The church might be approaching natural law the wrong way | USCatholic.org

Many Catholics aren’t persuaded by the church’s natural law arguments on matters of sex and morality. Maybe it’s time we come up with more reasonable conclusions.

A woman I know quit her job as an administrator in student life at a Catholic university because she could no longer stomach what the church had to say about homosexuality. Her gay son was in his second year as an undergraduate and she found it increasingly impossible to defend or overlook Catholic teachings that described her child—or any other gay student—as someone suffering from an “objective moral disorder.” You can imagine what she thought of our local bishop’s efforts to oppose legislation allowing same-sex marriage, or arguments offered by other Catholic leaders that gay marriage undermines the sanctity of the church’s sacrament. To say the least, she thinks these teachings, based on natural law arguments, are deeply unreasonable.

– See more at: USCatholic.org

Time for a renunciation of anti-contraception doctrine by the Catholic Church | Irish Examiner

1968’s ‘Humane Vitae’ has done massive harm to the Catholic Church and has been largely ignored by many, writes TP O’Mahony

Time for a renunciation of anti-contraception doctrine by the Catholic Church

It is surely time for an open, direct, and formal renunciation of Humanae Vitae — the 1968 anti-contraception encyclical from Pope Paul VI.

This ill-conceived document has caused enormous harm, not least to papal authority, and been the source of worry, stress, and misery for millions of Catholic couples around the globe.

It’s publication on July 25, 1968, caused widespread disappointment and even dismay, and sparked a huge controversy.

At the time, I wrote that the crisis it created was the greates the Catholic Church had faced since the Reformation in the 16th century.

In retrospect, that was no exaggerated claim, and today — nearly 50 years later — we are still living with the divisions stemming from that encyclical. In the aftermath of its appearance, millions of Catholics stopped going to confession and many others abandoned the Church altogether.

Source:Irish Examiner

Untying the Knots and “Nots” of Natural Law Theory | Bondings 2.0

One of the most frequent questions I get asked from Catholic advocates of LGBT equality is how to counter natural law arguments which condemn lesbian and gay relationships.  For many people, natural law, with its basis in philosophy, can be a daunting area of knowledge to engage or refute.  People tend to shrink from it more because it seems impenetrable than because they don’t want to acknowledge what its negative messages about LGBT issues.  And the way it has been applied by Church leaders it seems to be not just a jumble of knots, but of “nots,” as well.

U.S. Catholic ran an essay “The Church might be approaching natural law in the wrong way,” by Patrick McCormick, a professor of Christian ethics at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, which not only does a good job of explaining natural law theory, but interprets it in a way that can be used to affirm lesbian and gay relationships. This essay appeared in the magazine in October 2014, at the time we were busy covering the news of the first synod, so it eluded our attention, then.  It recently appeared on our desktops, and, even though it was not published recently, we felt it was too good of a resource not to pass along to our readers.

Bondings 2.0

 1991: When “Archbishop Instrumental in Passing Gay Rights Law” 

Today, Bondings 2.0 introduces a new monthly series on LGBT Catholic history.

In April 1991, Connecticut’s state legislature was debating a bill that would outlaw discrimination against lesbian and gay people  in housing, employment, and public accommodation.  The bill had originally been introduced in 1973, but always failed.  On April 5, 1991, in the midst of the debate, Hartford’s Archbishop John F. Whealon wrote a column entitled “The church and the homosexual person” in the archdiocesan newspaper The Catholic Transcript,  in which he stated that discrimination against lesbian and gay people “is always morally wrong.”

The following are some excerpts from Whealon’s column:

Archbishop John F. Whealon

“What is the official teaching of the Catholic Church concerning homosexuality? . . . The cornerstone of this teaching is the dignity of every human being.  Every person is made in God’s image and therefore worthy of love, and must recognize in self a spiritual and mortal soul, and must regard the body as good and honorable because God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. . . . The dignity of every son and daughter of God is basic for any Catholic in approaching this question about homosexual persons. . .

Source:  Bondings 2.0

Nondiscrimination laws merit church support 

On June 26, 2015, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation. Same-sex marriage was already legal in a number of individual states before that ruling, and a similar move toward equality is found in the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, federal legislation that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. More recently, in 2015, the Equality Act was introduced by two members of Congress. If passed, it would provide comprehensive legal protection for members of the LGBT community by extending the prohibition of discrimination to include housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and serving on juries.

Meanwhile, this spring, three Southern states have been embroiled in controversy over legislation involving the rights of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people. On March 23, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law barring local governments from passing anti-discrimination measures intended to protect LGBT people. Lawmakers in Georgia and Mississippi passed legislation allowing discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of religious beliefs; Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed Georgia’s bill on March 28, while Gov. Phil Bryant signed Mississippi’s bill into law on April 5. Similar legislation in Missouri passed out of committee April 12, setting the stage for floor votes in late April

Source:  National Catholic Reporter

Power of conscience puts laity at centre of change

It would be right to describe the publication of Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis as a minor earthquake, though one preceded by plenty of warning tremors. And while the Catholic Church’s foundations may have been shaken, the walls and roof are still standing. Francis was well aware when he was elected Pope that the basic weakness in the Church’s mission to evangelise was its reputation as a stern and unforgiving teacher in the field of sexual and marital ethics, something that touches people’s lives most intimately. Put simply, it did not sound like the gentle voice of a loving mother. Francis had to respect as far as possible the content of the teaching. But he could change the one thing that may matter more than content for ordinary Catholics – its tone.

Source: The Tablet

What some critics of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ are missing 

Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” has been accepted by most Catholics as a breath of fresh air. Its warm encouragement to families to place love at the center of their lives, its clear invitation to pastors to accompany Catholics in the “complexity” of their situations and its strong reminder that the church needs to recover an appreciation of the role of conscience have been welcomed by millions of Catholics as a sign that the church wants to meet them where they are.

But not by all Catholics. In a few quarters of the church it has not been received warmly at all. In fact, it was greeted with a vituperation that seemed to approach apoplexy.

Many critics were frustrated, alarmed and angered by the same thing. They claimed that Francis had muddied the clear moral waters of the church by elevating a concept that had landed St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which the pope belongs, in jail: the notion that God can deal with people directly.

The way that this notion is framed in the document is primarily through the lens of “conscience.”

Source:  America Magazine