Illinois bishop faces challenging audience at talk on same-sex marriage

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., walked into a beehive when he agreed to speak about same-sex marriage before a small audience in Phoenix over the weekend. But at least the bishop was there, taking the stings.

Paprocki joined Sr. Jeannine Gramick, a longtime advocate for gay and lesbian people, on the stage Friday in front of about 150 people at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ.

The presentation, organized by Robert Blair Kaiser and his group, Jesuit Alumni in Arizona, featured opening remarks from Paprocki and Gramick, then questions from the audience.

Paprocki understood he would be facing a challenging, if not hostile, audience. Recent public opinion polls have shown the majority of Catholics now support same-sex marriage.

Paprocki told the audience that the murder of his former church secretary, Mary Stachowicz, whose killer was a gay man, got little media attention compared to the 1998 homicide of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen killed in a hate crime. Paprocki said the power of the gay lobby and favorable media reaction accounted for the difference.

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He said the “gay activist lobby” forced the issue on the church and put the church in a defensive position. Still, he said, the church has one position, and it does not change.

“This event was billed as ‘Two Catholic Views of Gay Marriage,’ ” he said. “But there is only one view that is authentically Catholic. The other view is dissenting.”

He quoted from Pope John Paul II’s letters and teachings and added that marriage is defined by “the potential to bring forth human life.”

As Paprocki was speaking, one audience member, Anne Gray of Scottsdale, Ariz., shouted, “That’s insulting.” Paprocki ignored her.

He said if same-sex marriage is allowed, sadomasochism or other practices should be, too.

“If there is no moral truth, only alternatives, then everything should be OK,” he said.

Gramick reflected on changes in her own attitudes, attitudes of the public and attitudes of the church hierarchy. She said more and more church leaders are moving toward support of at least civil unions.

Referring to Paprocki’s remark that morality cannot be based on polls, she said, “We may not legislate on the basis of polls, but they tell us what people are thinking.”

She said polls show Catholics’ opinions have moved from opposition to same-sex marriage to approval in a short time because nearly everyone has a gay friend, family member or business associate.

– more at National Catholic Reporter.

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Confessions of a Gay Married Priest; A Must Read for Cardinals and Justices

As the College of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope and as the US Supreme Court meets to address marriage equality, Confessions of a Gay Married Priest: A Spiritual Journey (Maurice L. Monette, Vallarta Institute, 2013) puts a human face on millions who will be impacted by their decisions.

Monette belonged to a Roman Catholic order of priests for 30 years, authored numerous books, and directed graduate programs in church leadership and organizational psychology. He and his husband of 24 years live in Oakland, California.

According to a CBS News Poll released on March 5, 66% of US Catholics favor letting priests get married, 66% favor letting women become priests and 62%believe same-sex marriage should be legal.

Franciscan priest and best-selling spirituality author Richard Rohr says of this book, ““This story illustrates one of the most counter intuitive messages of world religions, how our failings, heartbreaks and disappointments can be stepping stones to the spiritual joys of the second half of life.”

Sister Jeannine Gramick, a Huffington Post contributor with a longtime ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, says, “Through little cameos in prose and poetry, Monette’s faith journey shows the triumph of the human spirit over religious messages to suppress sexuality. This is a story of self-discovery and self-acceptance that brings about freedom for a more authentic God-relationship.”

Former marketing director for the National Catholic Reporter Dan Grippo says, “It’s the one book I recommend for each Cardinal before he casts his vote for the next Pope. The lessons Monette shares are lessons for the future church where all women, men and children are appreciated in their diversity.”

In reference to the Church’s transition, Monette comments, “My story and the stories of so many others offer healthy alternatives to a Church that has become better known for its sex scandals and cover ups than its spirituality and social justice.  A mature sexual ethics would go a long way to healing this wounded Church.”

-continue reading at Religion Press Release Services.

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Sister Jeannine Gramick Featured in Nine Short Videos on “The Daily Beast”

Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish, housed at The is running a series of nine short videos with Sister Jeannine Gramick, New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, on a variety of questions concerning LGBT issues, Catholic church and U.S. politics, and the LCWR crisis and American nuns.   The videos are running every day from June 18-24, and then two more on June 30 and July1.  The video for the day is posted at 12 noon, Eastern Time.

So far, two of nine questions for Sister Jeannine have been posted there.  You can view the video by clicking on each of these two questions:

What do you consider to be the most powerful scriptural basis for LGBT equal rights?

Do you think civil marriage should be available for gay and lesbian couples?

The blog offers the following short bio of Sister Jeannine:

“Sister Jeannine Gramick is a Roman Catholic religious sister and a co-founder of the activist organization New Ways Ministry, a Catholic social justice center working for justice and reconciliation of lesbian and gay people with the institutional Catholic Church. After a review of her public activities on behalf of the Church that concluded in a finding of grave doctrinal error, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declared in 1999 that she should no longer be engaged in pastoral work with lesbian and gay persons. In 2000, her congregation, in an attempt to thwart further conflict with the Vatican, commanded her not to speak publicly about homosexuality. She responded by saying, ‘I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right [to speak]. To me this is a matter of conscience.’ “

As always is the case when listening to Sister Jeannine, you should find the video interviews informative, respectful, forthright, and inspiring.

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Catholic Nun Challenges Church’s Stance on Gay Marriage

On the heels of the Vatican’s dispute with American nuns, one sister is taking a defiant stand against the Catholic hierarchy’s opposition to gay marriage.

Jeannine Gramick is the main speaker for a Saturday program where Catholics supporting Maryland’s marriage equality law discuss ways to prevent the legislation from being repealed on referendum during the November elections. The gathering will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at Goucher College’s Alumni Hall.

“It’s a great shame that the leaders of my church—the bishops—are all out there campaigning against marriage equality,” she said. “I want to be proud of my church and that makes me very ashamed.”

-full report at  Reisterstown, MD Patch.

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