Pope paints picture of Sweden that is at odds with Trump’s | Religion News Service

VATICAN CITY (RNS)

In an interview with a magazine that supports the homeless, Pope Francis suggested wealthy nations are partly to blame for the migrant crisis and urged Europeans and others to stand “in the shoes” of those arriving at their borders.  

“Those who arrive in Europe are escaping war and famine. We are in some way responsible because we exploit their land but we don’t make any kind of investment for which they can benefit,” the pope said.

“They have the right to emigrate and the right to be welcomed and helped.”

Also in the interview with the Catholic-backed monthly Scarp de Tenis — which means “sneakers” — the pope specifically praised Sweden for welcoming and integrating foreigners.

Source: Religion News Service

James Martin, S.J.: We need to build a bridge between LGBT community and the Catholic Church. | America Magazine

The relationship between the L.G.B.T. Catholic community and the Catholic Church in the United States has been at times contentious and combative, and at times warm and welcoming. Much of the tension characterizing this complicated relationship results from a lack of communication and, sadly, a good deal of mistrust, between L.G.B.T. Catholics and the hierarchy. What is needed is a bridge between that community and the church.I invite you to walk with me on that important bridge. To that end, I would like to reflect on both the church’s outreach to the L.G.B.T. community and the L.G.B.T. community’s outreach to the church. Because good bridges take people in both directions.

Source: James Martin, S.J.: We need to build a bridge between LGBT community and the Catholic Church. | America Magazine

Pope endorsement softens stance on divorced Catholics

Pope Francis in St Peter’s square. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty

Pope Francis has issued a remarkable endorsement of major changes in the way priests approach Catholics who are divorced and remarried, in a move that could open the door to some of them receiving communion.

The Vatican announced on Tuesday that Francis sent a letter to bishops inArgentina on 5 September in which he praised a document they had written that said priests could – in some cases – offer the “help of sacraments” to Catholics living in “irregular family situations” as part of a broader effort to support and integrate divorced and remarried Catholics into the life of the church.

“There are no other interpretations,” Francis wrote.

The pope’s praise of the document was the most direct evidence that Francis supports a significant change in the way individual priests deal with divorced Catholics.

Source: Pope endorsement softens stance on divorced Catholics | World news | The Guardian

Catholic educators stand in solidary with LGBTQ+ students

How Catholic schools should be responding to LGBTI students – but usually aren’t:

Imagine this: you go to an all-girls Catholic high school and you identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Maybe you’re out or perhaps it’s something you’re too afraid to say out loud right now.

Before the keynote speaker goes on, your chaplain and six other teachers and youth workers are standing at the front of the atrium. They tell you if you’re LGBTQ+, there’s nothing wrong with who you are and they are here to support you.

You’ve heard about gay-straight alliances (GSA) before, but don’t know much about them. You find out it’s a student-run club that provides safe spaces for LGBTQ+ and straight-identified students to meet and support each other.

More at Jenna Tenn-Yuk

San Diego bishop calls for a practical ‘apology’ to L.G.B.T. Catholics | America Magazine

The fallout continued this week following the pope’s suggestion that the church should apologize to gay and lesbian people during his flight home from Armenia on June 26. (In fairness, Pope Francis also said an apology was due from the church “to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor…for having blessed many weapons.”)

The pope’s call for Christians to offer an apology to gay and lesbian people was also carefully welcomed this week by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. “I think it opens up a very helpful pathway to dialogue and hopefully healing,” he said. Pope Francis, Bishop McElroy said, brings to this dialogue with L.G.B.T. Catholics who feel marginalized by or alienated from the church a “renewed and deepened focus on the questions of accompaniment and the mercy of God for all of us.”

“We all walk together in a life of virtue and discipleship,” Bishop McElroy said, “and all of us fail at times.”

He adds: “We have to begin to incorporate that mercy into the depths of our hearts and souls in ways that are going to be uncomfortable for us…. We all need to be shown mercy; it is something that binds us together, not differentiates us.”

“What we need to project in the life of the church is ‘You are part of us and we are part of you.’ [L.G.B.T. Catholics] are part of our families.”

Source: America Magazine

Apologies Need to Be Supported by Structures in Both State and Church | Bondings 2.0

Several days ago, Bondings 2.0 reported on Munich’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s call for an apology by the Church to lesbian and gay people.  His call for apology preceded that of Pope Francis by several days.  The cardinal made his remarks at a press conference in Ireland last week, after he had given a speech at a meeting on church and state relations.

Our blog post was based on information from an IrishTimes news story.  Since that time, The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) filed a story on Marx’s speech, bringing to light some other, stronger comments he made while meeting with journalists.

NCR reported:

“Marx, who is president of the German bishops’ conference and a member of the pope’s advisory council of nine cardinals, called on not just the church to apologize to gays and lesbians, but society as a whole, which he said was implicated in this ‘terrible scandal.’

” ‘The history of homosexuals in our society is a very bad history because we have done a lot to marginalize them. It is not so long ago and so as church and as society we have to say sorry.’ “

Source: Bondings 2.0