MANCHESTER, England – The terms “mother” and “father” will be banned from Catholic schools’ admissions forms in England and Wales following a complaint the terms discriminated against gays and stepparents.
Children begin a fun run last March in the streets near St. Joseph School in Garden City, N.Y. (Credit: Gregory A. Shemitz/CNS.)/
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator, which settles disputes on behalf of the government, upheld the objection of a parent who wished to enroll a child in Holy Ghost Catholic Primary School in London.
The parent had been asked to fill in a form which left spaces only for the names of “mother/guardian” and “father/guardian” and argued that the terms discriminated against “separated, step- and gay parents.”
Three Catholic LGBTQ leaders have proposed “Kick-starting a new Catholic conversation” on sexuality and gender, with the focus of the discussion being the first-hand personal experiences of LGBTQ people instead of church teaching.
Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson penned an essay for The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) in which they call for a conversation where LGBTQ people, not church figures, will be the primary authorities. They write:
“We are Catholic lesbian/queer women who enjoy our sexuality and rejoice in our relationships. We love out loud. It is time to listen to the experiences and expertise of people who speak with integrity rather than authority, whose lives are not circumscribed by clericalism, people who are free to be honest and transparent.
“We need wisdom from many Catholic perspectives, not limiting ‘Catholic’ to institutional church teaching on matters on which the vast majority of Catholics have left the hierarchy behind. It is time to grow up and use ‘I’ statements instead of making pronouncements or pretending to be above the fray.”
Frank’s point is well made. The call to tell our stories is sound – I think it was the theologian Alain Thomasett who described it as a form of “narrative theology”. The Catholic writer Dugan McGinley called his account of published gay Catholic stories, “Acts of faith, acts of love”. Indeed, telling our stories do amount to acts of faith, even as “sacred texts“– testimony. What surprises me with this call, is that it described as “kick-starting a new conversation”. In fact, we’ve been telling our stories for decades. The problem as you point out, is that for too long, not enough senior Catholic leaders have listened. Thankfully, there are now signs that this is finally starting to change.
A constant theme during the 2014 and 2015 synod assemblies on marriage and family, and of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation that followed it, was the importance of listening, and accompaniment for families in unconventional situations. This certainly applies to same-sex couples, but it also applies to families with LGBT members. These ideas are coming into increasing prominence, following the recent publication of Fr James Martin’s book, “Building a Bridge”.
In London, the LGBT Catholics Young Adults Group have arranged a workshop to do exactly this.
A day workshop for Catholic family members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. We hope that listening to input from both Mgr Keith Barltrop, chaplain to the LGBT Catholics Westminster, and the experiences of other family members of LGBT people, will enable those taking part to truly walk with their LGBT family members and accompany them on their journey.
Suggested donation of £10 which will include lunch.
The sorry state of the Catholic conversation about same-sex love prompts us to make a constructive proposal. If we have any hope of moving the discussion in a justice-seeking direction, we need a new approach to the problems of homohatred and heterosexism that begins not with church teaching but with real people’s lives. Rehashing old arguments on the morality of sexual activity, about which there is substantial and deeply hurtful disagreement, is useless.
It is time to listen to the experiences and expertise of people who speak with integrity rather than authority.
We are Catholic lesbian/queer women who enjoy our sexuality and rejoice in our relationships. We love out loud. It is time to listen to the experiences and expertise of people who speak with integrity rather than authority, whose lives are not circumscribed by clericalism, people who are free to be honest and transparent.
The church must reconsider its treatment of LGBT persons, especially those who have been fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientations.
I was visiting missionary friends in Turkana, a remote, arid, and desolate region of Kenya, in the summer of 2001. My friends had asked me to help baptize 40 nomadic women at a distant outstation chapel, about a three-hour drive from the main mission over rocky terrain and river beds that pass for roads. These women were shepherds who tended their communal flock of goats. (The men remained at home to care for the animals.)
Our journey was nothing compared to that of the women and congregation, who traveled for two hours by foot for their baptismal Mass. We were delayed because our jeep overheated. The assembly had already been gathered for an hour and sang hymns while they waited for us.
Pope Francis on Tuesday decided to reboot one of the signature institutions of the St. Pope John Paul II era in Catholicism, the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. From now on it will be a theological institute, with the mandate of exploring the “lights and shadows” of family life with “realism” and “love,” while also staying faithful to the Church’s teaching.
ROME – Pope Francis on Tuesday decided to upgrade an institute for studies on marriage and family named for St. John Paul II and established by the Polish pope in 1981, replacing it with a pontifical theological institute designed to explore the “lights and shadows” of family life with “realism” and “love,” while also staying faithful to the Church’s teaching.
With a legal document known as a motu proprio published on Tuesday, the Vatican announced that the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family will now be replaced by the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences.
In a notable contribution to a document on LGBT discrimination and belief for the UN Human Rights Commission, Krzysztof Charamsa lays out all the ways in which the Catholic Church actively discriminates against LGBTI Catholics. It’s not comfortable reading.
One of the key points in my own thinking about the Catholic Church and queer Catholics, came when I heard Charamsa speak at the 2019 conference of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups in Gdansk. Like many others, I’ve been delighted by the notable change in pastoral tone coming from the church, ever since Pope Francis took on the see of Rome. Charamsa’s talk in Gdansk however, was a sobering reminder that notwithstanding the changes in pastoral tone, core doctrines remain unchanged – and these can be extremely damaging, even dangerous, to the emotional, spiritual and even physical health of LGBT Catholics.
Catholic bloggers and others are rallying to support yet another Catholic smeared by right-wing Catholic media last week. Rebecca Bratten Weiss believes the same colleagues who gathered “evidence” for the negative article about her also contributed to her adjunct teaching contract not being renewed this year.
Ever since she spoke out against some pro-lifers’ support of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, Bratten Weiss has been criticized by Catholics on the extreme right, so she has been “meticulous about not saying anything that could be used against me,” she told NCR.
If you’re looking for a Catholic priest who inspires people—and makes them laugh and think—James Martin, SJ, is your guy. At the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s annual conference, he’s greeted like a rock star by swarms of young Catholics who devour his books and remember him as Stephen Colbert’s “chaplain” on the Colbert Report. To say this is unusual is an understatement. Millennials are leaving the church in droves, turned off in part by an institution that has made opposition to same-sex marriage central to Catholic identity in the public square.
This generation of Catholics remains inspired by the church’s rich social justice tradition, has no patience for the culture wars, and is disgusted that their religious leaders are often perceived to be fighting against the human rights of gay people. When I heard the news last Friday that the seminary at Catholic University of America canceled a scheduled talk from Martin because a network of Catholic right attack dogs launched an ugly campaign against him, I cringed. The already-thin thread barely connecting these young Catholics to the institutional church just got thinner. Self-inflicted wounds are hard to heal.
Both bishops observe that this is not a survey on Church (sacramental) marriage but on civil marriage, marriage according to the law of the State. The question has no impact on church practices nor on our freedom of religion.
Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta and Bishop Bill Wright of Maitland-Newcastle have effectively removed any “Catholic” arguments against supporting marriage equality and stress the responsibility of Catholics to discern carefully in determining their “vote”.
Christians must be very confused about how their religious beliefs should influence their views on the current marriage equality survey, officially described in the ABS mail-out as “Your Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey”.
Some so-called Christian positions seem to suggest that there is an inherent Christian exclusion of the possibility of civil same-sex marriage. The most careful and authoritative Christian analyses to date may have come from separate pastoral…