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.
As a follow-up to her Greenbelt appearance, One Body is hosting her at a series of meetings on tour, where she will be in conversation with Alison Webster.These appearances are all in cities accessible to Quest members in the London, South East, East Midlands and West Midlands regions. Both these women should be well worth hearing. We encourage Quest members to attend one of these meetings.
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.)
Emboldened by Pope Francis, church reformers are endorsing a call by the Brazilian bishops for a Year of the Laity, expanded to include conferences and observances around the world from November of this year until November 2018.
The meetings will focus on why “the people of God need to be treated equally in the church” and “the people taking the Gospel out into the world,” Rene Reid, director of Catholic Church Reform International, told NCR.
“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.
Whether named Gay-Straight Alliance, Inclusivity Club, or something else, Catholic schools in Ontario now allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) acceptance student groups because they have to, but many districts are proactively supporting gay-straight alliances, and many students find their school to be a much more empathetic place.
“A lot of people do get the impression of oh, gay club, and they’re like, oh I can’t go because I’m not gay. And it’s like, well, no, that’s the reason it’s ‘gay-straight alliance,’ ” said Katie Butler, a 12th grade student at St. Anne’s Catholic School in the Windsor-Essex district. “It’s a safe space where you can go and talk about things. Where you know you’re going to be accepted in that area. It’s very educational, I’d say.”
The publication of Jesuit Father James Martin’s book, Building a Bridge,which examines the relationship between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, along with Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s recent decree banning lesbian and gay married people from most of parish life, have highlighted, respectively, a path to better dialogue in the church and an example of the worst of episcopal excesses in regard to sexuality.