The recent uproar over Theological College’s decision to disinvite our colleague, Father James Martin, in response to organized pressure via social media offers several important lessons. The pattern of bullies and trolls being incited to strong-arm an organization or institution into cancelling a speaker whom they find objectionable is an increasingly common tactic among an array of ideological factions, as President John Garvey of the Catholic University of America has observed. Leaders in the church should think carefully about how to respond.
First, it is neither possible nor prudent to expect to be able to surrender to the internet troll and get to the other side of the bridge unscathed, with controversy avoided and no one the wiser. Recognizing this requires only attention to the current media environment, not theological analysis: Either the threatened disruptions or the cancellation of the speech will become the story, but once the trolls have a target in their sights, the story will not pass without notice.
Cutting, drug-abuse, suicide. Way too often we hear the tragic story of another LGBTQI person struggling. Is there a core issue, a common reason? I believe there is. We cannot underestimate the impact of family and faith-based rejection. Of being told that you are an abomination to God, of being kicked out of homes and rejected by the very people who were supposed to love you no matter what.
Recently, a Mom contacted me about her gay son. I wanted to share our interaction with you.
Celebrating the feast of St. Matthew, the anniversary of the day when as a 17-year-old he said he was overwhelmed by God’s mercy, Pope Francis said it was interesting how many Catholics today seem to be scandalized when God shows mercy to someone.
In his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae Sept. 21, Pope Francis looked in depth at the day’s short Gospel story of the calling of St. Matthew.
The story, the pope said, has three parts: “the encounter, the celebration and the scandal.”
Jesus sees Matthew, a tax collector — “one of those who made the people of Israel pay taxes to give to the Romans, a traitor to his country” — and calls him to follow. Jesus looks at him “lovingly, mercifully” and “the resistance of that man who wanted money, who was a slave to money, falls.”
Pope Francis on Tuesday decided to reboot one of the signature institutions of the St. Pope John Paul II era in Catholicism, the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. From now on it will be a theological institute, with the mandate of exploring the “lights and shadows” of family life with “realism” and “love,” while also staying faithful to the Church’s teaching.
ROME – Pope Francis on Tuesday decided to upgrade an institute for studies on marriage and family named for St. John Paul II and established by the Polish pope in 1981, replacing it with a pontifical theological institute designed to explore the “lights and shadows” of family life with “realism” and “love,” while also staying faithful to the Church’s teaching.
With a legal document known as a motu proprio published on Tuesday, the Vatican announced that the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family will now be replaced by the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences.
In a notable contribution to a document on LGBT discrimination and belief for the UN Human Rights Commission, Krzysztof Charamsa lays out all the ways in which the Catholic Church actively discriminates against LGBTI Catholics. It’s not comfortable reading.
One of the key points in my own thinking about the Catholic Church and queer Catholics, came when I heard Charamsa speak at the 2019 conference of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups in Gdansk. Like many others, I’ve been delighted by the notable change in pastoral tone coming from the church, ever since Pope Francis took on the see of Rome. Charamsa’s talk in Gdansk however, was a sobering reminder that notwithstanding the changes in pastoral tone, core doctrines remain unchanged – and these can be extremely damaging, even dangerous, to the emotional, spiritual and even physical health of LGBT Catholics.
Catholic bloggers and others are rallying to support yet another Catholic smeared by right-wing Catholic media last week. Rebecca Bratten Weiss believes the same colleagues who gathered “evidence” for the negative article about her also contributed to her adjunct teaching contract not being renewed this year.
Ever since she spoke out against some pro-lifers’ support of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, Bratten Weiss has been criticized by Catholics on the extreme right, so she has been “meticulous about not saying anything that could be used against me,” she told NCR.
If you’re looking for a Catholic priest who inspires people—and makes them laugh and think—James Martin, SJ, is your guy. At the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s annual conference, he’s greeted like a rock star by swarms of young Catholics who devour his books and remember him as Stephen Colbert’s “chaplain” on the Colbert Report. To say this is unusual is an understatement. Millennials are leaving the church in droves, turned off in part by an institution that has made opposition to same-sex marriage central to Catholic identity in the public square.
This generation of Catholics remains inspired by the church’s rich social justice tradition, has no patience for the culture wars, and is disgusted that their religious leaders are often perceived to be fighting against the human rights of gay people. When I heard the news last Friday that the seminary at Catholic University of America canceled a scheduled talk from Martin because a network of Catholic right attack dogs launched an ugly campaign against him, I cringed. The already-thin thread barely connecting these young Catholics to the institutional church just got thinner. Self-inflicted wounds are hard to heal.
‘It was very clear that the 2017 talk was cancelled. And it was clear why: concerns and fears over negative publicity surrounding my LGBT book’
The leading Jesuit, Fr James Martin SJ has said Cafod cancelled a planned October lecture in London because of controversy over his new book, “‘Building a Bridge,’ which calls for further dialogue between the Catholic Church and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics who feel alienated from the Church.
Speaking to The Tablet on Tuesday (19 September), Fr Martin said Cafod’s most recent statement about the keynote talk “is not entirely accurate, and I’m sorry to have to correct the record.”
Cafod, the Catholic international aid agency, has denied that it withdrew an invitation for Fr Martin to speak at an event in London.
Both bishops observe that this is not a survey on Church (sacramental) marriage but on civil marriage, marriage according to the law of the State. The question has no impact on church practices nor on our freedom of religion.
Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta and Bishop Bill Wright of Maitland-Newcastle have effectively removed any “Catholic” arguments against supporting marriage equality and stress the responsibility of Catholics to discern carefully in determining their “vote”.
Christians must be very confused about how their religious beliefs should influence their views on the current marriage equality survey, officially described in the ABS mail-out as “Your Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey”.
Some so-called Christian positions seem to suggest that there is an inherent Christian exclusion of the possibility of civil same-sex marriage. The most careful and authoritative Christian analyses to date may have come from separate pastoral…
I hope David Tacey’s book is another doorway into the realisation of the importance of metaphor. It rightly argues that the new atheism and fundamentalism are both misunderstanding the stories literalistically.
I regularly encounter a fear that if someone questions the historicity (or validity) of a detail in the Bible, then the whole fabric of the Bible might unravel. “You cannot believe half of it, so why believe any of it?”
Many stories in the Bible, however, are not about something that happened somewhere else at another time, they are stories about what is always happening (including here and now) – and that’s what gives them their power. The right question to ask of such stories is not: what actually happened? But: what does it mean?