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.
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)
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.”
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
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.
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
There are Catholic saints who were “probably gay,” said Jesuit Fr. James Martin, the well-known author, against online commenters critical of Bishop John Stowe’s attendance at New Ways Ministry’s Symposium two weeks ago.
Martin posted a news story to his Facebook page about spiritual reflections Stowe gave at the Symposium. The priest, who has more than a half million followers online, commented on the story, “Another sign of welcome and building bridges.”
But some followers were critical of Stowe and Martin. Walter Maczynski said, “Any canonized saints would not be impressed.” That is when Martin offered his powerful reply:
“Some of them were probably gay. A certain percentage of humanity is gay, and so were most likely some of the saints. You may be surprised when you get to heaven to be greeted by LGBT men and women.”Source: – Bondings 2.0
Without waiting for some well-researched, detailed plan with action items and measurable goals, Catholics in Quebec must go out and share the Gospel, Pope Francis told the bishops of the province.
Meeting the 29 bishops of Quebec May 11, Francis said, “You’ve got to go, and it’s going to be messy,” according to Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, former president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The role of women in the church, he said, was discussed “in the context of where is the Spirit pushing the church.” Francis told them it is “vital” that more women be involved, including in decision making, “but the problem is that we cannot reduce it just to a question of function” — offices they can and cannot hold — although that is important, too.
“He was very clear that we need to bring the voice of women into the responsibility structures of the church,” the archbishop said.