Pope tells bishops not to accept gay seminarians: report [Reuters]

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis warned Italian bishops this week to vet carefully applicants to the priesthood and reject anyone they suspected might be homosexual, local media reported on Thursday.


FILE -- Pope Francis celebrates a mass with members of different religious orders in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.
Pope Francis [Source]

“Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,” the pope was quoted as saying by newspaper La Stampa’s Vatican Insider service. “If in doubt, better not let them enter.”

The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the remarks, which Vatican Insider and Il Messaggero said were made at a closed-door gathering on Monday.

Francis’s meeting with Italian bishops came just a day after a Chilean man who suffered clerical sexual abuse quoted the pope as telling him in a private conversation that God had made him gay and loved him that way.

The Vatican declined to comment on the report which touched off fierce media speculation that Francis was softening the Church stance on homosexuality. It has previously condemned homosexuality as an immoral disorder if actively practised.

In a 2005 document, released under Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict, the Vatican said the Church could admit into the priesthood those who had clearly overcome homosexual tendencies for at least three years.

But it said practicing homosexuals and those with “deep-seated” gay tendencies and those who support a gay culture should be barred.

The reported comments to the bishops might appease conservatives who have grown alarmed at the way Francis has dramatically shifted the language the Church has used about homosexuality since his election in 2013.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” the pope said on his first overseas trip in 2013. In 2016, he said he had ministered to people with unfulfilled homosexual tendencies as well as homosexuals who were not able to remain chaste, as the Church asks them to.

“When a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say: ‘Go away because you are homosexual’,” he said.

Pope Benedict wrote in 2005 that homosexuality was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg


Source: Reuters


Is The ‘Strong Black Woman’ Stereotype Hurting Black Women?

The “strong black woman” is a stereotype that’s as pervasive in media as it is in real life. But this superwoman syndrome could be adversely affecting black women’s health.


Put Down Your Cape: Solving the Black Superwoman Syndrome

How to practice self-care in a world that shows us otherwise\


We live in dire times where racial friction, political pressure and racial socialization equally remind us just how uncomfortable it is being a Black in American.

Sorrowfully, turbulent times don’t always foster unity. In the case of the Black community at the height of obvious madness and distress, we have never been more united and divided than we are now.

For every commitment to collaborate, protect and empower one another, there is an opposite conversation happening. This dialogue is often crude and biting and positions Black men and women as opponents more than companions. Black women are vocally infuriated with Black men. Black men are continuously frustrated with Black women. It appears as if we are publicly attacking each other for sport. Both parties are out for blood and neither team is willing to lay off the defense. This makes it nearly impossible to hear the authentic messages being presented.

We are more focused on winning the debate than we are on learning how to resolve the problem.

The lack of concern around how to produce loving, yet radical change continues to breed misunderstandings among the Black man and woman. This common misunderstanding has left Black women wearing the scarlet letter of “A” for angry. Our disconnected dialogue has contributed to Black women being branded as being resentful, vulgar and irate. The most discouraging part about being labeled “angry” is that it completely disregards the plight of Black women.

Pressuring women to dismiss what we feel downplays our experiences. These very events are often the source of our emotional sternness. We must stop ignoring how taxing it is to be a Black woman in America. We are not indignant, we are exhausted.

Black women have a lengthy history of secretly carrying the burden of traumatic and harmful experiences from childhood into adulthood and from generation to generation. Yet, we are always pushed to be resilient and to survive in silence. The mentality that Black women are naturally strong and should continue to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps with a smile is harmful.

Yes, we are survivors, but we shouldn’t have to constantly be at war to prove that we can’t be defeated. This warrior mindset makes it complicated for Black women to lower out defenses. Every day feels like a fight and we must always be prepared. The question arises, who protects the Black woman?

We are often left trying to rescue ourselves with little to no aid. The, “strong Black woman” narrative is both empowering and devastating. Black women are reared to believe that we have superhero attributes. Our special power? The ability to take on the weight of the world and not fold. Black women are not only tending to their homes, raising our children and overworking to provide, but we are also attempting to defend our divinity in a society that considers us to be less than.

It is draining being a Black woman. Our exhaustion and stress is often perceived as anger. It is hard to feel sheltered in this world and that cultivates fear. We must always be prepared for the worst. That heightened level of defensiveness leaves little room for the free spirited and energy that is often recognized and praised when expressed by women of other races.

Without assuming the role of damsel in distress, Black women simply want someone to save Superwoman.

However, if no one ever comes to the rescue, it is vital that the Black woman learns how to save herself.

Give Yourself the Love You Extend to Others

You ask a woman what she loves about herself and often she will have an outpour of admiration for everyone in her life. Why? Because we are trained to believe that noble women sacrifice it all for others. While there is beauty in giving yourself to charity, at no point should you relinquish so much of who you are to others to the point where you are depleted. Without internal compassion and dedicated time for restoration, you will continuously push yourself to the brink of insanity. Make self-love a priority. Reserve the means and the time to pamper yourself. Give yourself the things you desperately need in order recharge and refocus.

Refuse to Rationalize Unhealthy Relationships

The idea that life is innately going to include pain and suffering is a damaging belief that we must be committed to releasing. Black women stomach entirely too much. We allow uninspiring and toxic people, habits, experiences and energy to take refuge in our spirits. We must break our need to justify mistreatment. A vital element of self-care is refusing to condone negativity. Your life has undeniable worth and until that is acknowledged, uncaring souls will physically and mental invade your holy space.

Be Willing to Feel

Our fortitude should not be defined by our ability to withstand an immense amount of pain and suffering without breaking. We have to eradicate every ideology that supports the idea that strength is being emotionally blocked. We barricade our vulnerable side and refuse to be emotionally free. Positive self-regard is the ability to open yourself up and experience your feelings while exchanging with others in an enriching way.

Growth is Intentional

Self-love is the process of intentionally directing energy towards your advancement. It is not natural, but cultivated through labor. When you are defining your ideal life, you should ensure that you are not dismissing your personal goals and dreams for the sake of advancing others. There is a way to meet the expectations and demands of your home life and still give yourself permission to pursue your own selfish endeavors.

Save Your Sister

We have a duty as Black women to empower one another, but it is imperative that you put your gas mask on first. You must save yourself before you attempt to save others. When you get to a destination where you are emotionally and mentally out of harm’s way, decide how to go back and rescue your sisters. Life changing knowledge should be in constant rotation between Black women, so if you have information that can help revive and replenish the spirit and mind of a woman, share it willingly.

Jazz Keyes is a clinical psychologist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.

Nurses Strike: Is health care at the primary level in Kenya collapsing?

Health services in Kenya’s public health facilities remain paralyzed that is now entering into its 100th day due to the ongoing nurse strike.

The nurses have paralyzed health services demanding the full implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

26,000-member union has issued a peaceful demonstration notice beginning Monday ‘until the solutions to the CBA dispute is found or the strike is called of’ according to Seth Panyako, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN).

According to the CBA, the union wants the least pay for a nurse to be KSh52, 000, up from KSh38,000 while the highest paid will receive KSh130,000 from KSh70, 000.

In contrast, the union’s National Chairman of the union John Bii however, has been reported to state that the strike is illegal citing that the nurses have to go back to the negotiating table before eventually signing the CBA.

“It is not in dispute that nurses in the public sector were awarded nursing service allowance of KSh20,000 last year during the negotiated return-to-work formula, which was paid in January and February in most counties and national facilities. This was, however, stopped after the nurses, through the Secretary-General demanded health service allowance, which was the preserve of other health care cadres.”

Further, the Council of Governors has termed the ongoing nurses’ strike illegal as the right procedure was not followed for industrial action as stipulated in law.

According to the Council of Governors, the financial implications of the current draft CBA stands at KSh40 billion over a period of four years which translates to KSh10 billion annually which they term as unsustainable.

In the current financial year, the County Governments have made increments of KSh3.4 billion to nurses to be paid every financial year.

As a result, both governments, national and county have urged them to take the offer and resume work to avoid disciplinary action.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of a cancer treatment center at the Kenyatta National Hospital  asked the nurses to go to work. “He said public servants should know that they work for the public and should not disrupt services that benefit citizens,” according to the PSCU statement.

Besides, nurses have remained steadfast. All they seek is  better public health care for the public.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses called the strike on June 5 and efforts by the Council of Governors and the government to resolve the impasse have hit a dead end.

Read More @ Soko Directory

9 SHOCKING Facts About Your Period We Betcha Didn’t Know


Think you know your body? Think again.

As women, periods are something we deal with every month. However, like sex, we still giggle/cringe/shy away from the idea of talking about them openly. And oftentimes, we can’t even call it for what it is. It’s surfing the crimson wave. Being on the rag. A visit from Aunt Flo. Mother Nature’s monthly gift. Or Shark Week (no, not that one).

Researchers discovered that being on your period actually makes you stupid. Say what? Pyschologists at the University Of Bath asked 52 adult women to complete a series of computer-based tasks—with cramps AND without them. The results? The experiment concluded that period pain reduces your cognitive function and attention span, making you perform worse on tests! (I guess that explains why I flunked so many math exams in college—it was all just bad timing!)

Anyway, given the fact that there still seems to be so much we don’t know about menstruation (and that we’re too uncomfortable as a culture to talk about it), we thought we would dispel the mystery around our time of the month with these little-known facts:

1. Biologically speaking, men are LESS attracted to you on your period.

Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not their fault! Studies have shown that a man’s testosterone levels are influenced by a woman’s scent, particularly when she is ovulating (that is, when she’s at her peak of fertility). Scientists Saul Miller and Jon Maner from Florida State University put this theory to the test. They asked male volunteers to sniff-test T-shirts worn by women in various stages of their menstrual cycles. The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that when men smelled T-shirts worn by women who were ovulating, their testosterone levels raised significantly compared to T-shirts by non-ovulating women. When asked, the men also remarked that T-shirts worn by ovulating women smelled sweeter. What does this mean? It means to book date night before or after Aunt Flo’s monthly visit … but maybe not during.

2. Your period makes you friskier than usual.

Progesterone—the hormone believed by scientists to lower your libido—is at its lowest during your time of the month. So while your first instinct might be to climb into your old college sweatpants, science actually suggests that feeling the urge to “slip into something more comfortable” (ahem, if you catch our drift) is not so strange at all.

3. Your period turns you into a shopoholic.

Credit card bills piling up suspiciously at the same time every month? Blame your ovaries. Women are more likely to splurge on a shopping spree 10 days before their periods begin. Professor Pine from the University of Hertfordshire surveyed nearly 500 women about their spending habits in correlation with their menstrual cycles. Almost two-thirds of the women studied who were in the later stages of their menstrual cycle admitted they had bought something on an impulse. The professor’s explanation? Retail therapy. Women go shopping to help deal with their PMS.

4. Your period, obviously, requires A LOT of tampons.

We each have our own preference when it comes to products, but about 70 percent of all American women use tampons. It’s estimated that on average, a woman will use more than 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. (Just think of how much money that adds up to in disposable cotton?!)

5. Disney even made a movie about periods.

Hmm, I don’t seem to recall this one. Back in 1946, Walt Disney released a 10-minute educational film called The Story Of Menstruation. It’s also believed by some to be the first use of the word “vagina” on film. Not exactly family friendly, huh? (Have we ruined your childhood yet?)

6. Your affects the way your voice sounds.

This proves that your man is listening to you. In a study published in the journal Ethology, psychologists asked three groups of guys to listen to the voice recordings of women who counted from one to five—at four different points over their menstrual cycle. The men were then asked to guess which recordings were made while the women were on their period. After examining their answers, researchers Nathan Pipitone at Adams State College and Gordon Gallup from SUNY-Albany, found that the men were correct a significant amount of the time. “Vocal production is closely tied to our biology,” Pipitone said. “Cells from the larynx and vagina are very similar and show similar hormone receptors.”

7. A Harvard professor warned girls that their periods could be disrupted by college education.

Apparently, people once believed that earning your degree would cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs. In the early 20th century, Dr. Edward H. Clarke of Harvard Medical School wrote a book called Sex In Education. In it, he suggested that “higher education would cause a woman’s uterus to atrophy.” In other words, he was asserting that if a young woman attended college, all the blood in her body would be diverted from her uterus to stimulate her brain. Sounds like this guy slept through a med lecture or two (or seven) himself.

8. People in The Middle Ages believed periods caused red hair.

Yep, people really did accept this as true. Redheads were thought to have been born if a woman was menstruating at the time of conception. Oh, history.

9. Periods can make you bleed from OTHER parts of your body—not just your uterus.

This idea is a little scary. The medical condition “vicarious menstruation” originally surfaced around the 1800s and referred to bleeding from a surface other than the mucous membrane of the uterine cavity that occurs at the time when normal menstruation should take place. Women have reported bleeding from their eyes, ears, mouths, lungs, noses and even skin.

Source: Your Tango

5 Tips on Learning to Write When You’ve Lost Your Mojo

learning to write

Have you ever lost the motivation to write?

You know what that feels like—projects wait to get started, they stall, or they go unfinished.

Your head is filled with a fog, instead of the lightness of inspired ideas.

I’ve been there.

At times, I feel excited and in the flow — fingers dancing over the keyboard. At others, sitting down to write is heavy and challenging.

But losing your motivation doesn’t mean you have to lose heart.

Losing our motivation is part of the larger creative process. We wouldn’t have the bursts of inspiration and productivity without the difficult creative dips.

When we lose our creative steam, not only does our writing come to a crawl, but we also start feeling low about ourselves.

For example, when you aren’t writing, the feeling that you should be working nags at the back of your mind. This tension creates further stagnation and deepens the creative funk.

This can be particularly hard when you have a deadline, a goal, or a practice you are trying to maintain. In these situations, wouldn’t it be great to keep learning to write, even minus the motivation muscle?

Here are five tips to help you take charge of your writing till you get your motivation back.

These strategies will recharge your creative batteries and help you jump back into the work you were initially excited to do.

#1. Honor the Rest Period

It is important to trust that low motivation comes as part of a cycle. When experiencing this part of the cycle, you feel unmotivated, uncomfortable, unsure, and uninspired.

When you experience another part of the cycle, you feel highly motivated, driven to do the work, and ready to dive into your creative project with ease and enthusiasm.

It is easy to honor the high motivation times. You do so by creating with productivity and energy.

Similarly, you must honor the low motivation times by taking a step back from your work and holding the perspective that you are still experiencing part of the creative process.

In such times, take care of yourself. Find a self-care practice that is relaxing, recharging and nourishing for your body and spirit.

This sets the foundation for your creativity to shine forth.

#2. Approach Your Writing from a Fresh Angle

Resting doesn’t mean you need to completely stop what you hope to accomplish, but it can mean approaching your work from a different angle.

To get the creativity flowing again, instead of writing, create a playlist of songs to help you set the scene or inspire your work. Doodle, outline or brainstorm. Move away from the computer and into a journal.

Keep flexing your creative muscles, and soon they will be revved up enough to let you get back to your project.

#3. Talk About Your Work

A sure way to build motivation is to talk about your project with others.

There are times when it feels premature to do so, or you might not be ready to share. That is perfectly okay.

Instead, ask questions about the ideas and themes that form the undercurrent to your writing. Voice the themes you are curious about. Ask others what they are reading or writing in the genre you are interested in.

Gather the “aha’s!” and moments of clarity you get from your discussions. Write them down.

When you talk about your ideas and work with people, you fuel the creative fire through new ideas and insights.

You may even breathe new life into your craft.

#4. Recommit

To find true motivation, you must recommit to your project. Otherwise your writing will sit there, gather dust, and almost certainly remain unfinished.

Start by grabbing a journal. Do some casual writing about what got you excited in the first place.

Allow yourself to write about the struggles you are experiencing, or the blocks you are facing. Write about how feeling unmotivated feels in your body.

Journal what you are excited about, the internal and external motivators that are already in you, but might just be dormant right now.

Draw a line in the sand and commit to doing the work.

Create a plan, and follow through. Schedule the time. Create a to-do list with actionable and manageable tasks.

Dive in.

#5. Read What You Have Written

This is a simple but powerful exercise. After a relatively long period of feeling unmotivated, you can lose touch with what you have already written, and where you wish it to go.

Spend some time revisiting your work. No pressure to write at this point, just read. It will help recalibrate your brain to start thinking about your writing in new and tangible ways.

Things that felt hard to untangle before often become clear with rested eyes. You start seeing your work with a fresh perspective, and can find new angles to start again.

Writing can be hard work. It is even harder when we are not feeing inspired or motivated.

We must allow the unmotivated times to be a space where we flush out our ideas, recommit to our work, and recharge.

Trust the process and know that when you feel in a rut, feeling creatively alive is just around the corner.

What has helped you feel motivated and inspired? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Source: Write 2 Done

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