This photo captures members of a Kenyan LGBT church making preparations for their weekly Sunday worship service. To safeguard their anonymity, the photo only shows their back.
The service takes place in a room in a commercial property, hired for a couple of hours every Sunday. The room is a rather plain space, and in order to create a more intimate sphere a curtain is carefully put on the wall in the front. Unsurprisingly, the curtain is in rainbow colours. The rainbow is, of course, the international symbol of LGBT pride. Yet it also is a biblical symbol referring to God’s covenant with humankind in all its diversity. Both meanings are naturally integrated in the context of these LGBT Christians worshipping. The colours symbolise that they belong to what Desmond Tutu has described as “the rainbow people of God”.
More: Religion in Public
Thato Moletsi pauses for a while, mulling over my question: What ultimately led him, a transgender man, to take the Botswana government to court in a bid to have the gender marker on his ID changed from female to male?
“You know,” the 28-year-old teacher says, eventually, “I have been depressed before. I have tried committing suicide before. I eventually got to a point where I realised that, if I died, I would die in the eyes of the law as a woman. So, I told myself: ‘Either you die a woman or you live and fight for your recognition as a man.’ And there was no way I was going to continue living without fulfilling this dream. No way.”
It wasn’t easy. Moletsi (not his real name) initiated the court action in 2011. “Those seven years … it was a very, very tough road. There were times when I thought, ‘what will I do if this doesn’t swing my way?’ But I didn’t have an answer for that, so the only thing I kept thinking was, ‘this will go my way’.”
In a recent radio interview, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-Freising said the Catholic Church needs to provide better pastoral support for lesbian or gay people but stopped short of endorsing blessings for same-sex couples as a general practice or policy.
At the same time, he appeared to leave open the possibility of such blessings in individual cases. Marx is the third German bishop, and the highest-ranking by far, to have raised the possibility of same-sex blessings in recent months.
Marx, the archbishop of Munich, is one of the most influential leaders in the Catholic Church. He serves on Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, heads the German Bishops’ Council, and is president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community.
Source: National Catholic Reporter
Amid debates in the German-speaking world over whether the Church should bless same-gender couples, two parishes in Austria have already begun doing so alongside the blessing heterosexual couples on Valentine’s Day.
Two parishes in the Diocese of Linz, Wels-St. Francis and the Ursuline Church, offered the blessings for all couples this week, as they have done for several years. Diocesan newspaper KirchenZeitung reported (the following is a computerized translation, so it is “rough” in a few places):
“I am glad that we can access the symbolic treasure chest of the church. The ritual has a tremendous power. We underline the importance of relationships,” says Irmgard Lehner, parish assistant in Wels-St. Francis. In Lehner’s parish, there have been blessings for Valentine’s Day for many years, the last one took place last Sunday. Dozens of lovers had their hands put on and make a sign of the cross on their foreheads. Whether couples in love or long-married couples, whether people in happy or momentarily troubled relationships. Everyone is welcome.
More: New Ways Ministry
Questions about whether a German cardinal and adviser to Pope Francis suggested he could envision church blessings for same-sex couples have led the German Bishops Conference to release a translation of his remarks, in which they seek to clarify that he was endorsing pastoral care for gay Catholics rather than recognition of relationships.
According to a transcript provided by the German Bishops Conference, when Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising is asked if he “can imagine that there might be a way to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church?” he responds by saying, “There are no general solutions and I think that would not be right, because we are talking about pastoral care for individual cases, and that applies to other areas as well, which we cannot regulate, where we have no sets of rules.”
More: America Magazine
Blessings for same-gender couple may be permissible, said a leading German bishop and advisor to Pope Francis.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising made his remarks in an interview over the weekend, reported Crux. The cardinal said that pastoral care which accompanies people in their concrete circumstances is the “fundamental orientation,” one promoted by Pope Francis. Marx said such care must include lesbian and gay people. Asked whether he could imagine blessing a same-gender couple, Marx replied:
“Yes, however there are no general solutions. That would not be right, I think. It’s about pastoral care for individual cases, and that applies in other areas as well, which we can not regulate, where we have no sets of rules. That does not mean that nothing happens.
Source: – New Ways Ministry
An Irish Cardinal has forced a major international conference on women’s rights to move from the Vatican as he objected to former president Mary McAleese, who is the keynote speaker at the event.
Dublin-born Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who is overseeing the Vatican’s preparations for the World Meeting of Families in Ireland in August, attempted to block Dr McAleese from addressing the ‘2018 Voices of Faith’ conference, which will take place on International Women’s Day on March 8.
Correspondence seen by the Irish Independent reveals a stand-off occurred between the conference organisers and Cardinal Farrell over his withholding of approval not just for Dr McAleese but two other speakers as well.
The Irish Independent understands that Dr McAleese’s views on gay rights is the reason the prelate objected. She has previously spoken about how son Justin, as a devout young Catholic, was bullied because he was gay.