Marriage equality is rapidly becoming routine across much of Western Europe, and also both North and South America. But that’s civil marriage. Gay weddings in church remain a rare exception, outside of a handful of local congregations and dioceses in the more progressive / liberal denominations. That too is changing though, as demonstrated by this Canadian report, on the country’s first ever gay wedding in a Mennonite church.
Saskatoon gay couple 1st to be married in Mennonite church
Craig Friesen and Matt Wiens were married on New Year’s Eve
Craig Friesen and Matt Wiens were married by the pastors of Nutana Mennonite Church
New Year’s Eve is a special time for many, and for Craig Friesen and Matt Wiens, it was especially meaningful.
The Saskatoon couple was married on Dec. 31 in Osler, Sask., in the presence of family, friends and the church community.
The men’s wedding marks a point in history for the Mennonite denomination in Canada. Friesen and Wiens are the first same-sex couple publicly married in a Canadian Mennonite church.
“Our relationship doesn’t feel different, but our relationship with our community and with our faith has changed at least a little bit. It was really beautiful and freeing,” Friesen said.
Craig Friesen and Matt Wiens were married on New Year’s Eve. (Rachel Bergen/CBC News)
Friesen and Wiens are hopeful other LGBT Mennonites will learn from their example that they don’t have to choose between their faith and their sexuality.
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”
Saturday 5th July saw a well–attended all–day workshop at London’s Heythrop College to mark the UK re-launch of the “Landings” programme to welcome back into the Church Catholics, who for one reason or another, feel disaffected or alienated from the Church and have either stopped participating in the life of the Church or who do so only sporadically. When I first read about this UK re-launch some months ago, I was enthusiastic, and signed up immediately: I was a beneficiary of the programme a few years ago, when it was a key point in my own journey (not back into the life of the Church, but into full participation in a local parish).
The published promotional material, under the title “Ministries of Welcoming in the Church: A Conference on Healing and Reconciliation” sounded good, with two keynote addresses, and supporting workshops dealing with specific groups of disaffected or alienated people:
A Jesuit production company is highlighting the experiences of LGBT Catholics in a YouTube series called Who Are We to Judge?, a reference Pope Francis’s response when asked about gay priests last summer.
Rev. Eddie Siebert, president of Culver City, California-based Loyola Productions, said that the series creates a space for LGBT Catholics to share their faith stories.
“We didn’t want to get into church teaching, and dogma, and doctrine,” said Siebert. “We just wanted to talk to faithful people who are gay and ask them to tell their stories.”
He explained that the staff at Loyola Productions, which runs the YouTube channel Ignatius News Network where the videos are posted, came up with the idea to create the series:
“We asked, ‘What can we do to highlight this issue in terms of being Catholic and being gay, and what this means for people?’”
Though some conservative Catholic groups have criticized the project, Siebert said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Conventionally, when people speak of “Romans 1” in the context of homosexuality, they are thinking in terms of the end of the chapter,verses 26 and 27, with their apparent condemnation. of homoerotic acts. There are two basic flaws with this assumption. As James Alison and others have pointed out, the division of the text into chapters and verses is relatively modern, and arbitrary. It is inappropriate to read these verses in isolation, without consideration of the full context. Reading the whole of Chapter 1, immediately followed by chapter, gives quite a different perspective on the intended lesson – that the passage as a whole, as of the full letter to the Romans, is a condemnation of hypocrisy.in judging others.
The North American Old Catholic Church is ordaining Shannon T.L. Kearns, a trans man, later this month. Kearns (right) will be responsible for starting a new parish in Minneapolis.
“The North American Old Catholic Church looks forward to establishing a presence in Minneapolis with the ordination of Father Kearns,” said Bishop Benjamin Evans, who is presiding over the ordination on January 19. “God’s Holy Spirit continues to bless us with growth.”
Founded in 2007, the North American Old Catholic Church has a mission of social justice, does not submit to the authority of the Pope, and is open to female and LGBT clergy.
“I am honored and humbled to have my calling to ministry affirmed by the North American Old Catholic Church,” says Kearns, who transitioned while studying at Union Theological Seminary in New York. “I look forward to many years serving as a priest.
Thousands of Dutch Catholics are researching how they can leave the church in protest at its opposition to gay marriage, according to the creator of a website aimed at helping them find the information.
Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the church, said traffic on ontdopen.nl (i.e. “de-baptise.nl”) had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedict’s latest denunciation of gay marriage this month.
“Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptized’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics,” Roes told Reuters.
He said he did not know how many visitors to the site actually go ahead and leave the church.