‘There is not anything illicit about it’: Community reflects on pope’s support for same-sex civil unions

first_imgPope Francis was featured in the documentary “Francesco” at the Rome Film Festival on Oct. 21. Interviews included in this documentary addressed issues of poverty, migration, racial equality and environmental sustainability. In addition to addressing these issues, the pope vocalized support for same-sex civil unions, becoming the first pontiff to do so.“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family,” Francis said in the film. “They are children of God. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”Although Francis endorsed these policies while serving as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he never came out publicly in favor of same-sex civil unions as pope until now.John T. McGreevy, American historian and dean emeritus of the College of Arts & Letters, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Notre Dame and currently teaches a course titled “History of Global Catholicism.” McGreevy shared what he believed this meant for Catholicism.“The words as reported by Pope Francis were quite beautiful,” McGreevy said. “What I loved about the statement was him insisting that gays and lesbians are a part of our families and need to be welcomed as such,” McGreevy said.While some critics of Francis believe his stance on same-sex civil unions threatens traditional marriage in the Catholic Church, McGreevy said he does not. To him, “it is sensible; there is not anything illicit about it.”“Pope Francis is not saying anything about the theology of marriage,” McGreevy said, adding that Francis is not challenging any part of Catholic Tradition.McGreevy also said Francis’ comments do not diminish the theology of marriage for heterosexual couples.“I don’t think heterosexual couples’ marriages are devalued by giving legal recognition to same-sex partners,” McGreevy said.McGreevy said Francis’ support for the LGBTQ+ community was a “positive step in the evolving relationship between the Church, gays and lesbians that are Catholic, and gays and lesbians that are not.”McGreevy said he is hopeful about what this may mean for Catholicism.“This may help push toward more social recognition and legal recognition of all relationships,” McGreevy said. “From my point of view, that would be a good thing.”Junior Matthew Bisner also reacted positively to Francis’ recent vocal support of same-sex civil unions. Bisner serves as the judicial council’s president in the Student Union at Notre Dame, as well as the vice president of PrismND.PrismND is Notre Dame’s first and only official LGBTQ+ undergraduate student organization. The organization is dedicated to embracing the campus LGBTQ+ community and raising awareness of their needs.Bisner shared his experience with the Catholic Church and his reaction to the pope’s words.“I am familiar with the Catholic church. I grew up in a Catholic family; I went to a Catholic school,” he said. “I know that this kind of language is so important to LGBTQ+ Catholics, but also to the youth who are desperately trying to find their place in a church that they have not historically felt comfortable in.”Bisner said he hopes Pope Francis’ remarks will bring nations who have not been as accepting of the LGBTQ+ closer to the values found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: compassion, respect and sensitivity. Critics of the pope must remember the greatest commandment, the commandment of love, Bisner added.“This calls for holistic love, love free of exclusion based on that which God has made them,” he said.Bisner offered words of encouragement to those experiencing and hearing criticism on Francis’ remarks.“There absolutely is a place for you within the Church and if you believe in communion with God and with Jesus, you are not wrong or corrupt just because you are LGBTQ+,” Bisner said.Bisner added that Francis is showing love to the LBGTQ+ community.“For Catholics, the highest commandment is love,” Bisner said. “Pope Francis is showing us what that means for the Catholic Church’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.”Tags: Catholic church, global catholicism, LBGTQ+, Pope Francis, PrismND, Same-sex civil unionslast_img read more

Heart Food.

first_img No need to go light on those holiday pecans. A UGA study shows they’re better for you than you think. Peanuts and pecans may pack high calories inside their shells, but researchers have uncovered added value that far outweighs the high calorie count.For years, nutritionists have known that peanuts and pecans are high in Vitamin E and folic acid. University of Georgia food scientists have now found that these nuts contain high levels of plant sterols, which lower blood cholesterol levels.”Plant sterols are considered to be significant functional food components,” said Ron Eitenmiller, a food scientist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “They aren’t nutrients or vitamins, but they are really potent, effective food constituents.”Eitenmiller said plant sterols compete with the absorption of cholesterol. When eaten in the right quantities, they can reduce serum cholesterol in humans.”Plant sterols are now considered by the medical community and the Food and Drug Administration as another approach to lowering serum cholesterol,” he said. “This has a direct effect on reducing coronary heart disease. And peanuts and pecans are concentrated sources of plant sterols.”High Levels of Plant SterolsPeanuts and pecans contain much higher levels of plant sterols than many other foods. “Peanuts have 150 milligrams per 100 grams. And pecans contain 100 milligrams per 100 grams,” Eitenmiller said. “The amounts are significant when compared to most other foods, which contain much lower sterol levels than nuts.”Eitenmiller and UGA food scientist Phillip Koehler recently completed a study on Vitamin E and folates in peanuts and pecans.Their research was in support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Composition Laboratory, a section of USDA that provides nutritional information on the U.S. food supply. “Our research is providing the USDA with really good, quantitative information,” he said.Vitamin E, Folic AcidVirtually all nuts are high in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant. Pecans contain 25 milligrams per 100 grams. Dry roasted peanuts contain 19 milligrams per 100 grams.Folic acid is needed in forming red blood cells. Lack of folic acid can lead to many deficiency symptoms. Eitenmiller said nuts, as a group, are good sources of folic acid.”All peanut products are good sources of folate,” he said. “Folate is an unstable vitamin that is in relatively short supply in our daily diets.” Besides in nuts, folic acid is in orange juice, green leafy vegetables, strawberries, beans and enriched cereal products. A new study shows peanuts are not only in popular foods, but are good for you. They help lower cholesterol, which helps fight heart disease. Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA-ARScenter_img Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA-ARS “A few years ago, folic acid was linked to neural tube defects in newborns,” Eitenmiller said. “It’s been proven that if mothers don’t get enough folic acid before their pregnancies, it can lead to a higher incidence of this birth defect. This led the FDA to begin enriching flour products with folic acid in 1998.”Eitenmiller and Koehler studied a number of Georgia peanut and pecan varieties from the 1998 and ’99 crops. They compared the levels of Vitamin E and folic acid in pecans, raw peanuts, roasted peanuts and peanuts processed for peanut butter.”We found very little nutritional difference between raw peanuts and processed peanuts,” Eitenmiller said. “And there are no differences in varieties or in geographical growing locations.”Consumption DecliningUntil recently, despite the excellent nutritional qualities of peanuts, consumption has been declining, Eitenmiller said. “One of the basic reasons peanut consumption went down was people’s perception that peanuts are bad for you because of the fat content,” he said.”But the fat itself is very highly polyunsaturated,” he said. “It’s a good mix of fatty acids that are considered to be optimal for good human health. So even the fat content is another advantage of eating nuts.”He said people should work nuts into daily diets in moderation. “We are never going to get away from the fact that pecans are 70 percent fat and peanuts are 45 or more percent fat,” he said. “But from a nutritional standpoint, their fat is much better for you than the fat you get eating a fast-food hamburger.”last_img read more

Reception of Burlington TV stations, VPR and WEZF affected on Sunday by tower work

first_imgJoe Tymecki, chair of the Mount Mansfield Collocation Association technical committee, announced that antenna and tower maintenance work is planned for Sunday, August 7, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting. The work will require power to be reduced or turned off at times and will affect TV reception for some Vermont viewers, as well as reception of the two radio stations that transmit from the site.Television stations affected will be Vermont Public Television, WCAX, WPTZ, WVNY and WFFF, as well as WEZF-FM and Vermont Public Radio’s 107.9.last_img

HUD awards two grants in Vermont to combat housing discrimination

first_imgEducation and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI)’ HUD awarded $4.6 million to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI) ‘ HUD awarded $5.9 million to groups that serve rural and immigrant populations in areas where there currently is no existing fair housing organization, or are otherwise underserved.FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually.  People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). VT Grantees                                                                          Grant Amount          Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity              $117,409Vermont Legal Aid, Inc                                                         $324,987VT TOTAL                                                                           $449,987 HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and  transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov(link is external) and http://espanol.hud.gov(link is external).  You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD(link is external), or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s News Listserv. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded two grants in Vermont totaling $449,987 to Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and Vermont Legal Aid, Inc to assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.  Nationally, HUD awarded $28 million. The grants announced today are funded through HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and will be used to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, and work to promote equal housing opportunities. (See below for breakdown of VT funding) ‘The Obama Administration is committed to ending housing discrimination, and these grants enable local fair housing and community organizations all over the nation to help HUD enforce the Fair Housing Act, and make people more aware of their fair housing rights,’ stated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, John Trasviña added: ‘Last year, HUD filed more Fair Housing Act charges than any year since 2002,’ ‘The Fair Housing Initiatives Program grantees play a vital role to enhance our civil rights law enforcement efforts.’            The categories of grants awarded today are:Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI)’ HUD awarded $17.5 million to help groups investigate alleged housing discrimination, and enforce the Fair Housing Act and state and local laws that are substantially equivalent to the Act.last_img read more

U.K. shale gas E&P shares fall after fracking moratorium

first_imgU.K. shale gas E&P shares fall after fracking moratorium FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Shares in British shale gas explorers fell on Monday morning after the government announced at the weekend that it is imposing a moratorium on fracking.On Saturday, the government said that the gas extraction technique risked causing too much disruption to local communities through earth tremors.Fracking, which involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure, is fiercely opposed by environmentalists who say it is at odds with Britain’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.The government had previously signalled its support for the shale gas industry as it seeks ways to cut Britain’s reliance on imports of natural gas that is used to heat about 80% of Britain’s homes.IGas (IGAS.L) shares tumbled by as much as 20%, while shares in Egdon Resources (EGRE.L) fell by 14%.Leading shale gas explorer Cuadrilla is 47.4% owned by Australia’s AJ Lucas (AJL.AX) with a fund managed by Riverstone holding 45.2%. Shares in AJ Lucas were down 24%.“Cuadrilla will continue to work with the OGA (regulator) to provide the government with the confidence to lift the moratorium so the significant high-quality natural gas resources in the Bowland Basin can be commercialised,” said AJ Lucas Chairman Phil Arnall.IGas said it has a “significant recoverable gas resource” at in the Gainsborough Trough in eastern England.It estimates there is 630 billion cubic feet of gas in place per square mile. If applied to its entire acreage in the East Midlands, this would equate to 270 trillion cubic feet of high quality natural gas.More: UK shale gas explorers’ shares fall on fracking moratoriumlast_img read more

Take part in the Owego Kitchen’s June 100k challenge

first_img“The community here has been so important to us and so good to us so we thought how good would it be if we could get the community involved,” said Ike Lovelass. All you have to do is run or walk 100 kilometers, around 62 miles, throughout the month of June. While it’s promoting good health, it’s also helping the community keep a clear mind during this time. The Owego Kitchen is encouraging you to get involved in its June 100k challenge. The idea came about when Ike and Julie Lovelass’ son, Jimmy, participated in a similar challenge last month on the Nike Run Club app. Everyone who completes the challenge will get a special edition Owego Kitchen t-shirt. “We had a lady come in and her husband is in his late 70’s. She goes, ‘Oh he’s having so much fun with this!’ And he says, ‘Oh look, I moved up three spots with that walk!'” said Ike Lovelass. “Every morning we’d be running five or six miles, we’d get home and immediately check it and kind of get in each other’s face to see who was running farther,” said Jimmy. OWEGO (WBNG) — Lace up and hit the pavement.center_img It’s become a friendly competition around the Southern Tier for all ages. So the Owego Kitchen owners thought they would challenge their own neighbors. “That’s what we’re hoping to do. Bring some positivity, it’s been three months now worrying about the coronavirus, we continue to worry about it, and it’s a good way to take your mind off it. When you can hardly breathe and you’re focusing on breathing, it’s hard to think about all the negativity and things like that,” said Ike Lovelass. The hundreds of runners and walkers taking part say it’s helping. “It’s really just good to focus on something that’s going well right now and everybody kind of rallied together to do something good,” said participant Buffie Arhbal. “I think I’m at 25 miles right now. I don’t know how much longer I could keep this pace up. Hopefully I can. My ankles hurt, my knees hurt, but I’m going to try and push through this, and hopefully, I can get there pretty quickly,” said Jimmy Lovelass. To participate, download the Nike Run Club app and ‘friend’ the Owego Kitchen.last_img read more

Enjoy open-plan living in Brookwater home

first_imgThe home at 37 Crest Ridge Parade, Brookwater.Ken and Kathy Hartley have lived at their Brookwater home for just over two years and are looking to downsize.Mrs Hartley said it was time to move onto the next chapter of their lives.A keen gardener, Mrs Hartley said she loved having a flat block of land at 37 Crest Ridge Parade. “A lot of the other homes around here are on quite steep blocks,” she said.Mrs Hartley said the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home had an “open feel” to it. The kitchen at 37 Crest Ridge Parade, Brookwater.“You can get some nice sunsets here, and there’s open-plan living to be enjoyed,” she said.Chatting from her family room, Mrs Hartley said it was one of her favourite spots in the home.“You can get some nice sun in here,” she said. More from newsDigital inspection tool proves a property boon for REA website3 Apr 2020The Camira homestead where kids roamed free28 May 2019She said there were a few outdoor areas which provided plenty of shade during the summer time.All Properties Group selling agent Leanne Ollerenshaw said when the owners built the beautiful Innova home they had no intention of ever leaving. The dining area at 37 Crest Ridge Parade, Brookwater.“No expense was spared,” Ms Ollerenshaw said.“The layout and design was creatively thought through and the best of the best internal and external finishes were used.” The property, on a 640sq m block, has a huge pivot front door, floating bamboo flooring throughout the main living areas and a parking bay for those with a golf buggy. There are ceiling fans throughout the home and plenty of storage too.center_img The outdoor area at 37 Crest Ridge Parade, Brookwater.Mrs Hartley said an older couple would best suit the home, or a couple with a teenager.“This really is a good neighbourhood,” Mrs Hartley said.“There’s plenty of shopping nearby.”Parks, walking trails, and a world-class golf club are also close by.last_img read more

Silk design tailored to suit

first_img“Buyers can then work with us to customise their home,” Mr Zahos said. “They can be involved in the process and tailor the design to suit their specific needs.“For example, one buyer wanted a larger study so he could work from home.“Other buyers wanted the lighting changed or the rooms reconfigured. We can do that at the planning level.” More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus19 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market19 hours ago Silk on RacecourseBuyers have the chance to work directly with the architects at Silk on Racecourse, a complex of just 13 owner-occupier residences.The project was redesigned following feedback from prospective buyers, with the number of apartments reduced to 13, allowing for larger residences.It is being developed by Brisbane architect Con Zahos, of Loucas Zahos Architects, and George Callianiotis of Geocal Constructions.Mr Zahos said the redesign was more geared towards owner occupiers.center_img Mr Zahos said he expected construction to start in about eight weeks and be completed within 12 months.He said the majority of buyers were local downsizers wanting a lower maintenance home close to the Racecourse Rd cafe culture.“Each apartment is northfacing on to Beatrice Terrace, a classic Ascot street with jacaranda trees and character homes,” Mr Zahos said.“Even on our site, we have moulded the building around the existing jacaranda tree.”Place Projects director Syd Walker, who is marketing the project, said they were still taking expressions of interest, with 60 per cent of the residences sold.“The development will be just four storeys – a ground floor retail level, office space on the first floor and then two levels of apartments,” Mr Walker said.The retail level has been sold, he said.One-bedroom apartments with one car space start from $440,000. Two-bedroom apartments start from $780,000, three- bedroom apartments from $1.02 million and the last remaining four-bedroom apartment is on the market for $1.94 million.Apartments with two or more bedrooms have an additional car parking space. Each apartment also has extra storage in the basement. Indoor and outdoor spaces are linked by expansive full-height glass.In the kitchen, there is a stone benchtop, Miele appliances and a range of colour choices to customise the joinery.The bedrooms feature quality carpets and the bathrooms feature contemporary tapware and tiling.last_img read more

Dutch pension funds’ coverage ratios set to drop further, regulator warns

first_imgAccording to the regulator, funding on a daily basis fell from 108% to 105% on average during the January-February period.However, figures from Aon Hewitt suggested the actual funding dropped further to 101% on average over March, and that the policy funding had not changed over this period.During the first two months, the 30-year interest rate fell 46 basis points to 1.64%, and the impact of this decrease largely offset the positive effect of the 5% increase in the MSCI World Index.The Dutch pensions sector has put increasing pressure on the government to ease some of the nFTK’s new rules, in light of persistently low interest rates, on which coverage ratios are based.The Pensions Federation recently indicated that it agreed with the €40bn metal scheme PME’s opinion that the government and DNB should start discussions with the pensions sector on how to deal with the extremely low interest rate environment.Marcel Andringa, trustee and CIO at PME, said pension funds needed more leeway on either their options for raising their risk profile for investments, or on the discount rate for liabilities.Before then, the largest union FVN warned the government that low rates were becoming a “millstone” around pension funds’ neck.However, last week, the regulator responded by saying it did not see the need for accommodating struggling pension funds for the short term, “as the current rules are working well”.It said it also wanted to prevent pension funds from “gambling for resurrection”, according to Olaf Sleijpen, supervisory director at DNB.In the opinion of the supervisor, problems caused by low interest rates in the long term need to be addressed through a fundamental update of the pensions system.Sleijpen added that low interest rates hurt less in a system with more defined contribution elements – and without a pensions promise. Dutch pension funds’ ‘policy’ coverage ratio, based on the 12-month average, dropped by 1 percentage point to 109% over the first two months of 2015 due to the effects of falling interest rates, according to regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). Because current interest rates are 4 percentage points lower, the regulator warned that the policy coverage ratio was set to fall even further in the coming months.With the introduction of the new financial assessment framework (nFTK), as of 1 January, pension funds must report their coverage using the average funding for the 12 months previous instead of the three-month average.This so-called policy funding is to serve as the new criterion for indexation and rights cuts.last_img read more

PKA stands by alternatives strategy despite PE investment in Genan

first_imgHe said he resented that Genan was often held out as an example of how wrong things can go when the pensions sector takes on alternative investments.“Genan is in many ways a unique case,” Damgaard Jensen said.“The business and the jobs were saved because both PKA and the banks saw the potential in the company.”PKA said back in February that it secured a rescue deal with bank creditors for Genan and put Peter Thorsen in place as chairman.PKA admitted it lost money on the investment in Genan and said the facts were now being investigated by financial investigators.Genan collapsed in the summer of 2014, and PKA then took over 97% of the company’s shares.In April 2015, the operating companies were brought together under a new holding company to provide a clear and simple structure, PKA said.On 1 September, Poul Steen Rasmussen took over as Genan’s chief executive.Genan is now developing positively and has re-established many good relationships in the industry, Damgaard Jensen said. “A lot of positive things have happened with Genan in a relatively short space of time, but it is clear there is a long way to go before Genan produces the returns we expect from the business idea,” he added.He said PKA had a sharp focus on alternative investments and that this covered everything from private equity, property, wind farms and infrastructure – mainly via investment funds.“We have reaped a very good return from alternative investments, with a return of 7.2% in the last five years,” he said.“Because of this, we now have around 23% of total assets placed in this type of investment.”He said this percentage would rise to 25% within a few years. Danish pensions provider PKA has said it remains very focused on alternative investments despite the losses on its private equity investment in tyre-recycling company Genan, and plans to boost alternatives to one-quarter of overall assets within a few years.The DKK215bn (€28.8bn) provider, which manages three labour-market pension funds in the health and social care sectors, said Genan and its collapse last year should not be taken as a general example of alternative investments going wrong. Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive at PKA, said: “Alternative investments make us more resilient when and if a new economic crisis comes.”When equities markets fall, for example, many alternative investments will be affected far less, he said, because they are tied up in long-term agreements lasting several years for offshore wind turbines or in fixed leases for properties.last_img read more