I began this site six years ago, with some very clear aims (originally spelled out here, as “Welcome: Come in, and Come Out”, and here, as “Good News for Queer Catholics“). In practice, much of the time I was more preoccupied with commentary on the daily news cycle, initially on the crisis of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, later with gay marriage. There is a limit, however, to how often one can respond to an attack (gay) marriage and still find something to say which is new. Also, times have changed. Marriage and family equality are clearly well on the way – and I’ve changed: I’ve learned a lot, my skill set has grown.
The familiar phrase, “La plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” is usually interpreted as “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. For lesbian and gay Catholics in the wake of the synod, this formulation could equally be reversed: “the more things stay the same, the more they change”.
In the entire proposed final “Relatio” of the synod, only one paragraph dealt specifically with homosexual people – and narrowly failed to secure the two thirds majority support required for approval.
The pastoral care of people of homosexual orientation
55 Some families live the experience of having within them people of homosexual orientation. In this regard, we have questioned with regard to pastoral care what is appropriate to deal with this situation by referring to what the Church teaches: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family” Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. “In this regard there should be avoided every sign of unjust discrimination”
Students at Eastside Catholic say they are one step closer to reinstating their ousted vice principal after the head of the school suddenly resigned on Tuesday.
Mark Zmuda was forced out of his job last month after the school discovered he married his male partner.
Many students and parents were are sad to see Sister Mary Tracy leave the private school, but some kids say its exactly what needs to happen to change the school’s stance on same-sex marriage.
“The goal of this whole thing is to get Mr. Zmuda back,” said senior Julia Burns.
What started as sit-ins and protests nearly a month ago has turned into a national movement to reinstate Zmuda.
“Now that she’s gone we can hopefully hire a new head of school that can be more open minded and definitely more sympathetic to the situation and get Zmuda back,” Burns said.
The president of the school, Sister Mary Tracy, suddenly resigned on Tuesday. The news sent shockwaves through Sammamish.
Now some Eastside Catholic alumni say it’s time for Zmuda to get his job back, and they’re circulating a petition.
Alumni plan to turn in their petitions to the school’s board of trustee’s during Thursday’s meeting
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.
– Matt 18:20
That’s any two or three – including two or three gay and lesbian people.
Catholic teaching on LGBT people is crystal clear: we are to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, should be free of any unjust discrimination, and must be protected from any malice or actual violence, in speech or in action. It also includes, as Pope Francis recently reminded us, that it is not up to anybody else, even for himself, to judge others – including gay and lesbian people.
The experience of far too many gay and lesbian Catholics sadly, is that very many ordinary Catholics, and some priests and even bishops, simply ignore these compassionate elements of teaching to focus exclusively on the best known part of Vatican doctrine – that all genital acts outside of marriage and not open to procreation, are prohibited. That prohibition of course, applies equally to everybody – but those who rant and rail so frequently against homosexuals in the Church, are usually strangely silent on that.
LGBT writers on affirmative readings of Scripture have frequently used the story of Exodus and the escape from Egypt as an analogy for our journey from bondage to freedom, just as African Americans had previously done (for example, in the Negro spiritual “Let My People Go”). But when I began reading the excellent “Queer Bible Commentary”, it occurred to me that a more relevant story is what comes next: the forty years of wandering in the desert. (Allowing for some flexibility for poetic licence, it’s roughly forty years since Stonewall, one marker of the birth of the gay liberation movement). It was entirely appropriate therefore, that the theme for our fortieth anniversary conference was “From Wasteland to Promised Land”, which was described by guest speaker Daniel O’Leary not as a journey, but as a “blossoming”.
Last week I noted that in his visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis had not a word to say about gay marriage – even though this year alone, marriage equality has been approved in five countries, four states in the USA, (with more to come) and six in Brazil. Some bishops are warning that this represents the end of civilization as we know it – but it is clear from his silence that Pope Francis is not unduly concerned about it. There are far more important issues, more authentically Catholic concerns, that he believes we should be paying attention to. .
Today, he has delivered some thoughts which are more explicitly favourable, insisting that gays should be integrated into society, must not be marginalized or discriminated against, and should be welcomed into the priesthood. Welcome words indeed. There is in fact absolutely nothing new in this – it’s all absolutely standard, orthodox Catholic doctrine, which contains two parts. There is a compassionate side, directing that we should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and protected from unjust discrimination, and from violence or malice, in words or in deeds. Then there’s the harsh side, denying absolutely any hope of physical expression of our loves in genital acts. The problem has been that many bishops, and the previous two popes, have ignored or directly flouted the compassionate parts of teaching, focusing exclusively on the harshest bits. Francis is not in any way signalling a shift in actual teaching – but he is introducing some sorely needed balance. That alone is welcome.
There’s a way to go yet to introduce sanity into the Catholic Church approach to human sexuality, for people of any orientation, but this is a great start.
Pope Francis: ‘Integrate gays into society’
POPE Francis, in some of the most compassionate words from any pontiff on gays, said they should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society, but he reaffirmed Church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin. Continue reading Pope Francis' Gay Outreach→
The Catholic Masses with a particular focus on the pastoral needs of LGBT Catholics, their families and friends have now come to an end – and the Soho Masses community is preparing for the next phase in their growth and development, the transition to greater integration in regular parish life, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street, Mayfair.
It’s time to step back and examine some of the misinformation and outright lies that have mischievously been sown around these Masses, and about the move to Farm Street.
Is the Catholic Catechism a Gay Political Manifesto?
One of the odder objections raised to the Soho Masses in Warwick Street, was that on special occasions, they would drape a rainbow flag, or a set of rainbow coloured ribbons, over the lectern, or at the base of the altar. I had never really understood the particular intensity of the objections to this, until quite recently I came across a reference to the flag as a “political statement” – repeated this week, by a woman from the Catholic Herald who was interviewed for the BBC “Inside Out” program on the Masses. Now I can better understand the thinking – but that does not make it valid. The rainbow flag is a statement of identity, not a program of any political action. It is not associated with any political party, and does not promote any particular law. It is sometimes used to celebrate legal victories, especially over marriage equality, but the equal marriage cause is not universally agreed on by all LGBT people. The flag does not in any way belong exclusively to marriage activists. It is a symbol, not a political manifesto – so what does it symbolize? Continue reading Politics, Sin, and the Soho Masses→
Some time ago, I described how Catholic Voices arranged a supposedly public discussion on how Catholics should respond to the political debates on same – sex marriage – but when I and a friend attempted to register for the event, we found that at a Catholic Voices discussion about Catholics and gay marriage, gay Catholics were not welcome. I was therefore interested when I was contacted by the BBC religious affairs department recently, about participating in an email debate with a representative of the orthodox Catholic view, on that very subject. The original intention was for the discussion to be completed for publication on the BBC website for Sunday 10th, last week – but it seemed to take the producer a remarkably long time to track down someone willing to debate that topic with me. By the time he did have a volunteer (in the end, representing Catholic Voices), it was too late for publication last week, and the topic had somehow transformed into the more general one – “Can you be gay and Catholic?” Continue reading "Can you be gay and Catholic?" (I Go Head to head with "Catholic Voices")→
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