his successor. Within weeks of Jorge Bergoglio becoming Pope Francis, at least half a dozen books about and a few by the former archbishop of Buenos Aires had ...
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Good Riddance: Exodus International

Good Riddance: Exodus International

The forces of anti-gay religious bigotry and knuckle-dragging stupidity in the United States have suffered yet another blow this week, thanks to the news that Exodus International is closing its doors after 37 years of homophobic bullying through biblically-inspired behaviour modification techniques. Exodus, you’ll recall, is the evangelical Christian organization that began the so-called “ex-gay” movement, which claimed that homosexuality could be “cured” (based on the assumption, of course, that it ought to be) ...
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The Happy Atheist

The Happy Atheist

The Happy Atheist One of the perils of being a writer who is not easily categorized is that you tend to be easily misunderstood—even when you’ve taken pains to be clear enough for a twelve-year-old to understand. Take, for example, my decision to be out of the closet—not only as gay, but as an atheist—in promoting my new book, The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault ...
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Pope Francis: The First Ninety Days

Pope Francis: The First Ninety Days

So, just how “progressive” is Pope Francis, really? So progressive, apparently, that he has been compared to the ill-fated John Paul I: he of the long forgotten, 33-day papacy in 1978 and the mysterious, did-they-or-didn’t-they-poison-him demise. “If I was Pope Francis,” wrote one blogger on June 3, “I’d be hiring a food tester right about now.” That was in reference to the pope’s comment that atheists who do good ...
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Remi de Roo

Remi De Roo: Vatican II’s last great champion

The last time most Canadians heard from Remi De Roo, it was in a carefully worded letter of apology vetted by his lawyer. In June 2000, the year after his retirement as bishop of Victoria, De Roo was publicly lambasted for having approved the purchase of Arabian show horses and then a parcel of land in Washington State—investments that were bleeding the diocese dry. In his public mea culpa, he said ...
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CBC Television interview on Pope Francis

CBC Television interview on Pope Francis

Jorge Bergoglio had just ascended to the Throne of Saint Peter a few hours earlier, but I was one of seven "experts" the CBC asked on March 13 to, er, pontificate on his likely impact for the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. It was slightly surreal, to be talking about a Church I had left 26 years earlier as if I was still really a part of it. Here's the ...
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