Tag Archives: Catholic

On Being a Catholic Lesbian at Georgetown University

Catholic college campuses are among the most gay-friendly church institutions in the United States.  Young people are increasingly more and more supportive of LGBT issues, and campuses reflect that spirit of inclusion.

Meghan Ferguson

Meghan Ferguson, a student at Jesuit-run Georgetown University, Washington, DC, has praise for her school in terms of their record on LGBT issues.  In a recent article on NextGenJournal.com, Ferguson delineates the many surprises she has had coming to the campus as a Catholic lesbian woman, and she concludes:

“Being out at Georgetown is nothing like I had expected, and I have been very fortunate to have such a positive experience, because I know it isn’t always the case for everyone.  There have been ups and downs, and Lord knows I’ll gripe about something or other, but all in all, I owe a great deal to this community for creating a space that has challenged me to look closely at myself, my priorities, and grow into the person I want to be.”

She notes that the school has helped her to integrate her identities as a Catholic and a lesbian woman:

“My experience of being out at Georgetown is predominantly colored by two identities: namely, that I am Catholic, and that I am a woman.  ’What?’ I hear you cry ‘you’re Catholic?!’ It’s shocking, I know. I spent most of high school as a closet Catholic around all of my gay friends, lest I hear more exclamations like that. . . .

“I suppose I had expected a similar situation at Georgetown, keeping those two spheres of my identity separate, so it was a surprise to say the least when I found a whole community of us. For the first time, I was able to be out as a Catholic lesbian and not only be accepted by both communities, but be a part of my own community.

“I have had some of the most profound conversations with friends about what it means to be queer and Catholic, the unique struggles we face, our doubts, how we reconcile those two identities and also the joys we have experienced.  These conversations, and this community, are something I think is very unique to Georgetown, and it has helped me grow in my faith in a way I never thought possible; I dare even say it has made me a better lesbian, because I have learned to grapple with and embrace the intersection of my faith and sexuality.”

Georgetown University is perhaps one of the best examples of a gay-friendly Catholic college.  They have an LGBT Resource Center on campus, which last year received a $1 million gift from former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

New Ways Ministry maintains list of gay-friendly Catholic campuses,, which continues to grow, as more and more schools respond to the needs of their students, faculty and staff.   The schools on the list all have some policy, program, or organization on campus which is supportive of LGBT people.  If you would like to consult the list, click here.

– –Francis DeBernardo,  at  New Ways Ministry/ Bondings 2.0.

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Soho Masses Provide Welcome and Community for London’s LGBT Community

While in London, England, for World Pride, I was blessed to be able to attend one of the Soho Masses, sponsored here by the Archdiocese of Westminster (London) for the LGBT community.  It was a beautiful service filled with a great spirit of hospitality and solidarity.

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Gregory

The Masses are held on the first and third Sundays of the month, 5:00 pm, at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory, Warwick Street, in the Soho neighborhood of London, which is the center of the LGBT community.  When I attended yesterday, the church was packed, with what I estimated to be about 125 people.

The community gathered for liturgy was amazingly diverse in terms of age, gender, race and ethnicity.  At the social hour afterward, even I, as a newcomer, was made to feel very welcome by people I had never met, and who did not know that I was a foreign visitor

The Soho Masses are clearly doing the work of God here in London, not only providing a welcome to the ostracized, but providing an opportunity for people to be of service to one another and to the church and the world.  If you visit  London, you should be sure to schedule a visit for one of these wonderful liturgies.   For more information, click here.

– full post at  Bondings 2.0/ New Ways Ministry.

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New York councilwoman talks being gay in the church

A unique new voice has been added to the debate stirred by Bill Keller’s New York Times column: Should liberal Catholics simply leave a church that clearly no longer wants them? Her answer to that question may surprise you.

Christine Quinn is the speaker of the New York City Council and a leading candidate to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor. She is Catholic, and she is gay.

Quinn gave a free-wheeling interview this weekend to NPR, covering everything from her political views to her family history (her maternal grandmother survived the sinking of the Titanic). But toward the end of the segment, the topic turned to her sexual identity and her faith.

Quinn spoke movingly of how her father first rejected her when she came out but then apologized and reconciled. He now comes over to City Hall to visit her every day and was to march with his daughter in the Gay Pride parade over the weekend. All well and good, said NPR interviewer David Greene — but what about your faith and your church? How does that work?

She gave a very New York, no-nonsense answer:

QUINN: Well, it’s just who I am. I mean, I’m Catholic and I’m gay. There’s not much to deal with. It’s who I am. It’s how I wake up every morning.

GREENE: But your church, obviously, doesn’t, you know, officially accept that.

QUINN: Right. That’s kind of their problem, not mine. I mean, I just don’t dwell on it. I’m not really sure what the upside of me dwelling on it would be. I mean, I was raised Catholic, I take a lot of comfort and inspiration and motivation and support from my faith. I get what they kind of see in some political issues. They get that we’re not in agreement on that. But that doesn’t make me not who I am. It’s still who I am.

GREENE: Do you ever wake up and think I need to leave this church, I need to leave this faith, I …

QUINN: No. Well, how can you leave a faith? A faith is who you are. It’s what’s inside of you. It’s how you see the world. It’s what inspires you. It’s what comforts you. It’s what uplifts you in the dark days. You can’t leave a faith. The faith is who you are. It’s what you have. Why should I leave the church? It’s my church. They’re the ones who have the wrong perspective. I’m not going to leave. If I leave, it’s as if they won. I’m going to go into any church any time I want to, whenever I want to. It’s my church. And no one’s ever asked me to and no one ever will.

To me, Quinn’s directness and confidence about her place in the church was a breath of fresh air. There’s an honesty that even New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan might appreciate.

And she might even have coined a rallying cry for people feeling pushed out of the church by its current direction: “That’s kind of their problem, not mine.”

National Catholic Reporter

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Yellow Ribbon Campaign Seeks Catholic Support for Gay Rights

A new campaign from the Las Memorias Project, which works to prevent HIV among Latinos, asks Catholic parishioners to wear yellow ribbons to support LGBT rights.

The Yellow Ribbon Campaign seeks supportive Catholic leaders who will show support for LGBT people and opposition to the Catholic church’s antigay policies by wearing a yellow ribbon during Sunday services throughout the summer. In an open letter, Las Memorias Project’s Richard Zaldivar writes, “[T]here is a campaign by conservative bishops to challenge our movement for wellness and equality for members of our community. [They] are using the pews of the Catholic Church to promote a political agenda. Church should not be used for politics nor should it be to prevent wellness in our community.

On Sunday, please wear a yellow ribbon or cloth on your shirt or blouse to support Catholics for Equality and Social Justice. This is not confronting the church but to remind our faith leaders that the doors of the faith community must be open to everyone in order to promote community wellness. Please encourage your family members and friends to wear the yellow ribbon in support of equality and social justice.”

Read more here:  New Campaign Asks Catholic Parishioners to Show Support for LGBT Rights

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Let's Hear It For Catholic Leaders Who Defend Marriage Equality!

Last month — just a week before the president announced his support for marriage equality — I had the privilege of hearing Governors Chris Gregoire of Washington and Martin O’Malley of Maryland speak (at the Human Rights Campaign [HRC] offices in Washington DC) about their hard-fought battles to secure marriage equality in their respective states.

Perhaps the most eloquent explanations of how her Catholic faith played an important role in her decision to defend marriage equality comes from Governor Gregoire who had initially opposed, on religious grounds, civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Speaking in a television interview on Seattle’s KING Channel 5 on 4 Jan. 2012, the governor related how she had been hesitant to support marriage equality, in large part, because of her Catholic faith. It was in talking with her own daughters, however, that she began to understand that marriage equality was a civil rights issue similar in some ways to the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s which she had supported passionately as a child. After talking with a priest friend who supported her change of heart on the matter and after entering into respectful dialogue with her local bishop (who did not support marriage equality), Gregoire made the bold and faith-filled decision that she could not in good conscience deny the right of civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples in her state. Moreover, it was as a person of faith, as a Catholic, that she realized that she had a moral obligation to support marriage equality.

While the march to full marriage equality in the United States seems to advance at an agonizingly slow pace, it is important for us to recognize that most American Catholics (who now represent the largest single religious denomination in the country and, with just over 68 million members, make up approximately 22 percent of the American population) support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Although it is the increasingly conservative bishops of the US church who get the lion’s share of press coverage on the issue, more newsworthy stories are actually those that report that five Catholic governors have worked, often at considerable risk to their political careers, to advance marriage equality. Even better news is that they are working in concert with the beliefs of millions of other American Catholics who understand that the Gospel AND important church teachings support marriage for all.

So, Let’s Hear It For The Millions of American Catholics Who Support Marriage Equality!

Executive Director,
Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry,
Pacific School of Religion

-full   report at Huffington Post

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Local Churches Front And Center In Gay Marriage Movie

It’s one of the most shopworn cliches of the gay rights movement—the angry religious leader, usually Christian, denoucing LGBT people as “perverts” or a danger to the stability of society.

Even in Minnesota, that trope has continued to play itself out with the state’s Catholic bishops helping lead the charge to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The state already has a similar law on the books, but the amendment would make it hard for a future legislature to reverse it or for a court to find the law unconstitutional.

One local filmmaker, though, wants to change that.

“The religious right owns faith when it comes to issues like this,” Matt Peiken  told Patch. “There’s an imbalance here that I wanted to correct.”

SW Minneapolis Patch

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Pride for gay Catholics: Acceptance exhibition in Surry Hills

GAY Catholic group Acceptance Sydney is celebrating their 40th anniversary with an exhibition of photographs, personal stories and historical material at the Surry Hills library.

Officially opened by former premier Kristina Keneally last week, the exhibition illustrates the support groups history, the challenges it has faced and the individual stories of its members.

“For 40 years, Acceptance has practised just that: accepting people for who they are and sharing their Christian faith journey in community,” said Keneally.

“The exhibit is a chance to celebrate that history.”

Exhibition coordinator Tim has spent hundreds of hours sorting through newspaper archives and personal collections to put the exhibition together: “It’s a powerful statement to say you can be gay and Catholic,” he said.

-full report at Sydney Central

(I live in the Surrey Hills, so my immediate response to the headline was that it’s extraordinarily close to home – but this report refers to “Surry”- without the “e”).

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Lay Catholics Leading Fight For LGBT Equality.

June is designated as pride month, a time when LGBT people across the world celebrate the gains made in society and continue fighting for equality. Lots of groups and companies get in on the action, some to show solidarity and some to make a buck or two. One group that has been at the helm of the fight for gay equality in the US is the Roman Catholic community.

Come again?

The Catholic Church’s official stance on same-sex marriage is widely known. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has elevated the defeat of same-sex marriage to high status; the Knights of Columbus ranked among the largest donors in overturning marriage equality in California; and Catholic bishops in Minnesota spent considerable resources producing and distributing anti-gay marriage DVDs throughout the state. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as Archbishop of New York and president of the USCCB, does not shy away in denouncing Catholics who stray from the party line. Despite all this, lay Catholics have been leaders in the fight for equal rights for gay Americans.

Michael O’Loughlin, Huffington Post 

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