Cardinal Sarah offers critique of L.G.B.T. book, Father James Martin responds | America Magazine

Cardinal Robert Sarah, a frequent defender of Catholicism’s teaching on human sexuality, rejected arguments presented in a book by a popular Jesuit writer that the church must be more respectful toward gay and lesbian Catholics. Instead, he said, Catholics have a duty to remind gays and lesbians that homosexual acts are sinful.

In comments to America, Father Martin called Cardinal Sarah’s column “a step forward,” noting that the cardinal used the term “‘L.G.B.T.,’ which a few traditionalist Catholics reject.” (Part of Father Martin’s book urges church leaders to use the more colloquial phrase “gay and lesbian” rather than antiquated phrases preferred by some Catholics, such as “persons with same-sex attraction.”)

But, Father Martin said, the essay “misses a few important points,” including a failure to acknowledge “the immense suffering that L.G.B.T. Catholics have felt at the hands of their church.”

Source: Cardinal Sarah offers critique of L.G.B.T. book, Father James Martin responds | America Magazine

The church needs to work more closely with its LGBT members |

The church must reconsider its treatment of LGBT persons, especially those who have been fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientations.

Pope Francis’ challenge to smell like sheep then hovers over the church: How can we effectively proclaim good news, much less be seen as credible, if church leadership refuses to smell like the flock? Can we become so familiar with the LGBT community’s lives, stories, struggles, and triumphs, even endure their flies, namely, the hostility of those who would ostracize them either out of ignorance or hatred?

Fr Brian Massingale


Full article: |

A Quest Response to “Amoris Laetitia” (from Quest gay Catholic)

In attempting to craft his Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis was faced with impossibly conflicting demands: intense pressure from the reformists to introduce changes to pastoral practice (if not actual doctrine) on some hot-button topics, competing with equally intense pressure from the conservative side to reaffirm both doctrine and the rules on pastoral practice.  We should also remember, that any direct change in doctrine was never in fact on the cards: that was not the purpose of the family synods, and is not the nature of an apostolic exhortation, which traditionally, is purely pastoral.

This is why it is very much a compromise, and reading the full text is very much an ambidextrous exercise: any fair assessment of the Exhortation must repeatedly assert, “On the one hand….. , on the other hand”. For every disappointment, especially for LGBT Catholics, there is a more optimistic qualification. For every sign of hope, there is a matching disappointment.

Source:  Quest

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“Une nouvelle ère pour la pastorale inclusive des personnes LGBT commence avec ce Synode:” | Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

Le Réseau Mondial des Catholiques Arc-en-ciel (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics) prend note du Rapport Final du Synode de 2015 des évêques sur La Vocation et la Mission de la Famille dans l’Église et dans le Monde Contemporain. Nous reconnaissons que le document que les évêques ont soumis au Pape François n’est qu’une étape dans le processus du Synode et qu’il attend une réponse et une réflexion plus complètes de la part du Souverain Pontife selon un mode qu’il choisira.

Source: “Une nouvelle ère pour la pastorale inclusive des personnes LGBT commence avec ce Synode:” | Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

“Uma nova era de cuidado pastoral inclusive às pessoas LGBT vai se iniciar após o Sínodo:” | Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

A Rede Global de Católicos do Arco-Íris assinala o Relatório Final do Sínodo dos Bispos de 2015 sobre A Vocação e a Missão da Família na Igreja e no Mundo Contemporâneo. Reconhecemos que a apresentação pelos Bispos aos Papa Francisco não é mais do que um passo no processo do Sínodo e aguardará uma resposta e reflexão mais abrangentes por parte dele da maneira que ele irá determinar.

Source: “Uma nova era de cuidado pastoral inclusive às pessoas LGBT vai se iniciar após o Sínodo:” | Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

LGBT Catholic Briefing Paper sent to Synod – Independent Catholic News

The LGBT Catholic community which gathers in the Diocese of Westminster, sent a Briefing Paper to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton and Chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life, who are representing the Catholic Bishops of England & Wales at the International Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome.The LGBT Catholics Briefing Paper is the result of a Reflection Day, sponsored by the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council in June 2013.It calls for the harsh language of previous Vatican documents referring to LGBT people as ‘disordered’ to be rescinded. It urges the Vatican Synod to reject the global criminalisation of LGBT people, including the death penalty. It calls for the Vatican to initiate a three – five year Listening Process, to include Bishops, theologians, LGBT people and their parents, parish clergy and pastoral workers, in order to develop models of pastoral care which more closely reflect Pope Francis’ call for mercy, justice and equality, particularly applying this to the concerns of LGBT people, parents and families. The document calls for the Church to turn from a preoccupation with sexual behaviour to an acceptance of loving relationality, as reflecting the love of God for all people.

Source: LGBT Catholic Briefing Paper sent to Synod – Independent Catholic News

Belgian Bishops: Church Must BeMore Welcoming to All.

Reporting on the the Religious Information Service release of some European results of the global survey on marriage and family, Vatican Insider has a snippet from Belgium that will not surprise LGBT Catholics – but is of great importance to us, and the for relevant discussions likely at the family synod. The Belgian bishops have concluded that the Church need to be “more open and welcoming” – especially to gay people and remarried divorcees.

“Belgian Catholics expect the Church to welcome everyone, regardless of differences or mistakes made. This especially true when it comes to gay people and remarried divorcees,” SIR says.

“Belgian Catholics, inspired by Francis, are calling for a mother Church that embraces all: hence the need to grow in the faith and form lively communities,” SIR highlights. The questionnaires also placed an emphasis on the essential role women can play in Church life: “It is they who pass on the faith to children and guide them,” Belgian Catholics point out. 

 – Vatican Insider.

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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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