In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil, Francis also said the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests was definitive, although he would like them to have more leadership roles in administration and pastoral activities.
He expressed pain over scandals at the Vatican bank during a remarkably forthright press conference, his first since being elected in March to replace Benedict XVI, who became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.
Francis said there were saints in the Holy See but also “those who are not very saintly”.
The airborne encounter with journalists ranged over issues as varied as the pope’s insistence on low-key security to his desire to slip out of the shackles of the Vatican to go for walks.
The pope arrived back in Rome after a triumphant week-long tour of Brazil which climaxed with a huge gathering on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach for a world Catholic youth festival, which organisers estimated to have attracted more than 3 million people.
Francis defended gays from discrimination but also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which says that while homosexual orientation is not sinful homosexual acts are.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” the pope said.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society,” he said, speaking in Italian.
“The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem,” he said.
Francis was answering a question about reports of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, after it suffered a string of scandals over paedophile priests and corruption in the administration of the Holy See.
“You see a lot written about the gay lobby. I still have not seen anyone in the Vatican with an identity card saying they are gay,” he joked.
‘No ‘ to women priests is definitive
Addressing the issue of women priests, the pope said, “The Church has spoken and says ‘no’ … that door is closed.” It was the first time he had spoken in public on the subject.
“We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more …,” he said in answer to a question.
“But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says ‘no’. Pope John Paul said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed,” he said, referring to a document by the late pontiff which said the ban was part of the infallible teaching of the Church.
The Church teaches that it cannot ordain women because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles. Advocates of a female priesthood say he was acting according to the customs of his times.
Many in the Church, even those who oppose a female priesthood, say women should be given leadership roles in the Church and the Vatican administration.
The long session on the plane was highly unusual in the history of the modern papacy for both its candour and breadth.
Unlike his predecessor Benedict, who knew in advance the few questions journalists would allowed to ask, 76-year-old Francis, who as an Argentine was the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, imposed no restrictions as he fielded 21 questions.
He said his week-long trip to Brazil left him very fatigued but “did me a lot of spiritual good”.
He spoke of reforms he had begun in the Vatican, which has been tarnished by a series of corruption scandals, including at the Vatican bank, which is the target of several Italian money laundering investigations.
Francis said the bank must become “honest and transparent” and that he will listen to the advice of a commission he has set up on whether it can be reformed or should be closed altogether.
Francis referred directly to Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican prelate arrested last month on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 20 million euros into Italy from Switzerland.
“There are many people (in the Vatican) who are saints but there are those who are not very saintly … and it pains me when this happens. There is this monsignor in jail. He didn’t go to jail because he resembled a saint … these are scandals that do damage,” he said.
Francis, who in Brazil chose to ride in an open-sided popemobile or a simple Fiat, said he was not concerned about the reduced security he has chosen compared to his predecessors.
“Security lies in trusting people. It is true that there is always a danger that a crazy person might try to do something, but there is also the Lord,” he said, adding that he believed it would be even more crazy to be kept away from people.
Vatican security was greatly boosted after Pope John Paul was shot and nearly killed by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca on May 13, 1981 while he was riding in an open jeep in St. Peter’s Square.
The driver of one of the trains was still unaccounted for and thought to be inside the wreckage, at Granges-près-Marnand in the canton of Vaud, police spokesman Jean-Christophe Sauterel said.
“These are regional trains. The speeds are a little lower and even if one deeply regrets the likely loss of life of one person as well as five serious injuries, the situation could have been much more catastrophic,” Sauterel said.
He said it was too early to try to ascertain the cause of the crash.
One of the injured was taken by helicopter to Lausanne. Others were treated on the spot by paramedics or taken to hospital by ambulance.
About 40 people were on the two trains, one of which was heading to Lausanne, the other was going to Payerne.
Seventy-nine people were killed in a train crash in Spain last week, one of the worst in decades.
A ruling against the former prime minister would be his first definitive conviction and signal the end of an era in which he has dominated Italian politics for two decades through his media power and political skill.
It could also plunge the government – an uneasy coalition
— Phuket Gazette Editors
Nigerian astronaut needs $3 million to get home
PHOTO: Lost In Space? Or lost in reality? Maybe someone will fall for it – Lost in Space’s Jupiter 2
The Nigerians have somewhat of a reputation for scams and scammers. Who hasn’t received an email offering loads of cash in return for your bank account and a moderate deposit? But this letter takes the famous Nigerian Scam to another level. Or perhaps it’s true (we don’t think so…)?
Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home
Dr. Bakare Tunde – Astronautics Project Manager
National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
Plot 555, Misau Street, PMB 437
Garki, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA
Dear Mr. Sir,
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE-STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.
In the 14 years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.
Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account or subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.
Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.
Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter.
Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-XXXX only.
Yours Sincerely, Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
Thousands of Japanese rescuers looking for survivors of Typhoon Hagibis
Thousands of rescue workers are searching for survivors from the fury of Typhoon Hagibis, two days after the storm slammed into Japan. As of the time of this post, the storm had killed at least 35 people.
(Video from Sky News below…)
Hagibis crashed into the country Saturday evening, but brought hours of torrential rains before it made landfall, causing landslides and filling rivers until they burst their banks.
More than 110,000 rescuers, including 31,000 troops, worked through the night searching for people trapped by the disaster. Local media report at least 35 people have been killed, with the Kyodo news agency reporting nearly 20 people were missing. Government figures from Sunday night were lower, though updates were expected throughout today.
While Hagibis, one of the most powerful storms to hit the Tokyo area in decades, packed wind gusts of up to 216 kilometres per hours (134 miles per hour), it was the heavy rains that caused most damage, with 21 rivers bursting their banks.
In central Nagano, a levee breach sent water from the Chikuma river gushing into residential neighbourhoods, flooding homes up to the second floor. Military and fire department helicopters winched survivors from roofs and balconies in several locations, but in Fukushima one operation went tragically awry when a woman died after falling while being rescued.
The destruction forced the Rugby World Cup being hosted by Japan to cancel several games, but the “Brave Blossoms”, as the national team is known, lifted spirits with a stunning 28-21 victory over Scotland on Sunday that put them into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time.
Rescue efforts have been continuing this morning, with local television showing soldiers rowing a rubber rescue dingy through floodwaters in Fukushima, while elsewhere workers removed dirt with a digger.
The death toll mounted throughout yesterday as bodies were recovered from flooded homes and cars, buildings caught in landslides, and swollen rivers.
The dead included a municipal worker whose car was overcome by floodwaters and at least five Chinese crew members aboard a boat that sank in Tokyo Bay on Saturday night.
As of this morning, some 57,500 households remained without power, with 120,000 experiencing water outages. The disaster left tens of thousands of people in shelters, with many unsure when they would be able to return home.
But most subway trains have resumed service, along with many bullet train lines, and flights had also restarted.
SOURCE: Agence France-Presse PHOTOS: AFP
Hong Kong property investors turn to SE Asia
From luxury Singapore apartments to Malaysian seafront condos, Hong Kong investors are shifting cash into Southeast Asian property, demoralised by increasingly violent protests as well as the China-US trade war.
Millions have taken to the streets during four months of pro-democracy demonstrations in the southern Chinese city, hammering tourism while also forcing businesses to lay off staff – and the property sector is feeling the pain. Property stocks in one of the world’s most expensive housing markets have plummeted since June, with developers being forced to offer discounts on new projects and cutting office rents.
Hong Kong businessman Peter Ng bought a condominium on the Malaysian island of Penang – which has a substantial ethnic Chinese population and is popular among Hong Kongers – after the protests erupted.
A 48 year old stock market and property investor told AFP he was worried about long-term damage to the Hong Kong economy if the unrest persists.
“The instability was a catalyst for me. Investors will always look at things like that, political stability.”
And Derek Lee, a Hong Kong businessman who owns a Penang apartment, said he knew others in the semi-autonomous city who were considering investing in south east Asian property because of the unrest.
“People are thinking about how to quicken their ideas, how to make a more stable life,” the 55 year old told AFP. Part of the allure of Malaysia is its relative affordability and prices much lower than Hong Kong.
The Malaysia site of Southeast Asian real estate platform Property Guru has seen a 35 percent increase in visits from Hong Kong, according to its CEO Hari Krishnan.
While Hong Kong’s protests are primarily pushing for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability, the summer of rage has been fuelled by years of simmering anger towards Beijing and the local government over falling living standards and the high costs of living.
Hong Kong’s property market is one of least affordable in the world with sky-high prices fuelled, in part, by wealthy mainlanders snapping up investments in a city which has failed for years to build enough flats to meet demand.
But now mainland Chinese, who traditionally viewed property in Hong Kong as a safe investment, are opting for rival financial hub Singapore as a result of the protests and the US-China trade war, according to observers.
There has been a jump this year in sales of luxury apartments in the city-state, which like Hong Kong is known for pricey property, driven partially by mainland Chinese buyers, according to the consultancy OrangeTee & Tie.
“The protests in Hong Kong have made some of the (mainland Chinese) based there… (more concerned) about investing in Hong Kong real estate, so they carry that investment to Singapore,” said Alan Cheong, executive director of the research and consultancy team at Savills.
As well as hitting China’s economy, trade tensions may have discouraged some Chinese from investing in the West and pushed them towards Singapore, with its mostly ethnic Chinese population.
“I think they don’t want to go to the West.”
Singapore is “the closest country culturally to China other than Hong Kong and I think they feel more comfortable with that”. There are further signs the stable, tightly ruled city is benefiting from the Hong Kong turmoil. Goldman Sachs last week estimated as much as $4 billion flowed out of Hong Kong to Singapore this summer.
And analysts warned there was little hope of Hong Kong’s property market recovering soon.
“Hong Kong property share prices have corrected by about 15 to 25% since July,” said Raymond Cheng, head of Hong Kong and China property at CGS-CIMB Securities International.
Residential sales were still holding up but only when developers offered discounts, office rents were expected to fall by as much as five percent and shop rents were also badly affected, he said.
But despite the unrest, businessman Ng, who will rent his Penang property and has no plans to move there permanently for now, was still hopeful about Hong Kong’s long-term prospects.
“The problem may not be solved in the short term but it is not so serious as pessimists think. Everything is still in the government’s control.”
SOURCE: Agence France-Presse
Top 10 things to do in Phuket when it rains (2019)
Top 10 scams in Thailand (2019)
Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket
Top 10 news sources in Thailand (2019)
So you’re moving to Vietnam?
Immigration overhaul – TM6 disappearing and TM30 App being launched
14% of condos around Bangkok are empty – good time to buy
Voice TV report paints grim picture of Thailand’s tourism problems
Patong Mayor hands out useless, cheap face-masks
Biometrics identify 8 fake passports in 3 days
Indonesia’s President Jokowi says he is “embarrassed” by fires
Thai poll favours new airport in Nakhon Pathom, west of Bangkok
Stricter controls and paperwork putting brakes on residential property market
Top 5 reasons why Aussies choose medical tourism in Thailand
British Instagrammer locked up in “filthy Bangkok cell’ over missing passport pages
Mở bán vé tàu Tết Canh Tý 2020
Fan đồng loạt động viên TaeYeon sau sự ra đi của người bạn Sulli thân thiết
Policeman falls asleep behind the wheel and crashes into roadside pole in Phang Nga
Sau scandal hút cần sa, Kha Chấn Đông bị bắt vì mua dâm?
Hương Lan khiến trường quay “Ký ức vui vẻ” xúc động
Thương mại hóa, Bà Tân Vlog ngày càng giảm sức hút
Chính thức: Sulli tự vẫn ở tuổi 25
Khách sạn Mã Pí Lèng Panorama bị đình chỉ hoạt động
Sốc: Truyền thông Hàn Quốc đồng loạt đưa tin Sulli tử vong
“Trời Giấu Trời Mang Đi”: Bộ đôi AMEE – ViruSs hứa hẹn bùng nổ
Nguồn nước Hà Nội ô nhiễm nặng do dầu nhớt đổ trộm đầu nguồn
Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare
Thais commemorate the passing of beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej
“Eat, Shop, Spend” drive reaches registration target
Measures outlined to reach 39.8 million tourists’ target by end of 2019
ไทยแชมป์วอลเลย์บอลอาเซียนกรังด์ปรีซ์สนาม 2 รางวัลรายบุคคล
ตรวจหวย1ตุลาคม2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ
ถ่ายทอดสดหวย 1 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล
สีจิ้นผิงกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ ครบรอบ 70 ปีก่อตั้งสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด
คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5
คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1
Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน
ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง”
อารัมภบท รักฉุดใจนายฉุกเฉิน My ambulance ตอนแรก 6 กันยานี้
วอลเลย์บอลหญิงชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 โฉมหน้า 4 ทีมตัดเชือกรอบรอง
บิ๊กไบก์หัวร้อน ตบหัวลุงพิการผัวะ ‘รถกูเป็นอะไร มีปัญญารับผิดชอบไหม’
“มิน พีชญา”ทุ่มสุดตัว นัวผู้ชายเกือบสิบ ป่วยโรคติดเซ็กซ์ ใน”สองนรี”
ไฮไลท์ผู้เล่นตัวท้อป 8 ทีมสุดท้าย วอลเลย์บอลชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019
เคาะแล้ว สนามโคราช จัดแข่งวอลเลย์บอลคัดโอลิมปิก
คลิปวงจรปิดฉาว อส.ชลบุรี ทุบเด็กแว้นนอนเจ็บคาเตียงโรงพยาบาล
- Phuket2 days ago
Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket
- Bangkok3 days ago
Stricter controls and paperwork putting brakes on residential property market
- Hua Hin2 days ago
Tale of two cities – Hua Hin vs Pattaya
- Economy2 days ago
Thailand’s growth forecasts for the rest of 2019 slashed again
- Chiang Rai2 days ago
Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO
- Events3 days ago
Alcohol sales ban in Thailand Sunday, October 13
- Phuket2 days ago
Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns”
- Economy4 days ago
“Too good for its own good” – The Thai economy