Sunday, December 31, 2023

In Memoriam (Ring Out, Wild Bells)

In Memoriam (Ring Out, Wild Bells)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more,

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson -



As this year draws to its end,

We give thanks for the gifts it brought

And how they became inlaid within

Where neither time nor tide can touch them...

Days when beloved faces shone brighter

With light from beyond themselves;

And from the granite of some secret sorrow

A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,

For all we loved and lost

And for the quiet way it brought us

Nearer to our invisible destination.


‘Not morally acceptable to be indifferent’ to Gaza suffering: President Michael D Higgins in New Year’s Eve statement

President Michael D Higgins has said it’s not "morally acceptable to be indifferent” to the suffering of the people of Gaza in a New Year’s Eve statement on peace in the Middle East.

In his statement, President Higgins called for a lasting ceasefire and talks to commence on a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel.

President Higgins also asked for reflection and how Ireland can help, with the international community, bring “lasting, meaningful peace” to the Middle East, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues into 2024.

"In order for 2024 to see the beginning of the process of recovery for all those who have been so devastated by the events of recent months, it is incumbent on all nations to redouble their efforts for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages and to set about the tasks of achieving a lasting peace, one which can allow the Palestinian people to realise their rights alongside those of a secure Israel. It is not morally acceptable to be indifferent,” President Higgins said.

"As 2023 comes to an end and the world reflects on the horrific upsurge in violence in the Middle East over the final months of the year, it is important that we reflect on what steps the international community can take in order to help bring a lasting and meaningful peace to the region,” President Higgins said.

“More broadly, as we face into 2024, the greatest challenge facing the global community is an urgent choice between restoring the ethic of cooperation in diplomacy, or allowing the further expansion of an unaccountable military-industrial complex. This must not be allowed to dominate.

“The achievement of all of our main goals, as a global community - including tackling climate change, global hunger, inequality, forced migration, and stopping the destruction of our biodiversity - requires, more than ever before, cooperation between nations,” President Higgins said, adding that when “wars and conflicts become seemingly unending, humanity is the loser.”

President Higgins added that war is “not the natural condition of humanity, cooperation is. We cannot be indifferent as we watch daily the loss of life that is appearing on our screens.”

The conflict sparked protests across Ireland and the globe, which remain ongoing as well as the boycotting of companies and goods perceived to relate to the conflict.

But for President Higgins, 2024 brings an opportunity for “a two-state solution” between Israel and Palestinians, something that to many seems increasingly unlikely as the body count rises daily.

He said the only way for the two-state solution to work, is for the proposal to go “beyond” the “theoretical” and for “detailed consideration” to resume on how such a plan could be achieved.

“It is my hope that it will not be long until the international community comes together to commence the serious, crucial negotiations that will be needed in the time ahead,” he said.

“Some essential elements which may require cooperation include: the requirement for a Palestinian state to be contiguous; the capacity for the State to produce its own products and release them to the market without hindrance; air, sea and land sovereignty; the position of East Jerusalem; and the sovereignty that would enable the Palestinian State to join the international organisations,” President Higgins said.

“In this process, it may be helpful to consider the valuable role played by a permanent secretariat during the peace process on our own island,” he added. “Rather than relying on best-intentioned but sadly short-lived initiatives, a secretariat would allow a basis for continuity and the continual development of texts and ideas.

“Such an approach would have value in the context of issues such as the management of boundaries, as well as some of the other issues which must be addressed if a long term peace is to be established in the Middle East.

“The horrific violence and loss of life which we have seen since the attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel on October 7, followed by the devastation caused by the Israeli response in Gaza, as well as continuing violence by settlers in the West Bank, highlight the urgency of this task.”

While he felt the Irish Government had provided a “lead in raising these issues through the European and international institutions,” “far too many lives, and particularly children's lives, have already been lost.”

CWI Reviews - 2023

Well, we now face into the last hours of 2023, and it is perhaps fitting that we review the investigations carried out by CWI and give you all an update :

1. Operation Ainmhian - this began in July 2022, and we would have hoped it would have come to an end by now, but it does continue, and not unlike Christmas, it has become the gift that keeps on giving. 

This is mainly thanks to the actions, behaviours and writings of the female concerned who has in effect become known as the 'botox lady', and she is still having to show up in court to answer for her behaviour...

Wait until we get her face and name up here!!!

2. Operation Caimiléireacht - this intensive investigation began in October 2022, and has been slowly going at less-than-snails pace.

But that is going to change in January when we start to publish the names of certain 'authority' figures across certain organisations - retired or otherwise.

There is only so much time-wasting we can take, and if any wish to sue us, please free to do will NEVER stop the truth being published - here or elsewhere.

3. Operation Easpag - this time-consuming investigation began in August 2022, and came very,very close to seeing the name of the relevant cleric being published.

After some recent issues concerning same said cleric, it may yet happen that their name will end up being published yet!!

4. Operation Inis - this is one of the more recent investigations which is currently on hold, for legal reasons, and once the clearance is given in relation to this particular issue, then publishing will resume.

5. Operation Laonia -  a year and more on from this exposure of a corrupt and intemperate 'bishop', who presides over what was once an honourbale diocese, there is far more to come the way of  Fintan 'Fear Na Bruíne' Monahan - and it won't be courtesy of CW this time.

But we will report on it Fintan!!

6. Operation Latharna - this is another recent investigation that is also going to be somewhat pertinent in the coming days and weeks as we slowly expose Mr Patrick Buckley for the liar that he actually is.

And unlike Mr Buckley, and those who 'assist' him with the running of his 'blog', we shall continue to produce evidence to back up everything we post.

It is going to be a very challenging year for you Mr Buckley, and indeed your 'Southern Sidekick'.

May we ask you, Mr Buckley, to consider being honest (big ask, we know) and answer the questions we have asked of you?

We will say no more as we are only too well aware of the legal actions coming down the line at you over the next while...

Three arrested in Germany over alleged plot to attack Cologne Cathedral

GERMAN POLICE ARRESTED three people today over an alleged attack plot targeting the cathedral in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

The “alleged means of attack” was a car, said police in the western city, adding that security measures have been stepped up around the site.

The three suspects are believed to be linked to a Tajik man who was arrested on Christmas Eve, said Cologne police chief Johannes Hermann.

The man was detained by German police on the same day as Austria announced the arrests of another three suspects in Vienna.

Bild daily had reported then that the four are all Tajik nationals who allegedly wanted to carry out attacks for Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), an IS offshoot in Afghanistan.

Investigations following the Tajik man’s arrest last week had found that there is a plot to deploy a car as a means of attack, but “in which way is not known to us,” said Frank Wissbaum of Cologne police.

Officers had deployed sniffer dogs to search the underground parking of the cathedral for explosives but they have not yet turned up anything suspicious.

Nevertheless, protective measures have been significantly stepped up, with around 1,000 police officers deployed since this afternoon to “protect the cathedral and the population in Cologne city centre”.

Reul voiced confidence that New Year’s festivities can go ahead.

“I think that people can celebrate calmly in Cologne today,” he said.

Nigerian priest spends Christmas burying parishioners

Nigerian priest spends Christmas burying parishioners

Fr. Andrew Danjuma has spent Christmas and the days that follow burying parishioners. His parish is at the epicenter of a series of attacks in the north-central Nigerian state of Plateau that left about 160 people dead and hundreds injured and displaced. 

Most of the victims attacks, which began December 23, are Christians, including, Fr. Danjuma said, 30 of his own parishioners and nine Protestant pastors with many of their family members. 

Churches, homes, and food storages were torched.

“We’re all in danger because we’ve never really been under any illusion that we’re protected because we have had a long history of this kind of violent attacks,” Fr. Danjuma told Aleteia by phone from Bokkos, Nigeria, on Wednesday. “Tragically, our security personnel, armed forces seem unable to protect life and property.”

Danjuma said his parish has been conducting mass burials since Christmas Day. Among the dead were the mother and siblings of the parish chairman, who were, in the priest’s words, “burnt to ashes.”

He said there were still reports of people dying in hospitals, because they were severely wounded. 

The attacks affected about 20 villages in the area. Danjuma said that many of them came under attack on Christmas Eve. “There was some kind of mass slaughter that took place on the night of the 24th right through Christmas,” he said. “So we spent the whole of Christmas Day presiding and conducting mass funerals.


Authorities were reported to still be looking for the attackers, but news reports pointed out that the area has long been plagued by violence between local farmers and migrating herdsmen, particularly of the Fulani tribe. 

Bokkos has long been one of the epicenters of the conflict, Fr. Danjuma wrote in a report on the latest attacks.

Bokkos, he wrote, is on a major transit route for the herders to the Southern part of the country. It also has good weather and lush vegetation “that suits the Fulani cattle.”

Some observers point to the pressures of climate change as pushing the Fulani herders into the area, causing friction, while others suggest that religious differences are a major factor. The area is largely Christian, while Fulani are mostly Muslim.

“For those who may have held the view that this latest carnages inflicted on the people by the killer Fulani herdsmen (marauders) had no religious undertone, the deliberate targeting of Christians, destruction of their churches, and during one of Christianity’s important celebration (Christmas) confirms the notion that it was, indeed, religious,” he wrote.

He also observed that in some of the communities where Christians live side by side with some of the Fulani Muslims, Fulani residents were spared the violence.

The area has been suffering from conflict for about 20 years, and there are seldom any arrests or legal prosecutions of perpetrators, the priest said. “It therefore breeds this culture of impunity and lawlessness. … No arrests, no prosecution to serve as a deterrent. So the cycle continues.”

Fr. Lombardi: Benedict XVI faced death with great lucidity

 Retired pope never tried to hide the truth, former spokesman says - Detroit  Catholic

On the morning of December 31, 2022, at the age of 95, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away at his residence in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, in the heart of the Vatican Gardens. 

A Mass in his memory was celebrated this Sunday, December 31, 2023, at 8am in St. Peter’s Basilica, presided over by his former secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who had returned from Germany for the occasion.

Fr. Federico Lombardi was the director of the Vatican press office for the last seven years of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, and continued in the post for three years under Pope Francis. 

In 2016, he became the president of the Ratzinger Foundation, which keeps alive the intellectual legacy of the German pontiff and theologian. 

On the occasion of a series of meetings organized at the Vatican around the theme “The life, thought, and legacy of Benedict XVI, a year after his death,” Father Lombardi talks to I.MEDIA about his memories of the pope emeritus and his approach to death.

What is your last personal memory of Pope Benedict?

Fr. Federico Lombardi: I last met him on the afternoon of December 1, 2022, with the Ratzinger Prize winners. I was surprised that he agreed to this visit, as he was very tired, but he wanted to respect this tradition. We spent half an hour in conversation with the French Jesuit Michel Fédou and the American jurist Joseph Weiler, whom Benedict XVI had once known well. 

He had difficulty speaking, but showed his interest and curiosity by asking precise questions with the help of his secretary Mgr Gänswein, who acted as interpreter. It was a very affectionate dialogue, which led to the last known photo of the Pope Emeritus, 30 days before his death. It had been known for several years that his frailty could lead to his passing, but his end of life came relatively unexpectedly and swiftly. 

Could we say that the way he died was, in a way, the final signature of his work, of his theology and his love for God?

Fr. Lombardi: I’m convinced of it! Benedict XVI always tackled with great courage and lucidity the question of death, of eschatology, which has been somewhat neglected by contemporary theologians. It’s a characteristic theme of his theological reflection, linked to a personal spirituality built around the idea of encountering God, of his desire to see the face of the Lord. 

It’s a thread that links his whole life, his whole spirituality. He lived this preparation for the encounter with God with lucidity, in faith, but also in awareness of the mystery. He has always said that his theological research and his reading of the Gospels led him to recognize that this dimension seemed increasingly mysterious. 

Does this dimension of the search for an Absolute relativize the image often conveyed of Joseph Ratzinger as a “conservative,” right-wing thinker, which has long given him bad press?

Fr. Lombardi: Of course, this radical search for God is not a question of right or left; it goes far beyond the traditional divide between conservatives and progressives! It’s about getting to the bottom of human existence, beyond superficial definitions.

Does Benedict XVI’s insistence on creative minorities seem prophetic today, in light of the institutional crisis facing the Church, particularly in his native Germany?

Fr. Lombardi: Indeed, he always had a clear-sighted view of his own country, due first and foremost to his experience as a priest, during which he saw the Church detach itself from its social, popular roots… He had no illusions about the possibility of Catholicism remaining a mass phenomenon, given secularization. He preferred to strengthen the roots and saw signs of vitality in groups proposing new approaches, such as Communion and Liberation in Italy. He had a close relationship with Fr. Luigi Giussani, the founder of this movement.

He also defended the faith of the people, popular devotions, especially at Marian shrines, standing up against the “intellectualism” of theologians who despise the faith lived by the working classes in a simpler, more traditional way. He spoke of the twilight of awareness of God’s presence on the horizon of our contemporary culture, seeing it as his role to speak of the God of Jesus Christ in an age that has removed him from social life. 

For him, the erasure of God’s presence in the contemporary world was the first challenge he had to face. He looked for signs of renewal, through new experiences of community life and witness. 

With the orientations of the Synodal Way, has the Church in Germany detached itself from its heritage?

Fr. Lombardi: These developments are in line with a trend that Benedict XVI was concerned about. His relationship with the Church in his home country, and also with the academic world, were often difficult. His conflict with Hans Küng in particular comes to mind, but this is not a unique case. Joseph Ratzinger reproached certain German theologians for their lack of ecclesial sense, with a way of thinking detached from the faith of the Church, a tendency to criticism marked by a form of self-sufficiency, detached from the institution.

For him, in order to face up to secularization the Church in Germany had to cultivate serious spiritual roots, rather than multiplying public positions on subjects outside its remit. 

I remember his last speech in Freiburg im Breisgau in 2011, which was received with great perplexity by the academic and institutional world. He questioned the cumbersome nature of church bureaucracy, which was sustained by advantageous tax conditions. He expressed very direct criticism of the situation of the Church in Germany, noting positive aspects but also too much institutional red tape.

Does this critical view of an overly “self-referential” theology form a bridge with the teaching of his successor, Pope Francis, despite all their differences?

Fr. Lombardi: I think there were indeed convergences, even if Benedict XVI remained at a distance. For example, on the question of synodality, Francis was able to draw on certain reflections of his predecessor, whose great spiritual freedom he appreciated. Benedict XVI’s resignation was a clear sign of his great inner freedom. But then, each pope acts according to situations that must be understood in their specificity and diversity. 

How is the Ratzinger Foundation bringing his legacy to life?

Fr. Lombardi: Certain projects have yet to be defined, but in particular we will continue to support theology, but also research into the place of the Church in contemporary culture, and the theme of “open reason” in dialogue with different disciplines. This is not limited to the study of Joseph Ratzinger’s thought alone, even though many doctoral students are interested in it. 

We want to encourage a generational renewal, beyond the first circle of his disciples and “hard-core Ratzingerians.” We want to offer a service of support, a point of contact, particularly for students from Africa.

Recently, we organized a colloquium at the Gregorian to study Benedict XVI’s speeches to the world of culture, and thus make them known to new generations of young adults.

2024 will be Year of Prayer, says Pope

Pope Francis begins an initiative with “Urgent” or better-put – present –  prayer petitions –

Pope Francis has announced that the year 2024, in preparation for the Jubilee 2025, will be dedicated to prayer.

The Pope reiterated this announcement when he met with a group of shrine rectors and workers.

“I wanted next year, in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee, to be entirely dedicated to prayer. Next year will be dedicated to prayer,” he told them.

The Pope said that “guides” will be published, “which will help rediscover the centrality of prayer.”

I recommend them to you: they will be a good read, which stimulate prayer with simplicity and in accordance with Christ’s heart.

The Holy Father called for a daily renewal of the “joy and commitment” of “being men and women of prayer.”

Prayer that comes from the heart, not like parrots. No. From the heart. May the words that are spoken come from the heart.

Benedict XVI remembered at Vatican on 1st anniversary

Mass presided over by Monsignor Georg Gänswein in suffrage for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

After praying the midday Angelus, Pope Francis remembered his predecessor, who died one year ago today.

A year ago, Pope Benedict XVI ended his earthly journey, after having lovingly and wisely served the Church. We feel so much affection, gratitude, and admiration for him. He blesses and accompanies us from Heaven. A round of applause for Benedict XVI!

Earlier in the day, Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s, at the altar of the Chair.

“Benedict XVI’s prayer, especially in the last years of his life, was characterized by an increasing intensity,” said the German pope’s former secretary in a homily lasting almost a quarter of an hour.

Archbishop Gänswein spoke of Benedict XVI’s affection for Christmas, which he had described as “the most beautiful day of the year” on December 25, 2022, a week before his death.

On the feast of the Holy Family, which commemorates “the first anniversary of his return to the Father’s House,” Archbishop Gänswein drew on Benedict XVI’s prayer life to help us understand “the mystery of the Church, which is the great family of God.”

Returning to the day’s Gospel from St. Luke, Archbishop Gänswein emphasized that “the contemplative heart of the Mother of God is a model for every believer who observes and confronts the words and actions of Jesus.”

This confrontation always leads to “progress in the knowledge of Jesus, an entry into friendship with Him, which thus becomes contagious,” and fosters the development of a “missionary Church.”

“In the years following his resignation from the Petrine ministry, Benedict XVI dedicated himself above all to this dimension of the life of faith,” prayer and meditation, emphasized the German archbishop.

Archbishop Gänswein, his voice tight with emotion, quoted Benedict XVI’s words at the last Angelus prayer as reigning pope on February 24, 2013:

The Lord is calling me “to scale the mountain,” to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church; indeed, if God asks me this it is precisely so that I may continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suited to my age and strength.

During his nearly 10 years as Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI was able to develop a “singular intimacy” with God, in a silent way, in the image of St. Joseph, from whom the Gospels retain no public words. The Pope Emeritus, who lived an intense daily prayer life, marked by “his love for Jesus and Mary,” experienced the Eucharist as a “source of light and a source of consolation,” confided his secretary.

“Cordiality, simplicity and humility” punctuated his relations with visitors and those around him, recalled Archbishop Gänswein, noting his dynamic of “double communion with God and with others.”

“Despite all the human frailties that are part of its historical physiognomy,” the Church is called to offer “a marvelous creation of love, made to bring Christ close to every man and woman,” he stressed.

It is in the Eucharist that the Church builds itself up as “God’s family,” also remembering the dead, he also recalled.

“Gathered around the memory of Benedict XVI, we are sincerely grateful for the gift of his life,” noted Archbishop Gänswein, underlining “the depth of his theology.”

The 67-year-old German archbishop concluded his homily with tears, paying tribute to this “simple and humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard.”

Archbishop Gänswein’s emotion

The archbishop’s homily, delivered in Italian, was interspersed with sobs that moved the audience. Among the several hundred faithful present were many of the German Pontiff’s former collaborators, such as photographer Francesco Sforza, his butler Sandro Mariotti – both still working for Pope Francis – and former papal travel organizer Alberto Gasbarri.

Also present were the Memores Domini, the consecrated laywomen who accompanied Benedict XVI in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, whose keys have now been handed over to contemplative nuns from Argentina.

Some 50 priests and bishops concelebrated the Mass, including Father Federico Lombardi, President of the Ratzinger Foundation, Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity, and German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

At the end of the celebration, the concelebrants and Benedict XVI’s inner circle moved to the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica for a time of prayer before the tomb of the German pope.

Church of God suspends pastor charged with possessing over 100 images of child sexual abuse

Cleveland senior pastor suspended from ministerial activities, Church of  God says | WTVC

The Tennessee Church of God has suspended Rick Sentell, a senior pastor at a church in Cleveland, following his indictment by a Bradley County Grand Jury on charges of possessing over 100 images of child sexual abuse on his laptop.

T. Wayne Dority, the Administrative Bishop of the Tennessee Church of God, confirmed the suspension to News Channel 9, which quoted Dority as saying that the church was informed about Sentell’s indictment last week.

Sentell, who served at the now-inactive Cornerstone Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee, has been suspended from all ministerial activities in line with Church of God policy.

Sentell was found with more than 100 images of child pornography. He was still listed as the senior pastor on Cornerstone Church of God’s website which was subsequently taken down after local media outlets reported his arrest, Channel 9 noted.

The indictment specified that between April 1 and Sept. 7, Sentell knowingly possessed material featuring a minor in sexual activity. Sentell “did knowingly possess material that included a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive,” says the indictment, according to WTVC.

The Cleveland Police Department’s Sgt. Evie West was quoted as saying that Sentell’s arrest followed a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

Sentell is scheduled for a court appearance on Jan. 8, 2024.

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Sentell made bond last week, set at $75,000, Local 3 News said, adding that he was arrested on Christmas Day and booked the following morning.

The grand jury charged him with sexual exploitation of a minor, involving over 100 images.

Dority noted that Cornerstone Church of God had previously been suspended as an active congregation and is no longer meeting. He expressed prayers for all involved in the matter.

The Church of God Jerusalem Acres rented their facility to Cornerstone COG for Sunday services for about three years, ending this past summer. 

According to the COG Jerusalem Acres, the COG Cornerstone doesn’t have a permanent address after selling their church building years ago. They described Sentell as a previously faithful and caring person.

“We knew Pastor Sentell to be a faithful man of God, a kind and caring person. His family as well. We’re devastated by recent events and heartbroken for everyone affected. We’re praying for all,” the church was quoted as saying.

UK-based Methodist Church issues guidance discouraging use of terms 'husband' and 'wife'

Methodist logos and visual identity

The Methodist Church in Great Britain released an "Inclusive Language Guide" this month advising Methodists to avoid using gendered terms such as "husband" and "wife" because such allegedly assumes what is not "the reality for many people."

"As Christians, we need to have the courage for conversations that can sometimes be difficult, to recognize that we sometimes exclude people, to listen with humility, to repent of any hurtful language and to take care with how we listen and what we say or write, in the Spirit of Christ," says the guidance, which will be updated every six months.

The guidance offered as a general principle the idea that there is "infinite variety in the way that God’s creation is expressed in human life," and offered "husband" and "wife" as examples of terminology that "may sound inoffensive but it makes assumptions about a family or personal life that is not the reality for many people."

The guidance offered the words "parent," "partner," "child," and "carer" as suitable alternatives.

The guide goes on to list extensive categories of people with whom Methodists are advised to use "sensitive and inclusive" language when addressing minorities that have been "marginalized and/or demonized by common culture."

The guide urges steering clear of "ageism" by avoiding terms like "old people," to embrace "anti-racist language" by encouraging use of "ethnicity" instead of "race," and to avoid language that negatively emphasizes a person's immigration status or English skills.

Antisemitic and Islamophobic rhetoric are also discouraged, and the guidance also encourages Methodists to tread carefully with their terminology when addressing "disabled and neurodiverse people" and those with mental illness.

The guide emphasized why its important that the U.K.-based Methodist Church "uses language that is inclusive of LGBT+ people," and advised using the language an individual prefers, including the pronouns by which they choose to identify.

The denomination passed resolutions in 2021 to approve the blessing of same-sex unions and recognize cohabitating couples.

"Using the language that individuals use for themselves shows that we care as a Church and that we affirm them as a child of God," the guidance says.

The guidance concludes by pointing readers to nonprofits that include the left-wing Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Stonewall, an LGBT charity in the U.K. whose guidance found its way into schools throughout the country.

“We are proud of our Inclusive Language Guide," a spokesperson for the denomination told The Christian Post. "It helps the Church hold conversations without making assumptions or inadvertently causing upset. Some find this especially useful when talking with those who may have had a different life experience to their own."

Regarding whether gendered language would still be used in Methodist marriage ceremonies, the spokesperson said: "Couples getting married in a Methodist Church will discuss with the minister how they wish to be referred to during their service. This ensures that the ceremony reflects who they are."

Father Calvin Robinson, who has been outspoken in fighting progressivism in the Church of England, blasted the U.K.-based Methodist Church for its guidance and suggested it's symptomatic of a neo-Marxist attempt to effectively destroy it.

"This is not Christianity," Robinson wrote on X. "It is Critical Theories: 'smash heteronormativity.' It is no longer enough to acknowledge disordered lifestyles. Everything normative and ordered must be demolished for fear of causing offense."

"Critical Theories is neo-Marxism. It is a communist ideology, antithetical to the Christian faith. It is not possible to be a communist *and* a Christian. One must make a choice. Embrace the ways of this trendy yet toxic ideology, or embrace God’s order," he continued, and urged the Methodist Church to "pick one."

Conservative Cardinal Burke says he is 'still alive' after rare pope meeting

Conservative Cardinal Burke says he is 'still alive' after rare pope meeting  | Reuters

Conservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of Pope Francis' fiercest critics, had his first private audience with the pontiff in seven years on Friday, a month after the pope said he was stripping him of some of his Vatican privileges.

Asked by Reuters outside his residence in Rome if the meeting had gone well, Burke responded: "Well, I'm still alive". 

The 75-year-old cardinal declined to further discuss the content of what was, according to Vatican records, his first private audience with Francis since Nov. 10, 2016.

Wearing a floor-length black overcoat and black hat and with rosary beads in his left hand, he walked away on a street near the Vatican. 

The Vatican listed the meeting on the pope's official schedule but, as is customary, did not say what was discussed.

Last month, Francis told Vatican officials at a regular meeting of department heads that he had decided to strip Burke of some of his Vatican privileges, including a rent-subsidised apartment, according to a person who was in the room at the time. 

The official quoted the pope as saying that Burke was "working against the Church and against the papacy" and that he had sown "disunity" in the Church.

When asked on Friday, Burke also declined to discuss the apartment. 

Burke is a hero to traditionalists in the Church, particularly in the U.S., where he often has been a guest on conservative Catholic media outlets that have made criticism of the pope a mainstay of their operations.

He has had an antagonistic relationship with Francis from the early years of his papacy. 

In 2014, a year after Francis was chosen, the pope removed Burke as head of a Vatican tribunal and moved him to a largely ceremonial post several days after Burke said the Church under Francis was "like a ship without a rudder".

This past October, Burke was among a handful of cardinals who openly challenged a global month-long synod and asked for a clarification on whether the Church could offer any kind of blessings for same-sex couples, which he opposes. 

In a response made public the same month, Francis hinted that the answer was a qualified 'yes'. 

The Vatican formalised and explained its policy on blessings for same-sex couples in a major document from its doctrinal office on Dec. 18.

Before the synod began last October, Burke was the star guest of a gathering of conservative in a theatre near the Vatican, where he called for a defence against the "the poison of confusion, error and division" in the Church. 

Burke was also one of four cardinals who publicly challenged the pope on doctrinal issues regarding the family in 2016.