Symposium in Honour of Ugandan LGBT Rights Defender Bishop Christopher Senyonjo – Religion in Public

We are delighted to announce that the University of Leeds is awarding an honorary degree to Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, and that a symposium will be held to celebrate this occasion.

Rev. Senyonjo served the Church of Uganda as Bishop of the Diocese of West Buganda from 1974 till his retirement in 1998. He has been one of the few religious leaders in Uganda, and indeed in Africa, who actively supports members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and advocates for the recognition of their human rights, in a context of widespread social and political homo- and trans-phobia.

The honorary degree will be awarded to Senyonjo during the graduation ceremony of the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures at the University of Leeds on 17 July 2018.

Source: – Religion in Public

France’s Dioceses Adjust to Marriage Equality By Welcoming LGBT People – New Ways Ministry

Since France legalized same-sex marriage (“mariage pour tous” or “marriage for all”) in 2013, support for LGBT persons in the French Catholic Church has grown immensely. Already 35 French dioceses have “missioned” people to begin to close the wide gap between the LGBT community and the Church.

Many of these dioceses have opened the conversation surrounding LGBT issues and how these topics intersect with Christian beliefs by establishing dialogue groups. For example, the diocese of Créteil created discussion and support groups called “Se parler,” meaning “to talk with each other,” noted the French Catholic news outlet La Croix, which recently published a major article about the phenomenon. Established by Bishop Michel Santier, the groups seek to create a space for church members whose lives have been affected by the Church’s often harsh stance on LGBT issues, and treatment of LGBT persons.

Source: New Ways Ministry

In Sign of Progress, Two Italian Bishops Lead Prayer Vigils Against Anti-LGBT Discrimination – New Ways Ministry

At least two Italian bishops participated in vigils marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) this past May.

Archbishop Corrado Lorefice of Palermo composed a prayer for an ecumenical vigil in that city which he helped lead, and he encouraged Catholic parishes to recite it at Mass. A La Repubblica article, translated into English here by the Italian LGBT group Progetto Gionata, quoted the archbishop:

“While we firmly deplore that homosexual persons have been and are still subjected to malicious expressions and violent actions, we pray that Christians, living on the grace of the Gospel, bear witness and proclaim, with prophetic audacity, the unconditional respect due to each person and denounce all forms of discrimination and marginalization.”

Source: New Ways Ministry

‘We Are Family’: Mary McAleese, Gay Son, and His Husband Will March in Dublin Pride Parade – New Ways Ministry

As preparations continue for August’s World Meeting of Families in Dublin, former Irish President and practicing Catholic Mary McAleese remains committed to showing her support for LGBTQ communities by marching in June 30th’s Pride parade in Ireland’s capital. She will be in attendance with her son, Justin McAleese, and his husband.
Mary McAleese and her son Justin
The Irish Independent reported on the former president’s statement:

“She said she will be taking part in the march with ‘my gay son and his wonderful husband,’ as well as her husband, daughters, some of her brothers and sisters and maybe even her elderly mother – if they can organize a wheelchair for her.

“ ‘We are family and that is what we will be showcasing – showcasing Ireland at its absolute best,’ she said.”

Source: ‘- New Ways Ministry

Equality in the Church Only Comes When LGBT Communities and Catholic Women Act Together – New Ways Ministry

Unless LGBT equality and gender equality occur simultaneously in the Catholic Church, there will be no justice at all, said Jamie Manson in a recent essay for the National Catholic Reporter.
Jamie Manson

Manson’s latest “Grace on the Margins” column is a call for church reformers to practice intersectional solidarity (for more information on what intersectionality is click here). The problem today, she wrote, was “this enduring sense that the church’s treatment of women and LGBTQ persons are separate issues.” Such thinking has led to a siloing of the issues:

Source: – New Ways Ministry

Conscience takes priority over church teaching, says Catholic Catechism

Judging by their attitudes to Yes voters in the referendum, it is clear some priests, and perhaps even a bishop, need to consult the Cathechism of the Catholic Church and documents of the Second Vatican Council. Whether it comes to marriage in their church, the location of a Vincent de Paul clothes bank, or attendance at confession, Catholics who voted Yes in conscience need not heed such clergy. The weight of church teaching this past 50 years is on their side, not that of the finger-waggers.

Source: Irish Times

Church of Scotland to change laws to allow same-sex marriages in churches

Although same-sex marriages outside of churches has been legal in Scotland since 2014, the Scottish Church’s law hadn’t changed.

However, last week the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly voted by 345 to 170 votes to start changing their laws so same-sex couples can marry in their churches.

The measure was proposed by Rev. Bryan Kerr. Speaking to iNews, Rev. Tom Gordon said: “I have two daughters, both of whom are married. I have one gay daughter in a same-sex marriage.

“When my older daughter got married she had a choice – to ask me to conduct her service as a minister or for me to walk her down the aisle as her dad.

“But when my younger daughter got married, she had no such choice. Give people a choice – allow their marriage to be conducted by a minister. With God’s blessing.”

Source: Gay Times

Transgender brain scans promised as study shows structural differences in people with gender dysphoria

People questioning their gender identity could be offered brain scans to determine whether they are transgender, according to a new study.

Breakthrough research has revealed for the first time evidence that the brain activity of people who feel they inhabit the wrong body closely resembles that of the gender they want to embrace.

Analysis of around 160 participants showed that biological males with gender dysphoria – the experience of discomfort or distress due to their biological sex – had a brain structure and neurological patterns similar to biological females, and vice versa.

The analysis revealed that the distinct neurological differences are detectable during childhood.

Source: Telegraph

Italian archbishop endorses a ‘new pastoral attitude’ for L.G.B.T Catholics 

Archbishop Matteo Zuppi (Photo/Community of Sant'Egidio website)Archbishop Matteo Zuppi (Photo/Community of Sant’Egidio website)

Un ponte da costruire—that’s the Italian translation of the work by James Martin, S.J., Building a Bridge. We can’t help but pay attention to the two halves of the title. First of all, the word “bridge” (ponte in Italian), an expression beloved by Pope Francis, one that brings into respectful communication, potentially empathetic and full of sensitivity, two different groups present in our own church: pastors, and the entire community (both variegated and complex) of homosexual persons, which Father Martin—as he explains in the text—prefers to indicate with the acronym L.G.B.T. He uses the term without ideological intent, but instead with the desire to call these communities by the same name they have given themselves.

Source:  America Magazine

Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like this’ 

A survivor of clerical sexual abuse has said Pope Francis told him that God had made him gay and loved him, in arguably the most strikingly accepting comments about homosexuality to be uttered by the leader of the Roman Catholic church.

Juan Carlos Cruz, who spoke privately with the pope two weeks ago about the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of Chile’s most notorious paedophiles, said the issue of his sexuality had arisen because some of the Latin American country’s bishops had sought to depict him as a pervert as they accused him of lying about the abuse.

Source: The Guardian