English Bishop’s Apology to LGBT community.

In a joint press conference on the Family Synod with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton issued an apology to the LGBT community, that this important issue had not been properly addressed. A report at Christian Today includes this:

He (Bishop Doyle) also apologised that the Synod had not had time to deal with the issue of homosexuality. “I’m very sorry for the LGBT good people who were looking to the synod for something. It was really hard for people of same sex attraction. It wasn’t blocked. There was just so much to deal with.”

There are a number of points here that deserve to be highlighted.

This apology is limited in its extent. It is an apology only for the lack of attention to LGBT issues during the synod, not for previous or continuing injustices. There was however at least one such apology during the synod assembly, made during the German speaking small group discussion on part III of the Instrumentum. (There may have been others made in personal interventions, or in private conversations, that have not been publicly disclosed). In the wider Catholic and other Christian communities, this is a growing sentiment. We should expect to see more such apologies in future.

Previously, during the synod itself, Bishop Doyle had criticised the synod for the same point. Yesterday’s apology softened from criticism to a statement of regret, saying that he didn’t believe it was deliberate, but there just wasn’t time. Other bishops disagree. The Belgian Bishop Bonny, an outspoken advocate for LGBT inclusion, complained that in his French group, Cardinal Sarah actively suppressed such discussions. Pressure of time was real, and a partial explanation for the lack of discussion, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that some at least are trying hard to avoid dealing with the subject, possibly because they know that once it is addressed really seriously, the Church will have to make a number of concessions and changes in its practice, and even in doctrine on these matters.  The subject cannot be avoided indefinitely though. A proper review will come, and when it does, there will be changes – just as there have already been in so many other Christian denominations.

It’s also worth noting that his words of apology included both “LGBT”, which like “gay” is a term more usually avoided previously by Catholic bishops, and  “good people“. This echoes a theme spoken of more and more by the bishops, especially those who have actually met directly with us: that our lives, loves and commitment to the Church can be as worthy as those of others. The Catholic catechism speaks of “respect, sensitivity and compassion” for lesbian and gay Catholics, but in the past has too often been mere lip service. From more and more bishops, expressions of “respect” are becoming genuine and sincere.


Pope Francis says anti-gay bishops have ‘closed hearts’ – Gay Times

The Pope has attacked conservative church leaders. After three weeks of talks at the Vatican for the Synod on the Family, Catholic leaders decided they shouldn’t change their stance on gay people. And Pope Francis isn’t happy about it. The Catholic Herald reports that the Pope has now complained of “conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints” and “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the church’s teachings.” However, the Synod said that gay people should not suffer discrimination in society.

Source: Pope Francis says anti-gay bishops have ‘closed hearts’ – Gay Times

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

South African Church Approves Gay Clergy, Same-sex Blessings

History made as South African Church Votes to Bless Same-sex marriage and Ordain Gay Ministers | O-blog-dee-o-blog-da

Dutch Reformed Church Theological College

YES! for Gay People in Dutch Reformed Church – NG Kerk  – There were Tears of joy after the announcement.


By Melanie Nathan, October 08, 2015.


History was made in South Africa today, when the synod of  what was once probably the most conservative church on the planet, the Dutch Reformed Church, (NG Kerk/ DRC) in an overwhelming majority,  voted in favor of ordaining gay ministers and blessing same sex unions.

Source:  O-blog-dee-o-blog-da

LGBT Catholic Groups Meet in Rome

Jeannine Grammick, New Ways Ministry, Dignity, Catholic Church, gay news, Washington Blade

More than a dozen organizations that advocate on behalf of LGBT Catholics met in Rome over the past weekend.

The Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, DignityUSA and 11 other groups that are part ofthe Global Network of Rainbow Catholics took part in the coalition’s inaugural meeting from Oct. 1-4. The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, the Christian Association of Gays and Lesbians of Catalonia in Spain, LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council in the U.K., the Dette Resources Foundation in Zambia and Pastoral de la Diversidad Sexual in Chile are among the other organizations that attended the gathering.

New Ways Ministry Executive Director Frank DeBernardo told the Washington Blade on Monday during a telephone interview from Rome the meeting caps off efforts to launch the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics that began two years ago. He said these groups “felt it was time for an international organization since there are so many of us.”

Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, and former Irish President Mary McAleese, who has a gay son, are among those who spoke at a conference in Rome on Oct. 3 that focused on “pastoral care” for LGBT Catholics and their families.

-more at Washington Blade

Gay Catholic group launches in Rome as synod gets underway

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics gathering

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics held a four-day assembly in Rome over the weekend

A group for gay Catholics launched in Rome just before the start of the synod on the family.

People from 31 countries gathered in Italy’s capital from October 1-4 for an assembly to launch the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC).

A steering committee was elected for the Network with representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. The committee includes women, men and the parent of a gay person.

The GNRC Assembly included a public conference, entitled Ways of Love: Snapshots of Catholic Pastoral Encounters with LGBT People and their Families. The conference featured an interview with former Irish President, Dr Mary McAleese. A keynote address was given by Bishop Raul Vera OP of Saltillo, Mexico, who also presided at a closing Mass on Sunday.

GNRC Assembly delegates approved a letter that has been sent to all of the participants in the synod on the family.

-more at The Catholic Herald

Sacred Heart Catholic Church celebrates inclusion with ‘Mass of Belonging’

The choir sings during Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s “Mass of Belonging,” held at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. LANCE ROTHSTEIN/STAFF

TAMPA — Frank Sammartino and Don Sullivan said they did not feel welcome at Catholic churches in New Jersey.

At first, the men, both 72, said they didn’t feel wanted at several churches after moving to Tampa. That changed in 2006, they said, when they first attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church on North Florida Avenue.

On Sunday, Sammartino and Sullivan were two of hundreds of parishioners who attended Sacred Heart’s “Mass of Belonging,” held at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

The event was held several days after the conclusion of Pope Francis’ widely-covered first visit to the United States.

A gay couple who have been together 45 years, Sammartino and Sullivan said they were grateful to have been accepted at Sacred Heart.

“By the time we reached here, I had just about fallen away from the Catholic Church,” Sullivan said. “I couldn’t find a parish where I felt I belonged.”

Sammartino nodded.

“From Day One, they opened their doors up to everybody,” he said.

-Full report at The Tampa Tribune

Intense jockeying on gay issues precedes next week’s Catholic synod meeting – The Washington Post

But for many gay Catholics, the first synod on the family held last year ended in disappointment. A working document released midway through the three-week conference suggested that the church adopt a more open approach, but the final report toned that language down. Francis insisted the issue be included for future debate, however, and many bishops at the synod are on record calling for more openness to gays and lesbians. A lot has happened in the LGBT debate globally in the past year. Ireland, a predomin

Source: Intense jockeying on gay issues precedes next week’s Catholic synod meeting – The Washington Post