Pope Francis recently received an unusual letter signed by 26 women, La Stampa's Vatican Insider reports. "Dear Pope Francis," the letter begins, "we are a group of women from all over Italy (and beyond) who are writing you to break the wall of silence and indifference we encounter every day." Why? "Each one of us is living, has lived, or wants to live in a loving relationship with a priest she is in love with."
As Pope Francis noted in a dialogue with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, published in 2010 as the book On Heaven and Earth, priestly celibacy was optional until 1100, and is still optional in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The women, who say they are just "a small sample" of women in love or in relationships with Catholic clerics, are asking for the pope to allow them to openly live with their priest-lovers (or prospective lovers), and even "bless these our loves, giving us the biggest joy that a father could want for his children: to see them happy."
But, perhaps more realistically, they are also trying to put a human face on the priest celibacy debate, expressing the "devastating suffering" of women like themselves who "experience with a priest the powerful experience of falling in love." The signatories put their first name, last initial or town where they live (which could be uncomfortable for that town's priests), and phone numbers. You never know — Pope Francis may call. (The Daily Beast's Barbie Latza Nadeau has a more extensive English-language recap of the letter.) Peter Weber
Indiana lives and dies by basketball, so it should come as no shock that its politics does, too. "Basketball might not be the single deciding factor in any state race, but in Indiana, it puts points on the scoreboard. It wouldn't be a surprise at the end of the day to see victories from candidates who have made the strongest efforts at capitalizing on the statewide love for the sport," The Atlantic recently wrote.
Here at The Week, we've put that to the test. Below is our official Indiana Primary Scorecard, as determined by the show of b-ball love. Jeva Lange
- Donald Trump
Trump holds a wide margin in Hoosier State polls, and he's got the basketball chops to have earned it. Trump is the only candidate to have the official endorsements of three of the state's legendary coaches: former Purdue University coach Gene Keady, former Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight, and former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps. While Trump should have won this category in a landslide, he gets docked one point for misspelling Knight's name in a tweet.
Scorecard: Coach endorsements (3 points) - misspelling (-1 point) + making fun of Ted Cruz for saying "basketball ring" ( 1 point) = 3 points
- Ted Cruz
Cruz really put in an effort here, but failed to stick the landing. In an elaborately staged campaign speech that referenced the film Hoosiers, Cruz infamously misspoke and called the basketball hoop a "ring." Cruz makes up points for apologizing for the error and pushing that he was actually a b-baller himself in high school.
Scorecard: Hoosier reference (1 point) - "ring" gaffe (-2 points) + former basketballer (1 point) = 0 points
- John Kasich
In an effort to stop Trump, Kasich vowed he wouldn't campaign in Indiana. That being said, Kasich might be the only candidate running to have actually shot around with an NBA team.
- Bernie Sanders
Sanders is this election's resident Brooklynite and therefore basketball is in his blood. To the surprise of no one, he put his moves on display for basketball-obsessed Hoosiers at Purdue.
Scorecard: Getting his game on (1 point) = 1 point
- Hillary Clinton
In 2010, Clinton wrote an email to an aide asking, "Are you still in basketball-crazed Indianoplace?" Clinton has since apologized for the dismissive attitude, saying "even people in Indiana make that joke." But Indiana hasn't forgotten, Hillary. Indiana never forgets.
Scorecard: "Indianoplace" (-2 points) = -2 points
The Rio Tinto Argyle mine in Western Australia is responsible for turning up most of the world's rare pink diamonds — and now it's revealed something even rarer. Rio Tinto Diamonds announced Tuesday that its annual showcase this year will feature a massive violet diamond discovered in the mine. The stone was more than twice the size of the next-largest violet diamond found in the mine; in its original state, the diamond was more than nine carats, and after being cut and polished it stands at 2.83 carats.
While Rio Tinto has not put a fine point on the diamond's worth, its incredible rarity ensures the price tag will be high. Pink and red diamonds, which are much less rare than violet diamonds, are worth "about 50 times more than white diamonds," Discovery News reports. (Argyle pink diamonds, for instance, sell for about $1-2 million per carat.) According to Rio Tinto, only 12 carats of polished violet diamonds have been produced for its annual tender in the last 32 years.
The rare violet diamond will go on display beginning with private trade viewings in June. It will then travel to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and New York with Rio Tinto's annual pink diamonds showcase. Becca Stanek
With a decisive primary looming in Indiana, Ted Cruz didn't mince words when going after Donald Trump on Tuesday, slamming the Republican frontrunner for being a "serial philanderer."
"[He] describes his battles with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam," Cruz said. "That's a quote, by the way, on The Howard Stern Show."
While Cruz's attack might be too little, too late, it's still hilarious (or depressing?) that we've reached this point in the race. Watch the whole uncomfortable rant, below. Jeva Lange
More from Cruz: Trump is "proud of being a serial philanderer." pic.twitter.com/Tej4GpFDTl
— PolicyMic (@PolicyMic) May 3, 2016
English rock group Radiohead has been acting cryptically all week, blanking out their social media accounts and posting weird claymation videos. It turns out it was all a lead up to their new single, presumably off their forthcoming ninth album.
The track, "Burn the Witch," is a definite departure from Radiohead's last album, 2011's King of Limbs, but certainly only promises more good things to come (and, this being Radiohead, that means they could come at any time). Listen below. Jeva Lange
India is testing out a new tactic to reduce its carbon emissions: making farm animals less flatulent. Scientists at the Cow Research Institute in Mathura, located about 100 miles south of New Delhi, are experimenting with cattle feed that will make cows less gassy; fewer bovine blasts would cut back on the amount of the heat-trapping gas methane released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, scientists in the southern state of Kerala are working on a more long-term solution, as researchers there have been experimenting with a strain of miniature cattle that would produce just one-tenth the amount of methane produced by the standard Indian cow.
Silly as it may sound, The New York Times reports that they might just be onto something:
Consider the numbers: India is home to more than 280 million cows, and 200 million more ruminant animals like sheep, goats, yaks, and buffalo. According to an analysis of satellite data from the country’s space program, all those digestive tracts send 13 tons of methane into the atmosphere every year — and pound for pound, methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does.
So reducing animal flatulence might actually do some good — especially in India, where there is little chance of cutting back the use of fossil fuels anytime soon. (In fact, the country expects to double its coal production by 2019.) [The New York Times]
Same-sex adoption became legal in all 50 states Tuesday after the final holdout, Mississippi, failed to appeal a recent federal ruling that deemed its ban on same-sex adoption unconstitutional. Mississippi had until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to appeal the ruling and failed to do so, effectively letting the ban die. "Mississippi was the last state in the nation that prohibited adoption by gay couples, so in all 50 states, gay couples are allowed to adopt kids, as it should be," Roberta Kaplan, one of the case's lead lawyers, told BuzzFeed News. "As far as the state is concerned, gay couples and their kids can't be treated differently than anyone else."
The law, which had been in place since 2000, was initially challenged in 2015 by four same-sex couples who wanted to adopt together or who were already raising children together. The federal court ruled in March that the ban violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. "I've been waiting 16 years to be able to adopt my son," one of the plaintiffs told Buzzfeed News, "so I'm overjoyed." Becca Stanek
Islamic State terrorists in the seaside city of Sirte, Libya, have reportedly taken to selling chickens and eggs by the roadside in an effort to raise money — while still wearing their full military regalia. It's sort of like a kid's lemonade stand, except horrifying.
"When [ISIS] took over Sirte, they seized many properties, including farms, and some of these are very large chicken farms," a former Sirte resident said. "Relatives tell me [ISIS] people can now be seen standing in the streets in their black outfits with their faces covered, selling both the eggs and the chickens. And they are selling the chickens for a very cheap price of just one or two dinars."
The terrorist organization is also demanding rent payments on shops and luxury apartments, including those owned by their occupants, as well as street cleaning and trash collection fees. Bonnie Kristian