Kick-starting a new Catholic conversation | National Catholic Reporter

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.

Source: Kick-starting a new Catholic conversation | National Catholic Reporter

Church reform groups support call for Year of the Laity | National Catholic Reporter

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.

Full report: National Catholic Reporter

Catholic woman bishop on Irish vocations recruitment drive

Five women who believe they have a vocation to the Catholic priesthood have contacted a US delegation visiting Ireland this month to recruit female priests.

From the US-based Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), the delegation is being led by Irish-born Bishop Mary Bridget Meehan, who is accompanied by Rev Mary Theresa Streck and Rev Joan Chesterfield.

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.

Source: Irish Times

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

The Tablet – Blogs

Christopher Lamb at the Tablet speculates that one outcome from the synod could be substantial devolution of responsibility for sensitive pastoral decisions to to local bishops. If this does occur, this would have major importance for gay and lesbian Catholics, especially in Northern Europe.

The definition of “synodal” is a walking together and an exercise of governance by local churches with Rome. At the same time Pope Francis has stressed the synod is not a parliament looking for agreement or compromises.It seems likely, therefore, that an outcome of the process will be greater powers to local churches to work out how to respond to pastoral dilemmas.Francis has indicated that he favours such an approach, outlined in a book by the former Archbishop of San Francisco, John Quinn, in a short book Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church which explains how a decentralisation, based on the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, could be achieved.The book was sent to Pope Francis who told Quinn last year it was “very important”.

Full report: The Tablet – Blogs

Seminar speakers advocate change on Communion for the divorced-and-remarried :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Earlier this year the Pontifical Council for the Family organized three seminars which gathered scholars to discuss marriage and family life in the run-up to the Synod on the Family being held in October.

Source: Seminar speakers advocate change on Communion for the divorced-and-remarried :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Pope tells Austrian bishops to stay close to their priests after ‘one in ten’ signs reform call

It’s not at all clear what the Pope means by asking bishops to “stay close to” their priests. Is this in support of them – or in order to keep a watchful eye on them, and any possible transgressions?

Either way, it’s worth noting that an estimated one in ten Austrian priests have signed the public declaration by the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, the “Call to Disobedience”. That’s a high proportion, for priests who are dependant on the bishops for their homes and livelihoods, and for a document which goes beyond a simple call for reform, to one for active disobedience.

Fr Helmut Schüller

Source: The Catholic Tipping Point (

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Iglesia Descalza: The Pope’s survey of Catholics

There are numerous problems with the methodology and bishops’ handling of the papal attempt to consult the laity on marriage and family, in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod next year – but even with these problems and flaws, there remains value in the exercise.

At Teología Sin Censura Blog, José María Castillo  discusses the survey, and why he sees it as “revolutionary”, in spite of its manifest faults. The original post in in Spanish, but a reliable translation is provided by Rebel Girl at Iglesia Descalza

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