British bishops tackle anti-LGBT bullying in Catholic schools | National Catholic Reporter

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in British Catholic schools will likely feel safer this coming academic year, thanks to a new set of guidelines for educators aimed at reducing bullying directed toward sexual minorities. The publication of these guidelines is a milestone in Catholic outreach to the LGBT community because they are the first initiative to counter bullying that has been produced by a Catholic bishops’ conference.

Toward the end of the last school year, the Catholic Education Service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, in partnership with St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, produced Made in God’s Image: Challenging Homophobic and Biphobic Bullying in Catholic Schools. The 36-page booklet offers a solid Catholic rationale for countering such bullying and, practically, it provides a series of eight lesson plans for discussing respect for lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals with middle school children. (Transgender people are not mentioned in the general sections of the document, bullying against them is mentioned briefly in the lesson plans.)

Source:  National Catholic Reporter

Church reform groups support call for Year of the Laity | National Catholic Reporter

Emboldened by Pope Francis, church reformers are endorsing a call by the Brazilian bishops for a Year of the Laity, expanded to include conferences and observances around the world from November of this year until November 2018.

The meetings will focus on why “the people of God need to be treated equally in the church” and “the people taking the Gospel out into the world,” Rene Reid, director of Catholic Church Reform International, told NCR.

Full report: National Catholic Reporter

Catholic woman bishop on Irish vocations recruitment drive

Five women who believe they have a vocation to the Catholic priesthood have contacted a US delegation visiting Ireland this month to recruit female priests.

From the US-based Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), the delegation is being led by Irish-born Bishop Mary Bridget Meehan, who is accompanied by Rev Mary Theresa Streck and Rev Joan Chesterfield.

Speaking of the five women seeking ordination, Bishop Meehan told The Irish Times they “already have theology degrees and diplomas in spirituality”.

A Mass celebrated by Bishop Meehan, in a community centre on Dublin’s South Circular, was attended by “35 to 40” people earlier this month, while the delegation met a similar number more recently in Drogheda.

Source: Irish Times

We must welcome gays, lesbians as they ‘were created to be’ | National Catholic Reporter

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.”
— St. Catherine of Siena

Some time ago a priest friend posted the above quote on his Facebook page. The phrase was new to me but it struck me as a wonderful inspiration to anyone who feels downtrodden by others because of who they are. Quite instinctively, I applied St. Catherine’s command to myself as a gay Catholic.

Believing that God created me as a gay man, I see that He creates all types of people, and not all of them are straight. While some believe that homosexuality is a choice or a decision brought about by circumstance, the church has recognized that for most gay and lesbian people, their same-sex attraction is a deep-seated orientation that is innate to their being.

Full report: |National Catholic Reporter

Catholic schools balance gay-straight alliance clubs with beliefs | National Catholic Reporter

 nullWhether named Gay-Straight Alliance, Inclusivity Club, or something else, Catholic schools in Ontario now allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) acceptance student groups because they have to, but many districts are proactively supporting gay-straight alliances, and many students find their school to be a much more empathetic place.

“A lot of people do get the impression of oh, gay club, and they’re like, oh I can’t go because I’m not gay. And it’s like, well, no, that’s the reason it’s ‘gay-straight alliance,’ ” said Katie Butler, a 12th grade student at St. Anne’s Catholic School in the Windsor-Essex district. “It’s a safe space where you can go and talk about things. Where you know you’re going to be accepted in that area. It’s very educational, I’d say.”

Source: Catholic schools balance gay-straight alliance clubs with beliefs | National Catholic Reporter

The Time Is Now for Church’s Sexuality Dialogue – Bondings 2.0

The National Catholic Reporter’s editors have called for a “Time for dialogue on sexual ethics” as a response to recent developments in the world of Catholic LGBT issues.

The publication of Jesuit Father James Martin’s book,  Building a Bridge, which examines the relationship between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, along with Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s recent decree banning lesbian and gay married people from most of parish life, have highlighted, respectively, a path to better dialogue in the church and an example of the worst of episcopal excesses in regard to sexuality.

Read more: The Time Is Now for Church’s Sexuality Dialogue – Bondings 2.0

Pope Francis: I’m saddened by ‘perfect’ Catholics who despise others | America Magazine

God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said.
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The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a “clear separation” between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience.

“There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect,” the pope said. “And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad.”

Read more:  America Magazine