Polish Catholics against Homophobia and Transphobia 

Perhaps the tide is turning for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Late last year, I made a 10-day visit to Poland, invited by the Campaign against Homophobia to give public addresses, interviews and a retreat for Faith and Rainbow, a group of LGBT Catholics.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Catholic opinion leaders like Catholic journalist Cezary Gawryś to get a sense of the state of affairs for Polish LGBT Catholics. Gawryś has been exploring the topic of LGBT people in the church.

Serving for two years as a volunteer counselor, he witnessed their efforts — spiritual, mental and also financial — to change their orientation. “I saw gay people who were not very affluent, taking loans to pay for their therapy,” he resumed. “The feeling of not being accepted by the church separated them from the community. They often isolated themselves from other people and carried on with their lonely struggle.”

Katarzyna Jabłońska, co-author with Gawryś of Challenging Love: Christians and Homosexuality, recounted an experience she had while working at home on the book. Her printer broke, and she asked her next-door neighbor, a good friend she had known for many years, to print it for her. Her friend returned, printout in hand, crying profusely, and told Jabłońska that one of her sons was gay. Although they had known each other for years, the neighbor had never spoken about her gay son until the printer incident.

Source: Global Sisters Report – National Catholic Reporter

SYMPOSIUM: Bishop Stowe Brings Message of Admiration and Respect – Bondings 2.0

It has been almost a month since New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss:  LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis,” took place in Chicago. Things have finally slowed down enough that we are able to report on it to you.  Over the next few days, we will be providing several posts about symposium highlights.

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Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv., addresses the symposium while New Ways Ministry co-founder Sr. Jeannine Gramick listens.

Based on the response of the over 300 participants, one of those highlights was the presence and speaking participation of Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv., of Lexington, Kentucky.  Stowe provided two scriptural reflections at the meeting, one at the Friday evening opening prayer service (Matthew 12:1-14) and one at the Saturday morning prayer service (Luke 6:37-45)

Source: SYMPOSIUM: Bishop Stowe Brings Message of Admiration and Respect – Bondings 2.0

Church of Scotland to issue LGBT apology?

A historic step towards allowing the first gay marriages in the Church of Scotland is expected to be taken at the General Assembly next week but it could still be years before such ceremonies take place.

While the sanctity of marriage will be debated the Kirk earlier claimed its move towards greater acceptance of gay marriage would not compromise the Church’s traditional view of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

According to the BBC, Moderator Designate the Reverend Dr Derek Browning said: “On Thursday afternoon the theological forum will be bringing a report to the General Assembly, and this year what they’re asking to do is for the assembly, first of all, to consider making an apology to the gay community for things that have been said in the past and the assembly will have to make up its mind on that.

“But also it’s going to be asking our legal questions committee to see what the issues are round about allowing ministers to perform same sex marriage if they choose to do so, and equally for safeguards for those who, for conscience sake, feel that this is not something they can do.”

Source: Church of Scotland to consider gay marriages

U.S. church wrestles with changing attitudes, pastoral practice toward L.G.B.T. Catholics | America Magazine

Last month, the bishop of Lexington, Ky., addressed hundreds of L.G.B.T. Catholics and their supporters who were meeting in Chicago at a New Ways Ministry national symposium, telling them, “Your presence and your persistence in the church is an inspiration for me and for many.”

Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M.Conv., told America that he accepted the group’s invitation because of a desire to engage in dialogue with Catholics who do not always feel welcome in the church. “Pope Francis talks about a culture of encounter, and that requires a lot of listening,” he said. “What I’ve seen among gay Catholics in my own diocese is a real desire to live their faith and the challenge to do so within a church that is not always accepting or labels them as disordered.”

month, the bishop of Lexington, Ky., addressed hundreds of L.G.B.T. Catholics and their supporters who were meeting in Chicago at a New Ways Ministry national symposium, telling them, “Your presence and your persistence in the church is an inspiration for me and for many.” Bishop John Stowe, O.F.M.Conv., told America that he accepted the group’s invitation because of a desire to engage in dialogue with Catholics who do not always feel welcome in the church. “Pope Francis talks about a culture of encou

Source: U.S. church wrestles with changing attitudes, pastoral practice toward L.G.B.T. Catholics | America Magazine

James Martin, S.J.: We need to build a bridge between LGBT community and the Catholic Church. | America Magazine


The relationship between the L.G.B.T. Catholic community and the Catholic Church in the United States has been at times contentious and combative, and at times warm and welcoming. Much of the tension characterizing this complicated relationship results from a lack of communication and, sadly, a good deal of mistrust, between L.G.B.T. Catholics and the hierarchy. What is needed is a bridge between that community and the church.
I invite you to walk with me on that important bridge. To that end, I would like to reflect on both the church’s outreach to the L.G.B.T. community and the L.G.B.T. community’s outreach to the church. Because good bridges take people in both directions.

Source:  America Magazine

Catholic Parishes Hold IDAHOBIT Prayer Vigils to Oppose Anti-LGBT Actions – Bondings 2.0

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An IDAHOBIT prayer vigil held in Milan, Italy, May 12, 2017

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia  (IDAHOBIT). While this commemoration is not widely marked here in the United States,  in other nations, particularly in Europe, it is an important time to oppose prejudice and discrimination.Catholic participation in IDAHOBIT has grown over the past few years.  According to Progetto Gionata, an Italian LGBT Christian group, reports that this year prayer vigils marking the occasion (over the course of a week) will be held in Catholic churches in seven Italian cities and one in Spain.

Source: Catholic Parishes Hold IDAHOBIT Prayer Vigils to Oppose Anti-LGBT Actions – Bondings 2.0

New Anti-Bullying Manual for Catholic Schools Is a Gift to the Church – Bondings 2.0

A new manual for Catholic school teachers in England and Wales on how to combat homophobia and biphobia has caused a bit of a minor controversy based on its origin, perhaps because the document offers strong practical advice on how to stop and prevent bullying of sexual minority students.

The document, entitled “Made in God’s Image:  Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic Schools” was produced by the Catholic Education Service of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, in partnership with St. Mary’s University, Twickenham.  The Catholic Herald reports, however, that some critics have questioned who contributed to the document:

“A covering letter accompanying the document, reported online, states the CES has ‘received funding to cover the printing and distribution of a hard copy for each school.’

“However, a spokesman said: ‘The document is a collaboration between the CES and St Mary’s and no external funding has been received for it.’ “

The critics said that portions of the document are very similar to anti-bullying materials produced by Stonewall and lgbtyouth Scotland, two leading UK LGBT equality organizations. Stonewall denied any involvement but said their materials are public and they’d be glad if their ideas were used by others.

What is most remarkable about this “controversy” is that the criticism seems intended to discredit what is a fine document on how to educate Catholic students about respecting gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.  Regardless of its source, the document explains its Catholic rationale very clearly.  Here are some excerpts from the first section:

Source:  – Bondings 2.0