It seems the center of Catholic LGBT news right now is Australia, where a non-binding plebiscite over marriage equality has ignited an intense debate in which Catholics are heavily involved.
Earlier this week, Bondings 2.0 reported that Melbourne’s Archbishop Denis Hart had threatened to fire church workers who entered same-gender civil marriages, should marriage equality be legalized in the future. Now, a fellow archbishop has clarified the archbishop’s comments.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission, claimed Archbishop Hart’s comments had been misreported. Costelloe said individual bishops would decide how to handle such cases should marriage equality become legal. He continued, according to The Christian Post:
“Normally such issues would be addressed, in the first instance, in discussions between the staff member concerned and the local leadership of the school. The aim would be to discover a way forward for the school and the staff member that preserves the Catholic ethos of the school.”
Much has changed for LGBT Catholics since I first began this site, nearly nine years ago. In the institutional church under Pope Francis’ leadership, there’s been a marked shift to a more pastoral tone, to replace the harsh rhetoric under Pope Benedict XVI. At the Bishops’ Synod on Marriage and Family, even some conservative bishops acknowledged that the time has come to discard the “disordered” language in official teaching, some others even expressed apologies for the past harsh treatment of our community. In many Catholic countries, laws have been enacted to recognise same-sex marriage or civil unions. In response, an increasing number of bishops have come to recognise the value of legal recognition and protection for same-sex couples, even if not yet for full marriage. Under the radar, a much smaller number of bishops and other clergy are coming to support church blessings for these couples, to celebrate their civil marriages or civil unions.
I am a Christian, a person deeply formed by the Church and its gospel. Even more, I am a Baptist minister. For the past 35 years I have given my life to understanding, living and proclaiming the message of Jesus. It is because of this, not in spite of it, that I’ll be voting “yes” in the upcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
There is nothing that goes to the heart of human identity as much as our sexuality. It is that God-given reminder, persistent and powerful, that we are made for relationship — intimate, covenant relationship. When our need for intimate communion with another human being is violated through the horrors of sexual abuse, cheapened through sexual infidelity, or invalidated through sacraments of love that exclude, it is not only our rights that are threatened, but our identity as those created in God’s image.
Yesterday, Bondings 2.0 featured excerpts from an interview with former Vatican priest Krzysztof Charamsa who came out as a partnered gay man before the 2015 Synod on the Family.
The previous post covered Charamsa’s thoughts on the Vatican’s panic over “gender ideology,” the deficiency at the Vatican of knowledge about gender and sexuality, church officials’ odd language about homosexuality, and the roots of church leaders’ opposition to equality for LGBT people and women.
Today’s post offers excerpts from Charamsa on Pope Francis, positive aspects of theology today, and what his hopes are for LGBT Catholics. You can read the full interview in the online journal Religion and Gender by clicking here. To read more about Charamsa’s story, click here.
In a new interview, a former Vatican official has shed light on how church offices in Rome function and the alarmist posture which church officials have reportedly taken against gender and sexuality issues. Today and tomorrow, Bondings 2.0 will highlight some key points from a much longer interview with the former official that you can read here.
For many years, Krzysztof Charamsa was a priest involved in the inner workings of the Vatican. He worked for both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as second secretary of the International Theological Commission, as well as teaching at Rome’s Gregorian University. But in 2015, he came out publicly as a partnered gay man in advance of the Synod on the Family. He was immediately removed from his Vatican posts and from the priesthood. To read more about his story, click here.
Charamsa shared information and insights about his time at the Vatican with the online journal Religion and Gender. He spoke about church officials’ ideas about “gender ideology,” their lack of contemporary knowledge, the role of Pope Francis, what he thinks LGBT Catholics should currently be doing, and more.
The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC), a growing international coalition of organizations and individuals who work for LGBTQI justice and equality in church and society, will be hosting their Second Assembly in Munich/Dachau, Germany, in the late fall of this year.
The Assembly will gather Catholic advocates, both LGBTQI and allies, under the theme and title “Hear a Just Cause” (Psalm 7:1) on November 30-December 3, 2017, at the International Youth Guest House (Jugendherberge Dachau) in Dachau, a suburb of Munich.
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.)
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.
“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.