How to respond to Catholic internet trolls | America Magazine

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.

More at:  America Magazine

The Root Cause of Self-Harming Behavior in the LGBTQI Community

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.

More at: Freedhearts

Mercy can scandalize those who don’t see their own sin, pope says | National Catholic Reporter

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.”

More at: National Catholic Reporter

Gender Ideology, Transgender Reality: A Deacon Parent’s Perspective – Bondings 2.0

One morning this past spring, I found myself somewhere I honestly never could have imagined I would be: sitting in a dreary courtroom in Washington DC with my firstborn. We were patiently awaiting her turn before a judge.

It was a long way from the familiar, comfortable surroundings of my home and my Catholic parish in sunny Tampa Florida.  And it was an even longer way from a place I was almost ten years ago, a place of almost total ignorance of LGBTQ issues.  The issue that morning was a legal name change for my 23-year old transgender daughter, a recent graduate of Georgetown University.  The name change was another milestone in her challenging journey towards living as her authentic self.  While this milestone was certainly positive for my daughter, it forced me to reflect once again on the enormous and painful disconnect between the reality of the lives of transgender individuals and the rampant misinformation that often dominates discourse about transgender issues in both the Church and the public square.

Source: Deacon Ray Dever, at Bondings 2.0

Conservative Christians’ anti-marriage equality lines ‘betray gospel of grace’, says reverend | Australia news | The Guardian

The Parramatta Catholic Diocese and the St James Anglican church have both rejected the anti-marriage equality lines of conservative religious leaders in Sydney.

In pastoral letters to their flocks, the bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, suggested that Catholics vote according to their conscience and Reverend Andrew Sempell warned that “slippery slope” arguments employed by the no campaign “betray the gospel of grace”.

In his letter of 3 September, Sempell said that same-sex marriage is “not principally a faith issue”, noting that religious groups do not have a singular position on it.

“The Australian Christian Lobby … is neither representative of the churches, nor is it a religious group … it is a political lobby group that represents the interests of its members,” he said.

Source:  The Guardian

Jesuit leadership and America’s editor issue statements in support of James Martin, S.J. | America Magazine

America Media and the leadership of the Jesuits have released statements in support of Fr. James Martin, S.J., the author of the new book “Building a Bridge”  We have provided the text of these statements and links to PDF downloads below.


NEW YORK – On September 15, 2017, Theological College, the national seminary under the auspices of The Catholic University of America, announced their decision to rescind an invitation to Fr. James Martin, S.J., longtime editor at large of America magazine, to address the faculty and students during their upcoming Alumni Days celebration. According to a statement issued by Catholic University, the seminary’s decision to rescind the invitation was contrary to “the specific counsel received from the university and its leadership.” Theological College’s decision followed the recent cancellation of Father Martin’s scheduled appearance at the annual investiture dinner for The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and of a lecture he was to deliver for CAFOD, the Catholic international development charity.


More at: America Magazine

“Going to Wings”: A Catholic Lesbian’s Memoir of Coming Out – Bondings 2.0

“The struggle of the gay Christian’s complicated effort to reconcile sexuality and faith is often overlooked by church leaders and more secular gays. But it is a complex, and deeply engaging journey.”     –George Hodgman, author of Bettyville

It has taken me seventy years to write my “coming out” memoir, Going to Wings, because I had to live it in order to write it. When I was twenty-seven years old, I tried to tell my mother that I was gay. That day of “The Telling” was a dividing point in my life. My mother’s reaction was so bad that I couldn’t follow through with my decision to be public. She said that she would have to move away, that she couldn’t live in our town if I was going to be gay.

From that day forward, and for the next thirty years, I tried to change myself. I decided that day that I would not be gay and that I would be “as good as I could be.” I would never have to feel guilty again. That period was the beginning of my leaving the Baptist Church and becoming a Catholic. The Catholic Church, I believed then, would tell me in no uncertain terms what was right and what was wrong. Not to be gay would be “right.” At age twenty-seven, I gave myself to the Catholic Church. For twenty-five years I played the organ for the Saturday night vigil, and I cantored the Psalm. Singing the Psalms was my way of praying. And I formed a close celibate relationship with my good Catholic friend, “Teeny.”

More from : Sandra Worsham, guest blogger at Bondings 2.0

Cardinal Wuerl: Pope sees ‘journeying together’ as essential to life of church – The Arlington Catholic Herald

The process of “journeying together” during the Catholic Church’s synods of bishops examining contemporary challenges on marriage and family life offers a map for the church’s outreach, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said Sept. 12.

This process reflects not only the pontiff’s pastoral approach, but also offers a template for how priests and laypeople can accompany others to help them understand and live the faith, he said.

Cardinal Wuerl made the remarks at Georgetown University in an address on “Pope Francis: Fresh Perspectives on Synodality” as part of the university’s Dahlgren Chapel Sacred Lecture series.


Source: Cardinal Wuerl: Pope sees ‘journeying together’ as essential to life of church – The Arlington Catholic Herald

Australian bishop on same-sex marriage: Listen to ‘signs of the times’

Although most Australian bishops are urging a “no” vote on an upcoming national plebiscite regarding gay marriage, two prelates are singing outside the chorus. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen of Parramatta says the vote “should be an opportunity for us to witness to our deep commitment to the ideal of Christian marriage … but it should also be an opportunity for
us to listen to what the Spirit is saying through the signs of the times.”

After statements from several Australian bishops reaffirming Church teaching to Catholics in the country ahead of an upcoming vote on same-sex marriage, a two bishops are singing outside the chorus, with one of them saying it’s a “decision each person is free to make.”

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, appointed by Pope Francis to the diocese of Parramatta, also said that just like the legalization of divorce didn’t change the law of the Church, whatever the outcome of the same-sex plebiscite that will take place later this year, it won’t change the teaching of the Church.

“The Church will continue to hold that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, directed both to mutual companionship and to the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured,” he wrote.

More at: Crux

‘I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression’ – Sister Jeannine Gramick on 40+ years of ministry among LGBT Catholics – A brave faith

THESE were the courageous words of the keynote speaker at this year’s annual conference of Quest, which offers pastoral support for LGBT Catholics in the UK.Sister Jeannine Gramick has cared and campaigned for the LGBT community in the USA since 1971, two years before Quest was founded.I first heard about Sister Jeannine in 1999 when, together with her colleague Fr Robert Nugent, she was ordered by the Vatican to cease this work, which had developed into a social justice centre working for reconciliation, called New Ways Ministry.

While Fr Nugent chose to comply with the order, Sister Jeannine did not. She rejected a request not to speak publicly about homosexuality, or about the Vatican investigation into her ministry, stating publicly,

‘I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right, she says. To me this is a matter of conscience.’

Source: – A brave faith