Gay marriage: Greek Orthodox priest under fire for pushing no vote in Melbourne

A MELBOURNE priest has come under fire for demanding his flock vote no in the upcoming same-sex marriage survey and for allegedly saying gay people should be shot.Parishioner Liz Tasiopoulos claimed the comments were made by the priest at a service she attended at a Greek Orthodox Church in south eastern Melbourne on Father’s Day.She told the language used was especially hurtful as it came during a service which included a memorial for a woman who had committed suicide because she had struggled with her own sexuality.“The priest was screaming at us [that same-sex marriage] was blasphemy. The comments were so hurtful I couldn’t stop crying,” Ms Tasiopoulos said.

Source: Gay marriage: Greek Orthodox priest under fire for pushing no vote in Melbourne

Catholic Columnist Asks Bishops: “Have you left no sense of decency?” | Bondings 2.0

In calling the “outing” of LGBT church workers so that they will be fired a replay of the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s, The National Catholic Reporter’s columnist Michael Sean Winters may have launched the strongest statement yet opposing these tactics used by conservative Catholic organizations and the bishops who listen to their complaints.

Noting that we are approaching the 62nd anniversary of  Joseph Nye Welch’s famous retort to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s badgering of Welch’s colleagues–“Have you no sense of decency, sir?  At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”–Winters has resurrected this powerful response to bullying tactics to discuss the U.S. Catholic Church’s ongoing scourge of firing LGBT church workers, of whom a number had been living quiet lives until conservative groups reported them to bishops.

Winters writes:

“I bring Welch’s famous and unsordid intervention up this morning because yesterday LifeSiteNews published a story about yet another “report” from the Lepanto Institute, charging two employees of Catholic organizations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB] and Catholic Relief Services [CRS], with supporting gay rights in their social media usage. I shall not link to the story nor shall I mention the names of the two employees: They have been victimized too much already. I will denounce both the “report” at Lepanto and their hand-in-glove relationship with LifeSiteNews for perpetrating this witch hunt.”

Full report at  Bondings 2.0

Tutu quits church after gay marriage | IOL

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s daughter Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth has decided to quit her job after her licence to preach was revoked.

Mpho told City Press she may no longer officiate in church because she married a woman.

Newlyweds Mpho and Marceline Tutu-Van Furth are on honeymoon in Bali after their wedding at a Franschhoek wine estate attended by Mpho’s parents, Leah and Desmond Tutu.

Mpho told the newspaper she had decided to “give up” her ministerial duties – her authority to preside at Holy Communion, and to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals in South Africa.

Source: IOL

Tutu forced to quit over gay marriage | City Press

Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth has revealed that her licence to preach is being revoked because she married a woman – so, she’s decided to quit instead.

Newlyweds Mpho and Marceline Tutu-Van Furth are on honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island of Bali after their wedding at a Franschhoek wine estate attended by Mpho’s parents, Leah and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

“Bali is quite magical,” said Mpho in an email to City Press, adding that she had decided to “give up” her ministerial duties – her authority to preside at Holy Communion, and to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals in South Africa.

“Because the South African Anglican Church does not recognise our marriage, I can no longer exercise my priestly ministry in South Africa,” she said. “The bishop of the Diocese of Saldanha Bay [Bishop Raphael Hess] was instructed to revoke my licence.

“I decided that I would give it to him rather than have him take it, a slightly more dignified option with the same effect.”

While same-sex marriage was legalised in South Africa in 2006, the South African Anglican law on marriage states: “Holy matrimony is the lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman.”

Source:  City Press

A Second Gay Priest Fired

On Saturday last, Msgr Krzyxtof Charamsa came out and announced not only he is gay but also that he has a devoted boyfriend – and was promptly fired from his jobs as a Vatican theology professor and senior theologian with the CDF. (He later said in a follow -up interview, that his coming out was a “profoundly Christian” act.

Yesterday, just two days later, another priest was fired, this time in Chicago, for “an inappropriate relationship with a man”. It’s widely known that the priesthood includes an extraordinarily high percentage of gay men. We should expect that more and more of them will begin to come out, voluntarily or otherwise. The Church simply cannot afford to fire them all – or the existing shortage of priests will just become even more acute.

Then, on Monday, the Archdiocese of Chicagoannounced that Marco Mercado, who oversaw the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, has been removed from his position because of “an inappropriate relationship with an adult man.” In this case, the priest was remorseful, not defiant. “I apologize if this scandal has caused any hardship to the faithful,” Mercado said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Under any circumstances, these would be remarkable firings. But the timing is significant: This weekend, Roman Catholic bishops gathered in Rome to kick off their synod on so-called family issues, the continuation of a meeting that began last fall. Among the subjects possibly on the docket: the Church’s posture toward gay Catholics.

The Atlantic

More Details Emerge About Gay Priest Dismissed from Vatican After Coming Out | Bondings 2.0

A priest who came out as gay has been fired from his positions at the Vatican, the latest in a long and growing list of church workers who have lost their jobs over LGBT identities or support.

Source: More Details Emerge About Gay Priest Dismissed from Vatican After Coming Out | Bondings 2.0

Archbishop: Homophobia Amounts to “Godophobia”

anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people

– Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This is hardly revolutionary stuff – it’s embedded in the Catechism, and in all formal Church documents on the subject of homosexuality: we deserve to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”, and any violence or malice, in words or actions, is to be deeply deplored.

Sadly, for too many Catholic bishops and some orthotoxic conservative Catholics, it’s a principle which is simply ignored, which is why it’s welcome whenever a leading cleric states what should be routine. What’s even more widely ignored, is that other principle clearly stated in the documents, that unjust discrimination must be avoided. When Catholic leaders routinely apply that principle, and avoid all unjust discrimination in employment and elsewhere within the Church’s own institutions – that really will be something to celebrate!

HOMOPHOBIA is “insulting to God”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned.

In the wake of the so-called ‘Pantigate’ controversy over homophobia comments made on RTE and a defamation settlement, Dr Martin said: “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the senior cleric said this meant that “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people”.


Referring to the revelations made last week by TD Jerry Buttimer, that he was beaten, spat at, mocked and harassed because he was gay, Dr Martin expressed concern saying: “Certainly the sort of actions that we heard of this week of people being spat at because they were gay or ridiculed . . . that is not a Christian attitude. We have to have the courage to stand up and say that.”

He added: “We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted.

“We have to learn a new way in Ireland to live with our differences and for all of us to live with respect for one another.”

via  –

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UN Advice to Vatican, on Child Abuse by the Catholic Church

The report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) on the Vatican submission to it, has received wide press coverage, for its scathing criticism of the Church’s response to the scandal of sexual abuse in the Church.  What has been by-passed by the mainstream press, is that child abuse is not simply a matter of sexual abuse, and the CRC report includes extensive commentary on a range of other forms of child abuse, and the ways in which the Catholic Church is either inflicting such abuse, or failing adequately to respond to it.

Bob Shine of New Ways Ministry has written (at Bondings 2.0) specifically about those sections of the report, referring to Catholic doctrinal or pastoral abuse of LGBT youth:

United Nations Report to Vatican Recommends More Robust LGBT Solidarity

The United Nations Committee on the Convention of the Rights of a Child, an organization which monitors children’s rights according to the groundbreaking 1989 Convention, released its report on the Vatican yesterday. Primarily concerned with the global scandals of sexual and physical abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and religious, the report also included recommendations for the Vatican on LGBT issues.

In a section concerning Non-Discrimination, the report states:

“While also noting as positive the progressive statement delivered in July 2013 by Pope Francis, the Committee is concerned about the Holy See’s past statements and declarations on homosexuality which contribute to the social stigmatization of and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex couples.

“The Committee also urges the Holy See to make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of their parents and to support efforts at international level for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.”

Elsewhere, in a section on Family Environment, the Committee writes:

“While welcoming the information provided by the delegation of the Holy See that it will proceed with a revision of family-related provisions of Canon Law in the near future, the Committee is concerned that the Holy See and Church run institutions do not recognize the existence of diverse forms of families and often discriminate children on the basis of their family situation.

“The Committee recommends that the Holy See ensure that Canon Law provisions recognise the diversity of family settings and do not discriminate children based on the type of family they live in.”

– continue reading Bob Shine’s full report at Bondings 2.0

(Or, read the full UN CRC response  to the Vatican submission).

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Bondings 2.0: “Catholic School Student Told Not to Use Harvey Milk Quotation”

We should by now be accustomed to the phenomenon of some Catholic leaders undermining Church teaching on pastoral responses to gay and lesbian people while claiming to protect it, but surprises continue. For example, a Canadian student in a Catholic school was not allowed to include in a poster for the schools Gay Straight Alliance, either a poster of Harvey Milk, or this quotation from Milk:

‘All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential’

Bizarre. Sexual orientation is NOT specific to gay people, and is NOT a matter of “self – expression”. The right to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and freedom from any malice or violence, in speech or in actions, are clearly embedded in Vatican teaching on the subject, There is absolutely nothing in the Milk quotation that is remotely in conflict with standard Church teaching – but the school’s action clearly is.

In Ontario, Canada, there has been an ongoing struggle in state-funded Catholic schools to comply with a law there to allow gay-straight alliances (GSA) to form.   This controversy added a new wrinkle to it recently when a Catholic school in a Toronto suburb refused to allow a student to use a quote from gay-rights leader Harvey Milk on a poster for the GSA.


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Bondings 2.0: “Missouri Lesbian Couple Denied Communion at Mother’s Funeral “

Deja Vu!

Carol Parker and Josie Martin have been committed to one another for nearly two decades, but their love did not stop one priest from denying Parker Communion at her mother’s funeral last December.

The lesbian partners have attended St. Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe, Missouri, for over a decade, but it was not until arrangements were being made for the funeral that Fr. Benjamin Kneib informed them they could not receive Communion. NewsPressNow reports:

” ‘It was a shock to hear him say that,’ Ms. Parker said. ‘I never expected that, especially at my mother’s funeral.’

“She added that at the funeral, most in attendance chose not to take Communion out of respect for her and Ms. Martin. Despite this show of solidarity, the women no longer feel welcome at the church and have begun visiting another an hour from their home.

” ‘That was our faith community. It really took away a lot of things for us…He (Father Kneib) would still like to see us there, but I don’t feel like I’m welcome if I can’t take part in the main focus of the Mass.’ “

Fr. Kneib wrote a letter on January 1st to Parker explaining why he denied the couple Communion, and he apologized the he did so at a moment like her mother’s funeral. For her part, Parker hopes the priest will:

” ‘…open his eyes and fully receive the LGBT community into the church.’

” ‘We’re all God’s children, and we have every right to receive Communion…Even the pope has said, “Who am I to judge?” ‘ “

This recent event is reminiscent of a 2012 incident when Barbara Johnson, a lesbian woman in Maryland, was denied Communion at her mother’s funeral. In that case, the priest was not only removed from ministry, but asked to leave the Archdiocese of Washington. Johnson, on the other hand, spoke about how the experience strengthened her faith and reminded Catholics that “All that matters is love.“

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Communion denials are a very controversial issue, and though infrequent, are deeply harmful when they occur. It is helpful for all LGBT-positive Catholics to call to mind the words of a Rhode Island priest responding to inquiries after a gay couple there was denied Communion:

” ‘I am not in the business of denying Communion…As Pope Francis said, it’s not fair to judge. I preach the Gospel, and whoever hears it, hears it.’ “

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

 Bondings 2.0.