Out Abroad: Catholic Hierarchy Refuses Same-sex Blessings; France Appoints Gay Prime Minister

Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo. Photo by François-Régis Salefran, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Catholic bishops of Africa and Madagascar refuse to bless same-sex couples, trans athletes might be banned from women's sports in New Zealand, and France appoints a gay prime minister.

Catholic Hierarchy Refuses Same-Sex Blessings

The Catholic bishops of Africa and Madagascar announced that they are refusing to follow Pope Francis’ declaration allowing priests to offer blessings to same-sex couples, arguing that the unions are “contrary to the will of God.”

According to the Associated Press, the statement was signed by Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo on behalf of the symposium of African national bishops' conference.

This follows Pope Francis’ announcement that priests can now offer non-liturgical blessings to same-sex couples seeking God’s grace in their lives.

“Within the church family of God in Africa, this declaration has caused a shockwave, it has sown misconceptions and unrest in the minds of many lay faithful, consecrated persons and even pastors, and has aroused strong reactions,” wrote Ambongo.

Trans Athletes Possibly Banned From Women’s Sports


Kate Weatherly. Photo via Facebook.

The New Zealand government is threatening to withhold public funding from sports organizations in the country if they do not ban transgender athletes from women’s sports.

According to NZ Herald, the policy comes from New Zealand First, a populist and nationalist political party, who says these guidelines are for “fairness and safety in sport for women.”

“It is a tricky one, a thorny issue. [There are] strong views on both sides of the debate. I’ll work through that with the relevant sporting bodies,” said Sport and Recreation Minister Chris Bishop.

Kate Weatherly, a transgender athlete and two-time national champion mountain biker, told NZ Herald that this ruling could lead to athletes being forced into men’s competitions or sidelined.

France Appoints Gay Prime Minister


Prime Minister Gabriel Attal. Photo by Conseil de I'Union Européenne, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thirty-four-year-old Gabriel Attal has been appointed as prime minister in France, making him the country’s first openly gay prime minister.

According to Reuters, Attal is France's youngest post-war prime minister and was previously outed in 2018 by an old school associate after he was named junior minister.

He was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron, who took to X (formerly Twitter) to say, “Dear @GabrielAttal, I know I can count on your energy and your commitment to implement the project of revitalisation and regeneration that I announced.”

Attal promised the public to be bold and act fast to help the middle class as they navigate life with the rising cost of living.

"I'm well aware of the context in which I take on this job. Too many French doubt our country, doubt themselves or our future. I think in particular of the middle class ... who get up every morning to go to work ... and sometimes can't make ends meet,” said Attal in an interview with Reuters.

He replaced Elisabeth Borne, who was notably the second woman to hold the prime minister role in France.


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