Pope: Spirit helps church see mortal sin in slavery, death penalty | CNS top stories

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Faith is a journey guided by the Holy Spirit, who helps the church grow in understanding the sinful nature of once-accepted practices like slavery and the death penalty, Pope Francis said.

While people once even used religious reasons to justify practices such as slavery, the death penalty and “wars of religion,” over time the Holy Spirit has deepened the church’s understanding of the Gospel, the pope said May 11 in his homily during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Slavery “is a mortal sin; today we say this. Back then, some would say that this could be done because these people did not have a soul!” he said. The number of people enslaved today is “even more, but at least we know that it is a mortal sin. The same goes for the death penalty; for a time, it was normal. Today, we say that the death penalty is inadmissible.”

Source: CNS top stories

Scottish School Apology Is a Model for the Church – Bondings 2.0

In Scotland, a Catholic secondary school official responded in an extremely appropriate and effective way when anti-gay leaflets were discovered on campus: he apologized to the students.

Glasgow’s Herald newspaper reported that when Stephen Phee, the Head teacher (chief administrator) at St. Mungo’s school, Falkirk, was informed of the leaflets’ existence by the student who discovered them, he immediately offered an apology. The student, Aidan Callaghan, said:

“Mr. Phee apologised straight away and said they shouldn’t have been there, and he would investigate how they got there.”

Source:  Bondings 2.0

N.J. cardinal offers historic welcome to LGBT community | Faith Matters | NJ.com

Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

David Harvie was at a regional meeting in Brooklyn of the Interparish Collaborative, a group of about 15 Catholic parishes in the tri-state area that minister to the LGBT community.  He was seated next to Redemptorist Father Francis Gargani and talked about how there are so many beautiful church edifices that deserve to be seen.

“I am a church architecture geek,” Harvie said, mentioning, for example, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.

Gargani, who resides at the Redemptorist Provincial House in Brooklyn, said he would bring it up to the new Archbishop of Newark, Joseph Cardinal Tobin, also a Redemptorist, who was coming to dinner the next evening.

Soon after, Harvie would get the green light to have an LGBT pilgrimage to the cathedral on Sunday, May 21, with a Mass that Gargani will say in Our Lady Chapel, followed by a tour of the cathedral.

Source: N.J. cardinal offers historic welcome to LGBT community | Faith Matters | NJ.com

Church of Ireland faces north-south divide over gay marriage stance – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

A north-south divide emerged within the Church of Ireland last night as Synod members voted down a proposal to change its attitude to same-sex unions.

The annual gathering rejected the motion to soften its stance and understanding on same-sex marriage, and its relationships with members of the gay and lesbian community. However it has tasked the Bishops with examining the further theological differences, with a view to proposing a way forward.

After a wide ranging and moving two-hour debate at the annual meeting in Limerick, the governing General Synod voted by 176 to 146 to reject the motion, which was aimed at developing a public thanksgiving service for legally married same-sex couples. There were 24 abstentions.

Source:  BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

New Ways Ministry sees ‘hope and frustration’ for LGBT Catholics | National Catholic Reporter

New Ways Ministry, the 40-year-old advocacy group for LGBT Catholics, brought its eighth national symposium here April 28-30 with what one presenter called feelings of both “hope and frustration.”

The conference highlighted the sense of optimism that under the leadership of Pope Francis there was reason to hope for a lessening of discrimination towards gays and an advancement of their civil rights within the church.

“Pope Francis has unlocked a new era of openness and dialogue on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics,” New Ways Ministry’s executive director, Frank DeBernardo told some 300 attendees. Still injustices abound.

Source: National Catholic Reporter

Bishop John Stowe leads prayer at LGBT Catholic gathering | National Catholic Reporter

Clad in traditional brown Franciscan robes, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, seemed at home among the rainbow of colors at New Ways Ministry‘s eighth annual symposium here April 28-30. This was the first time that the bishop had spoken in front of the advocacy group, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics.

“New Ways Ministry made me want to come here,” the bishop told NCR during a 40-minute interview at the gathering. He has been observing and admiring the group’s outreach to LGBT Catholics over several years, he added.

New Ways Ministry director Frank DeBernardo invited Stowe, 51, after he’d heard the bishop give scriptural reflections at the 2016 annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” DeBernardo said, comparing Stowe’s words to those of Pope Francis and to St. Francis of Assisi. All three men seemed to be saying that “it was the church’s job to take the Gospel to the margins,” DeBernardo said.

Source: Bishop John Stowe leads prayer at LGBT Catholic gathering | National Catholic Reporter

How to Sustain Hope When Troubles Are Near and Justice Feels Far Off – Bondings 2.0

This past weekend, hundreds of Catholics gathered for New Ways Ministry’s Symposium focusing on how justice and mercy can work together for LGBT Catholics in the age of Pope Francis. The event proceeded with an awareness about the injustices LGBT people currently endure in our world: persecutions in Chechnya, Uganda, and elsewhere; the firing of LGBT church workers; criminalization laws; gay men being rejected from the priesthood; exclusion from the sacraments at parishes; lack of access to quality healthcare; and many more.

Facing these realities can be difficult; it is easy to slip into hopelessness. But imagination can help keep hope alive in darkening times. Bonding 2.0’s Associate Editor, Robert Shine. explored this topic in Pax Christi USA’s latest newsletter

Source: Bondings 2.0