Reporting From Rome on Rainbow Catholics Assembly and Synod on the Family | Bondings 2.0

Saluti di Roma!

Greetings from Rome! I am here in the Eternal City to observe the upcoming Synod of Bishops which will be discussing marriage and family issues, including LGBT topics.  In preparation for the Vatican’s synod which begins on Sunday, October 4, 2015, an international group of Catholic LGBT leaders is gathering in Rome this weekend to launch a global organization to lift up concerns of LGBT people in the church.

Source: Reporting From Rome on Rainbow Catholics Assembly and Synod on the Family | Bondings 2.0

Equally Blessed pilgrims welcomed despite challenges | National Catholic Reporter

I had the honor this past week of working with the Equally Blessed pilgrims as they journeyed to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. These LGBT Catholic families bravely bore witness to a vision of church in which all are welcome, loved, and embraced for the experiences and gifts they offer the Catholic community. It is deeply disappointing the larger community gathered in Philadelphia was not afforded the same opportunity to engage and explore with these pilgrims, too. They were dismissed from giving workshops, rejected from having a presence in the exhibit hall, relegated to a Methodist church across the street, and nearly shut out of the one presentation on “same-sex attraction” that was officially allowed at the meeting.

Source: Equally Blessed pilgrims welcomed despite challenges | National Catholic Reporter

NYC St Patrick’s Day parade drops ban on gay groups · PinkNews

Current AffairsNYC St Patrick’s Day parade drops ban on gay groups Nick Duffy 29th September 2015, 7:59 PM(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)The New York St Patrick’s Day parade will allow an LGBT contingent to march under their own banner for the first time.The annual Catholic event – which attracts over a million tourists each year – has a long-held ban on allowing gay groups to march – but the 2014 parade faced a large commercial boycott over the exclusion of LGBT groups.In 2015, the LGBT groups of one of the parade’s biggest sponsors, OUT@NBCUniversal, was allowed to march as part of NBC’s contingent – but other groups remained banned.

Source: NYC St Patrick’s Day parade drops ban on gay groups · PinkNews

Students react to Eastside Catholic president’s resignation

Students at Eastside Catholic say they are one step closer to reinstating their ousted vice principal after the head of the school suddenly resigned on Tuesday.

Mark Zmuda was forced out of his job last month after the school discovered he married his male partner.

Many students and parents were are sad to see Sister Mary Tracy leave the private school, but some kids say its exactly what needs to happen to change the school’s stance on same-sex marriage.

“The goal of this whole thing is to get Mr. Zmuda back,” said senior Julia Burns.

What started as sit-ins and protests nearly a month ago has turned into a national movement to reinstate Zmuda.

“Now that she’s gone we can hopefully hire a new head of school that can be more open minded and definitely more sympathetic to the situation and get Zmuda back,” Burns said.

The president of the school, Sister Mary Tracy, suddenly resigned on Tuesday. The news sent shockwaves through Sammamish.

Now some Eastside Catholic alumni say it’s time for Zmuda to get his job back, and they’re circulating a petition.
Alumni plan to turn in their petitions to the school’s board of trustee’s during Thursday’s meeting

Read more:

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“Who Are We to Judge?” – Gay Catholics – Episode 3 (Video)

In Episode 3 of this Ignatian Press Youtube series on gay and lesbian people in the Church, Arthur Fitzmaurice and John Paul Godges discuss hopes and goals for gay Catholics in the Church. “That’s what I hope for”, says John Paul Godges, “for lesbian and gay Catholics in the future is open public integration”.

Watch the entire Gay Catholics series on the IN Network:…

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“Catholic Parents Cope Differently When LGBT Children Are Excluded”

The trend of LGBT individuals exiting the Catholic churches of childhood is now expanding to include their parents, too. Many clergy and ministers try to balance pastoral care with doctrinal statements, and some Catholic parents of LGBT children are finding the results inadequate. WBEZ, a Chicago public radio station, profiled several Catholic couples with children of varying sexual orientations and gender identities to understand further the parents’ relationship with the Church.

Mary Jo and Norm Bowers

Mary Jo and Norm Bowers, Catholic parents with a lesbian daughter

Toni and Tom Weaver explain how combining their love for their gay son with their strong Catholic identities is an evolving process. Toni describes herself as an active member of her parish in the music ministries and through daily Mass attendance. Their son, Michael came out the day after graduating college, and Toni believes her warm embrace in that moment would not always have been true. WBEZ reports:

“’If he had come out to me 10 years earlier, I’m not sure what my response would have been,’ Toni said. ‘I was definitely very traditionally Catholic and had even been moving in Evangelical circles. I was the first one to preach that homosexuality was wrong.’

“But Weaver said she came to a fuller understanding of homosexuality when she began studying for a master’s degree in theology:

“’Here were people who were gay who were being treated atrociously, and they were being denied their basic rights, and they were the butt of jokes…It finally dawned on me that people don’t choose their sexual orientation. That for me was an absolute turning point, and I attribute it to the work of the spirit.’”

The Weavers welcome their gay son, and then sought to alter the attitudes of Catholics around them, but were harmed when a bishop’s letter condemning marriage equality was read during Mass. This episode triggered the Weavers to permanently leave their Catholic parish:

“’I think that was the first time I felt slapped in the face by my church…I stood up, we were sitting in the middle of the pew. I stood up, and I turned toward the door and walked out. I grieved the church for 18 months. I grieved it. Something had died in my life.’”

Other parents remain split on how to engage Catholic communities, like Norm and Mary Jo Bowers who have a married lesbian daughter with two children baptized in the Church. Mary Jo left the Church, but her husband remains with a highly localized perspective:

“’I’ve told my pastor, I said, ‘To me my whole religion is this parish. It stays within the confines of this parish…I have nothing anymore to do with the hierarchy and what comes out of Rome’…

“Norm Bowers said he was offended by that and by a column in a Catholic paper. A priest wrote that children raised by gay couples might grow up ‘confused.’

“’I said to myself, which Catholic who has a brain isn’t confused in the Catholic church today?’”

Parents who remain, like Norm Bowers, find the positives in their local parishes and maintain hope that, under a new pope, perhaps the tone will change to something more pastorally-inclined. They also benefit from supportive clergy, like Fr. Bill Tkachuk of St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, Illinois who compliments parishioner’s efforts to create an LGBT-affirming Catholic community:

“[Fr. Tkachuk] said the church needs to be more sensitive to families in the way it talks about gays and gay issues: ‘Speaking in the language that people can hear with their hearts and accept with their hearts, as opposed to a more academic language that can be received as very hurtful, even if it’s not intended that way.’

“His parishioners recently wrote to Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. They objected to a letter in which the cardinal called civil unions a ‘legal fiction,’ and gay marriage ‘contrary to the common sense of the human race.’”

Barbara Marian and her husband now commute over an hour to St. Nicholas each week after having too many negative experiences in her local parish. Barbara has a lesbian daughter, along with three nieces and a nephew who identify as LGBT and sees no plausible way to leave the Catholic Church:

“’We live with love for these neighbors, colleagues and children and we see them as whole persons,’ Marian said. ‘We don’t focus on the small part of their lives that involves their genitalia.’…

“‘I am Catholic through and through and through,’ Marian said. ‘There is no separating me from the church. Although it brings me to my knees with anger and tears when the bishops make a statement and strafe my community, I bleed.’”

As growing numbers of Catholics and parishes support LGBT equality, and as more children feel safe coming out to their families, anti-gay efforts by Catholic bishops will continue affecting long-term parishioners who refuse to remain or stay silent when they watch their children come under attack.

A good resource for Catholic parents of all sorts–those who are struggling with accepting a child’s orientation, those who are struggling with church structures, those who want to become more involved with equality issues–is Fortunate Families, a national network of Catholic parents of LGBT sons and daughters.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

Bondings 2.0

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LGBT Catholics hope for future papal dialogue after Benedict’s resignation

With the departure of Benedict, DignityUSA, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian Catholic organization, called for an end to church statements that “inflict harm on already marginalized people” and depict gay people “as less than fully human.”

Members of a gay activist group hold up signs Dec. 16 outside St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. They demonstrated against part of Pope Benedict XVI's World Peace Day message, in which he affirmed Catholic teaching on marriage as the lifelong bond of a man and a woman. (CNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)

Members of a gay activist group hold up signs Dec. 16 outside St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. They demonstrated against part of Pope Benedict XVI’s World Peace Day message, in which he affirmed Catholic teaching on marriage as the lifelong bond of a man and a woman. (CNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)

In a collective statement, leaders of Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholics that works for equality for gay people, called upon the cardinals to select a pontiff who will realize that “in promoting discrimination against LGBT people, the church inflicts pain on marginalized people, alienates the faithful and lends moral credibility to reactionary political movements across the globe.”

The coalition, which includes Call to Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry, said the church now has the opportunity to turn away from Benedict’s “oppressive policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and their families and friends.”

For at least the last five decades, Catholic pronouncements on gay Catholic issues have been at least ambivalent and even sometimes contradictory. They have included exhortations on pastoral care and inclusivity and at the same time admonitions against gay lifestyles and warnings to gay Catholic organizations.

This ambivalence has resulted from church torn between the pastoral nature of the Gospels and sexual code based on centuries-old understandings of natural law. Official Catholic sexual morality forbids all “unnatural” acts under penalty of grave sin. It also rests in teachings that sexual acts are to be open to biological procreation. By extension, church prelates have fought hard politically against gay rights and gay marriage.

Sometimes Catholic ambivalence in extending a hand to gay people appears within the same document. Pope John Paul II in a 1981 statement on the family called for “an even more generous, intelligent and prudent pastoral commitment” by families that find themselves “faced by situations which are objectively difficult.”

The U.S. bishops in a 2006 document, “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” wrote there is a need to “help persons with a homosexual inclination understand church teaching.”

“At the same time,” the bishops went on, “it is important that Church ministers listen to [their] experiences, needs, and hopes.”

via National Catholic Reporter.

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The Soho Mass effect

The Catechism is clear about what the Church teaches about sexuality: sexual activity is permissible exclusively within marriage between man and woman. Other types of sexual pursuits, such as non-conjugal relations, are proscribed.


“In questions of sinfulness, few of us are ever qualified to throw the first stone.”

The homosexual act and masturbation are, according to the Catechism, “intrinsically disordered” and not consistent with the teaching of the Church (2352, 2357).

At the same time, the Catechism counsels that homosexuals may not be discriminated against: “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (2358).

The Body of Christ may not engage in homophobia, and our fidelity to the Catechism cannot be conditional on the fidelity to it by others.

There is also no profit in speculating about the sexual conduct of fellow Catholics who are homosexual. We cannot presume to know what happens behind the closed doors of homosexual Catholics, nor those of others, married or unmarried.

In questions of sinfulness, few of us are ever qualified to throw the first stone.

In that light, the decision by the archdiocese of Westminster, England, to discontinue fortnightly Masses as part of a pastoral care programme for homosexuals, reportedly under pressure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, runs the risk of being understood as lacking in compassion and sensitivity.

It doubtless was a difficult decision for Archbishop Vincent Nichols. While he has been outspoken in his opposition to gay marriage, he has also been supportive of the pastoral care initiative for homosexuals in his archdiocese. In February 2012 he explicitly “reaffirmed the intention and purpose” of the programme, including the so-called Soho Masses.

The programme, which Archbishop Nichols in a statement on his decision described as being “motivated by an awareness of the difficulties and isolation [homosexuals] can experience and by the imperative of Christ’s love for all”, will continue, without special liturgical celebrations, at a Jesuit church in London.

more at –The Southern Cross.

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Catholic ‘Dignity’

According to “Vatican digs in after gay marriage advances” (Tribune, Nov. 11), the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriages because “Catholic teaching holds that homosexuals should be respected and treated with dignity but that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered.’” If you truly believe the former, how can you believe the latter?

If you believe in treating blacks with dignity, but that they should also be slaves, what kind of dignity is that?

Being polite and kind is not treating someone with dignity, which means “the quality of being worthy or esteemed.” How is denying a life of committed love to someone wired to be attracted to the same sex treating them with esteem?

Of what worth do you esteem them to be worthy of? Of being an emotional eunuch? It’s that self-fulfilling approach that makes them “disordered.”

Catholics aren’t treating gay men with dignity; they aren’t treating them as worthy men created with liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness in their own way. No, with marriage, it’s the pursuit of happiness the Catholic way — even if you’re not Catholic — or not at all.

That how it was in the Middle Ages, not in 21st century America.

Dean Spencer

Salt Lake City

-letter to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Grieving parents: Gay teens walk a painful, lonely path

Tim and Tracy Rodemeyer, of suburban Buffalo: After the death of their son Jamey, seeking to raise awareness of the trials and solitude of gay teens or youths confused about their orientation.

In the days after the death of Jamey Rodemeyer, his parents discovered he’d kept a blog they hadn’t known about. Jamey’s Internet entries described the uncertainty of a 14-year-old coming to terms with the realization that he was gay, and the fear that it meant a lifetime of isolation.

One entry especially haunts Tim and Tracy Rodemeyer, who drove Sunday from their Erie County home to All Saints Roman Catholic Church in Syracuse, where they took part in a prayer service on bullying. They said Jamey, last September, had just started his freshman year at Williamsville North High School in suburban Buffalo. In a post on his blog, he spoke of attending a meeting of gay, lesbian and transgender students.

He didn’t mention the meeting to his parents. Instead, he told them he went to drama club.

The pain represented by that entry — the idea that Jamey thought he might be rejected by his own family — explains why Tim and Tracy so willingly speak out about their loss. At 13, Jamey revealed to Tracy that he might be gay. Tracy said she and her husband were hardly experts about raising a gay child, but she offered a gut reaction: She told Jamey she would love him, whatever path he took.

In September, nine school days into his freshman year, Jamey hung himself in their backyard.

“It’s something I’ve got to live with the for rest of my life, just wondering how long he’d had this planned,” Tracy said. “There are certain days we don’t want to talk about this anymore, and we sit back and say, ‘We just want our son back.’ But we firmly believe he was put here to get a message out.”

What they know is that their son had no choice in who he was. As a young child, they said, he preferred the company and games of little girls. Even in grade school, that led to mocking from other boys, taunts that intensified as Jamey grew older.

Twenty or 30 years ago, Tracy said, gay children could at least find safety away from school. In the age of Internet, electronic insults followed Jamey home. Since his death, Tracy and Tim have grown to realize, day by day, how unbearable his ordeal must have become.

“People don’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’m gay,'” Tracy said Sunday, from an altar adorned with rainbow-colored cloth and candles at All Saints. “My son, on his 14th birthday, didn’t say, ‘I want to get picked on, I can’t wait to get pushed around, so I’m going to tell people I’m gay.'”

As they went through Jamey’s room in the days after his death, his parents were surprised by what they found: Their son had written a passionate essay supporting gay marriage. He created T-shirts with slogans supporting gay rights and tolerance.

“Unfortunately,” Tracy said, “he had a harder time believing it for himself.”

The talk Sunday by the Rodemeyers, followed by a question and answer session, was part of an ongoing theme of acceptance at All Saints. Vince Sgambati, a parishioner, offered statistics from New York City’s Ali Forney Center, an organization dedicated to homeless gay youths. Nationally, Sgambati said, as many as 240,000 gay teens may be living on the streets because their parents turned away. In New York, many homeless gay youths survive by becoming prostitutes; up to 20 percent, Sgambati said, may be infected with HIV.

He recommended that gay youths, or parents seeking help and guidance, call the Q Center, an arm of AIDS Community Resources in Syracuse. The Rev. Fred Daley, pastor of All Saints and a celibate gay man, described that kind of institutional support as another step in a Christian imperative:

“It’s an opportunity to recognize that a significant population among us is hurting, that it has been hurting for a long time, and it’s a scandal that so many churches have been quiet.”

During a conversation between the Rodemeyers and the audience, Bill Tenity, a retired middle school teacher from Auburn, reassured the couple about Jamey’s reluctance to speak openly about his orientation. That’s typical, Tenity said; gay men and women often go through life with a deep fear of rejection. He recalled how he declined to reveal he was gay when he was teaching, afraid the truth might put his job at risk.

Such hesitation continues among many teachers, Tenity said, which eliminates potential role models for gay students and reinforces the sense of isolation among teens.

The Rodemeyers received a standing ovation as they stepped down from the altar. In the end, you got the sense their mission was profoundly simple: The next time any of us feel the urge to make a cruel judgment or joke, maybe we’ll pause for just a second to think about their son.

– more at

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