Category Archives: 20 Church Teaching / Tradition

From Africa and the Philippines, Signs of Hope for LGBT Catholics!

At the family synod 2014, some African bishops were prominent in opposition to the more welcoming tone towards lgbt Catholics, proposed by some of the Europeans, and included in the mid – synod interim relatio. From this it would be easy to read the struggle for lgbt inclusion as a contest between “progressives” of Europe (and North America), and conservatives  of the so-called “developing” world, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. That would be a mistake, as recent news reports illustrate:

Commonweal reports on a fascinating interview with the African Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, in the conservative website Aleteia, His responses should be warmly welcomed for the hope they imply for greater inclusion of both lgbt Catholics, and those who have been divorced and remarried. (There could also be some schadenfreude in noting how the responses clearly discomforted Aleteia’s interview, who did his best to get Palmer – Buckle to modify his words – to no avail).

In a wide-ranging, at points jaw-dropping interview with Aleteia, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, signaled his openness to finding a way for remarried Catholics to be readmitted to Communion–and suggested the church might reinterpret Scripture to allow the “unbinding” of marriages. Palmer-Buckle, who is sixty-four years old, was selected by his brother bishops to represent Ghana at this October’s Synod on the Family. Early in the interview, the archbishop makes it clear that he takes seriously Pope Francis’s call for open discussion of the challenges facing Catholic families today.

via Commonweal Magazine.

In Asia, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a statement in support of a government bill to prohibit anti-gay discrimination. At the Filipino blog Catholic LGBT (Catholic gay and blessed), there are two posts quoting sections of the statement, in which Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, sets out the bishops’ opposition to homophobia, and support for greater lgbt inclusion in the life of the church.

On homophobia, Villegas is forthright on condemning parents who inculcate homophobia in their children:

The Church has much to contribute towards the education of Catholics to be more accepting of others and to see through appearances the Lord present in each brother and sister There can be no more approval of parents who imbue in their children the loathing and disgust for persons with a different sexual orientation or with gender identity issues. In Catholic institutions, there should be zero – tolerance for the bullying and badgering of persons in such personal situations.

On lgbt inclusion, he is equally clear:

[We] call on all pastors throughout the country to be as solicitous of the pastoral welfare of all our brothers and sisters regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Their exclusion from the life of the Church, their treatment as outcasts, their relegation to the category of inferior members of the Church worthy only of derision and scorn certainly does not conform to Pope Francis’ vision of the Church as the sacrament of Divine mercy and compassion”

To be sure, it’s not all rosy in the garden.  A longer news report at Rappler also describes how Villegas, while opposing discrimination, reserved the right to contiue discriminating in its own hiring and selection procedures for the priesthood, and the Church’s firm opposition to both homosexual “acts”, and gender transitions. Like many other bishops, he has no desire to change Church teaching – but just like the 2014 Family synod, this signals a clear desire to adjust pastoral practice, in  a more sensitive, caring direction. That augers well for the 2015 synod, and in the longer run, that will undoubtedly lead to some modification of the core doctrine, itself.

LGBT Catholic Pilgrims Meet Head of Vatican Council for Justice & Peace

Cardinal  Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has met with two LGBT Catholic pilgrims in Rome – and “reaffirmed his opposition to the criminalisation of homosexuals for who they are”.

"Cardinal Tukson 987" by Haiducul - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Cardinal Tukson 987” by Haiducul – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –
When two groups of lgbt Catholic pilgrims visited Rome for a Lenten pilgrimage, it was widely reported by mainstream media around the world, that the group from the USA had been given “VIP seats” for the Ash Wednesday papal audience. More interesting to me, is that two members of the English group were able to meet privately with one of the most influential Vatican officials, Cardinal  Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and his personal assistant.
Cardinal Turkson has served as cardinal under three popes, is a member of several Vatican congregations and other bodies in addition to his work as head of the Council for Justice and Peace – and is also from Africa, where criminalization of homosexuals is a major cause for concern, and other bishops have supported it. In the last papal conclave, the betting included him as a viable papabile. In view of his relatively youthful age, it is probable that he will still be a contender in the next conclave. His opinion matters.

Continue reading LGBT Catholic Pilgrims Meet Head of Vatican Council for Justice & Peace

Noted Theologians Lawler and Salzmann, on Marriage.

“Fortunate Families” Newsletter reports the welcome news that the Catholic lay theologians Todd Salzmann and Michael Lawler (together with theologian Ellen Burke – Sullivan) have just published a new book, “The Church in the Modern World: Gaudium et Spes – Then and Now”, with a notable chapter dealing specifically with marriage.

This is important news. Their previous book, “The Sexual Person”, provided a superb, penetrating analysis of Catholic sexual theology in all its aspects. and included abundant examples of just why the allegedly “traditional” teaching is not all it is said to be, why it must change – and  how it is in fact constantly changing. For LGBT Catholics with a serious interest in the subject, “The Sexual Person” should be required reading.

With the Family Synod now bringing marriage, divorce and same – sex relationships so much more  into mainstream Catholic discussion, it is likely that this book, with its chapter on marriage, will be equally valuable for LGBT Catholics. Continue reading Noted Theologians Lawler and Salzmann, on Marriage.

Marriage teaching ‘disconnected’, say Dublin Catholics

I think we already knew this – but it’s good to have it acknowledged by a respected Archbishop.

Catholic teaching on contraception, cohabitation, same sex relationships, the divorced and remarried is “disconnected from real life experience of families – and not by just younger people”, said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin last night.

In general, church teaching in those areas was found to be “poorly understood . . . poorly accepted” by Catholics in Dublin, he said at a meeting in Holy Cross College, Clonliffe. He was commenting on findings of a consultation in the diocese.

Similar consultations took place all over Ireland at the urging of Pope Francis, in advance of the Synod of Bishops on the family in Rome next October.

Archbishop Martin is the only Irish bishop to disclose findings in his diocese.

viaThe Irish Times, Fri, Feb 28, 2014.

 

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Belgian Bishops: Church Must BeMore Welcoming to All.

Reporting on the the Religious Information Service release of some European results of the global survey on marriage and family, Vatican Insider has a snippet from Belgium that will not surprise LGBT Catholics – but is of great importance to us, and the for relevant discussions likely at the family synod. The Belgian bishops have concluded that the Church need to be “more open and welcoming” – especially to gay people and remarried divorcees.

“Belgian Catholics expect the Church to welcome everyone, regardless of differences or mistakes made. This especially true when it comes to gay people and remarried divorcees,” SIR says.

“Belgian Catholics, inspired by Francis, are calling for a mother Church that embraces all: hence the need to grow in the faith and form lively communities,” SIR highlights. The questionnaires also placed an emphasis on the essential role women can play in Church life: “It is they who pass on the faith to children and guide them,” Belgian Catholics point out. 

 – Vatican Insider.

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Vatican cardinal challenges economists to develop ‘economy of inclusion’

Speaking at the London School of Economics, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace challenged his audience to “design an economy of inclusion.”

“It will require the full breadth of your many disciplines,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson. “It requires great reach and generous welcome to have quite different voices heard: banking, finance, business, politics, as well as workers, the unemployed and migrants, youth and the old.”

Cardinal Turkson summarized and defended his controversial 2011 document, “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority.” At the same time, he somewhat downplayed the document’s significance, referring to it as a “discussion document.”

“I call it a ‘Note’ to indicate the nature of the text,” he said. “It is a discussion document meant to stimulate international reflection and discussion about the financial markets still in the grip of the crisis which burst open in 2007.”

via Vatican cardinal challenges economists to develop ‘economy of inclusion’ : News Headlines – Catholic Culture.

Iglesia Descalza: The Catholic "Moral Disconnect"

Iglesia Descalza assessed the Univision global survey on Catholic beliefs on sexual ethics, which it describes (appropriately) as a “moral disconnect”.

Another survey (raw data spreadsheet available here), this time by Spanish language media giant Univision, shows that the moral disconnect between Catholics and their Church is not confined to the United States. Last week, Univision polled over 12,000 Catholics in 12 different countries about some of the most controversial issues facing the Church today. The countries included the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and the Philippines.

While Pope Francis received an almost universal glowing endorsement from his global flock, with 87% rating his performance as good or excellent, the magisterium of the Church he heads up received substantially less unanimous support. Catholics, especially in Europe and the Americas, simply no longer believe many of the traditional teachings of the Church on many issues of sexual morality. There is more support in Africa and in the one Asian country surveyed. Eventually, the pope will receive all the results from the Vatican’s own survey on these issues administered through the dioceses but meanwhile, here is what Univision discovered:

– full analysis at  Iglesia Descalza

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Archbishop: Homophobia Amounts to "Godophobia"

anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people

– Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This is hardly revolutionary stuff – it’s embedded in the Catechism, and in all formal Church documents on the subject of homosexuality: we deserve to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”, and any violence or malice, in words or actions, is to be deeply deplored.

Sadly, for too many Catholic bishops and some orthotoxic conservative Catholics, it’s a principle which is simply ignored, which is why it’s welcome whenever a leading cleric states what should be routine. What’s even more widely ignored, is that other principle clearly stated in the documents, that unjust discrimination must be avoided. When Catholic leaders routinely apply that principle, and avoid all unjust discrimination in employment and elsewhere within the Church’s own institutions – that really will be something to celebrate!

HOMOPHOBIA is “insulting to God”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned.

In the wake of the so-called ‘Pantigate’ controversy over homophobia comments made on RTE and a defamation settlement, Dr Martin said: “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the senior cleric said this meant that “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people”.

MOCKED

Referring to the revelations made last week by TD Jerry Buttimer, that he was beaten, spat at, mocked and harassed because he was gay, Dr Martin expressed concern saying: “Certainly the sort of actions that we heard of this week of people being spat at because they were gay or ridiculed . . . that is not a Christian attitude. We have to have the courage to stand up and say that.”

He added: “We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted.

“We have to learn a new way in Ireland to live with our differences and for all of us to live with respect for one another.”

via  – Independent.ie.

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Worldwide, Catholics Disagree with Vatican Sexual Doctrines.

There is an abundance of research evidence to show that US Catholics reject Vatican doctrines on almost all elements of sexual doctrines, from contraception through masturbation and cohabitation, to gay marriage. Conservative Catholics often respond to this evidence with the claim that outside North America and Europe, things are different. From a global perspective, they claim, most Catholics support church teaching. Findings of a new global survey show they are wrong.

Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds

Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision.

Catholics worldwide approve of contraception (graphic - Washington Post)
Catholics worldwide approve of contraception (graphic – Washington Post)

On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.

Overall, however, the poll of more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries reveals a church dramatically divided: Between the developing world in Africa and Asia, which hews closely to doctrine on these issues, and Western countries in Europe, North America and parts of Latin America, which strongly support practices that the church teaches are immoral.

The widespread disagreement with Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception and the hemispheric chasm lay bare the challenge for Pope Francis’s year-old papacy and the unity it has engendered.

 – The Washington Post.

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Pope tells Austrian bishops to stay close to their priests after ‘one in ten’ signs reform call

It’s not at all clear what the Pope means by asking bishops to “stay close to” their priests. Is this in support of them – or in order to keep a watchful eye on them, and any possible transgressions?

Either way, it’s worth noting that an estimated one in ten Austrian priests have signed the public declaration by the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, the “Call to Disobedience”. That’s a high proportion, for priests who are dependant on the bishops for their homes and livelihoods, and for a document which goes beyond a simple call for reform, to one for active disobedience.

Fr Helmut Schüller
Source: The Catholic Tipping Point (http://www.catholictippingpoint.org/)

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Continue reading Pope tells Austrian bishops to stay close to their priests after ‘one in ten’ signs reform call