Perhaps after the age of Benedict has passed the prelates of the Church could adapt this moderate approach, patterened after St. Anselm’s actions, towards the question of homosexuality. Even Cardinal George in his new book seems to stress a moderate spirit of Catholicism free of idelogical extremes. If the U.S. Bishops and the Vatican could somehow understand that protecting the dignity of homosexuals, as they claim to do, means ensuring some sort of legislative protections for them (whether they agree with the morality of their actions or not, as you pointed out, the same way in which civil divorce is viewed yet still accepted) and not just lip service perhaps a compromise could be reached?
Still, it seems that any opinions among the prelates about the issue of homosexuality and the dignity of LGBT individuals has been dominated by the unwavering conservative opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
It would be nice if at some point the USCCB would concede and understand that same-sex marriage is a civil question for our nation to decide, not one that needs defending from eccleastical institutions. Ultimately, same-sex marriage will have to be permitted the same way abortion is permitted (yet opposed) throughout the nation.
In the end, adopting even this sort of middle o the road approach would no doubt give way to even more genuine and sincere dialogue concerning the subject of homosexuality itself, perhaps even coming in conformity to the conclusions of the likes of Fr. Charles Curran on the subject. But, at least for now, it seems that the prelates here in the United States still have a lot to learn about this issue. Maybe once the general the public has fully endorsed the idea of same-sex marriage (or at least civil unions or some kind of legal protections that are equivalent to the benefits of civil marriage) so blatantly and the prelates opposition is seen to be rooted out of nothing but homophobia, fear, and even the phenonemon of their own sexual-denial, will the leaders of the Church seek more pastoral solutions to solve the relation of the Church with its homosexual members. Here’s hoping that such a reasoned solution comes swiftly.
I have a suspicion, Phillip, that not all the prelates, in the US or elsewhere. are so short-sighted. But because the conservative view is the offically approved one, it’s only the conservatives who have the confidence to speak out vocally, and the arch-conservatives also speak out, not conscious of how out of step they are. There have been signs over the past year of some moderate bishops breaking ranks. It would not surprise me if we started soon to see more balanced views coming through from the bishops, as we already do from a good proportion of priests, at least in private or in the confessional.
The more we speak out, the easier it becomes for others to do the same.
I agree. Currently I’m preparing to learn how to become a Eucharistic Minister so I’m just wondering when speaking could put my position in jeopardy… =/ It’s sad, but that’s the way things are in the Church…look what happened to Scott Pomfret unfortunately 😦
Phillip, this is a toughie for which there are no easy answers and I sympathise. Much as it is desirable for us all to come out publicly, in the real world things are not always possible and it has to be a deeply personal decision. The same principle applies in the church, where circumstances change dramatically from one person or one parish to another. Scott Pomfret is not the only victim here: there was also the Canadian altar server, and he was not even an activist.
There are different kinds of speaking out, though: they don’t all have to be loud and public. For example, it might be possible to speak very frankly to any priests you know (the more the better). Many priests at the coal face are very aware of the pain we experience, and can be very supportive. If he is supportive, your local pp may well be able to guide you in your present dilemma. Then you could do teh speaking up on -line, as you already do so well here and elsewhere. Don’t underestimate the value of this. While it may not reach a wide audience, your invariably thoughtful observations will be helpful and a source of strength to others.
I wish you well on your goal of serving as an EM. I originally volunteered at our Soho Masses not of any strong desire, but just because it was a job that needed doing. Now, three years later, I find it very satisfying and would be disappointed if I had to stop.
“Respect and acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation is not a point of controversy — indeed, it is a teaching of the church,”
This is another lie from Bishop Malone. If it were true there would never have been a gay witch hunt in the seminaries, nor would there be any question about ordaining gay seminarians. Gay priests would feel free to come out of their closets without fear of repercussions.
Terence, it’s time we loudly proclaimed the truth. As far as gays and gay marriage, the Church has opted for the strategy of lie after lie after lie and all based on lies. It’s ugly and as far as I am concerned serves no other purpose than to let supposedly straight celibate clergy prance amongst the straight male power brokers.
We can not fight fear based future thinking with rational arguments in the present. We need to fight fire with fire and define the truth of the future as we see it. If democracies allow these religious political campaigns to continue the targets will change from gays to other minorities. This is not just a fight for or against gay marriage. It’s a much bigger battle for the soul of democracy.
Respect and acceptance are indeed part of the “teaching” – its down in the documents. But it is clearly not there in the practice, nor is it a teaching that is loudly proclaimed or defended: else there would have been a rush to sign up to the UN declaration earlier this year, and the African Synod would have been denouncing all those African countries where homosexuality is criminalised even subject to the death penalty. (Uganda is not the first African country to propose it: others, like Sudan, already implement it).
On truth, I find it ironic that somewhere in the Vatican documents on homosexuality there is a call to “proclaim the truth”, which they singularly fail to do. We absolutely have an obligation to call out the lies where we see them, and also to point to the multitude of inconsistencies in their own practice. I also agree that it is no use waiting for the establishment to define change. The Catholic church includes all of us, no matter how much the self-appointed oligarchy would like to pretend otherwise. Theology is not just something done by clerical professionals in the Vatican. We all have an opportunity to participate, and must. This is why I love the work being done by the CCCR in the Twin Cities, about which Michael writes regularly at the Wild Reed, and about which I have just this minute finished adding my own two bits worth.,
Rev. James Lewis Stoll, who died on December 8th 1994, was a Unitarian Universalist minister who became the first ordained minister of any religion in the United States or Canada to come out as gay. He did so at the annual Continental Conference of Student Religious Liberals on September 5, 1969 in La Foret, Colorado. Later, he led the effort that convinced […]
CHARLES DE FOUCAULD (Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.He lost his faith as an adolescent.His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he c […]
In Catholic spiritual tradition, there is an important and honoured place for the idea of "The Bride of Christ". At one level, we are taught to think of the Church as a whole as such a bride of Christ, and the wedding at Cana as a metaphor for the marriage of Christ to his bride, the Church. At another level, religious women think of themselves as […]
b. May 22, 1930 d. November 27, 1978Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to a significant public office when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served eleven months before he was assassinated."The important thing is not that we can live on hope alone, but that life is not worth living without it. […]
In Catholic tradition, Longinus is the name given to the Roman centurion at the crucifixion who pierced Christ's side with his spear. Some writers, like Paul Halsall of the LGBT Catholic Handbook, also identify him with the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his "beloved boy", who was ill. It is this second person that I am interested in here. […]
There is an important distinction between "faith", which refers to belief and a relationship with the divine, and "religion", which refers primarily to the human structures which support it, with their rules, rituals, and clerical castes. They are obviously linked, interdependent, and ideally, support each other. There are grave dangers t […]
Sane and rational discussion of the Bible and same-sex relationships are bedevilled by difficulties with language, arising from problems with translations on the one hand, and vastly different cultural conditions which make it difficult sometimes to make sense of the applicability of the words, even where the literal meaning is clear. This is especially imp […]
The Ethiopian Eunuch is our most famous trancestor. However, there are many more scattered through the Bible, both visible and invisible. We shall meet many more later. -Lewis ReayThe Many Eunuchs Hidden in ScriptureThere are numerous trans themes and characters in Scripture. If these are not immediately familiar to us, this is because often, they are simply […]
One of the great paradox's of queer church history is that a period of extreme persecution of "sodomites" by the Inquisition, directly at their own hands or indirectly by secular authorities at their instigation, largely coincided with a remarkable series of popes who had sex with men, who protected family and friends who did so, or spent vast […]
James Alison is another important theologian for gay men, although he described himself not as a "gay theologian", but as a theologian who writes from a gay (male) perspective. He was formerly a Dominican priest, who like Fr John McNeill,, was forced out of the priesthood for daring to speak honestly, in his case about gay priests. He has since cre […]
Yes, really - in a manner of speaking. Browsing through the Catechism section on sexuality, which you will find under the sixth commandment, I was struck by two passages in particular:"Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity." (2333)and"Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological wor […]
At Religion Dispatches Magazine, Louis A. Ruprecht makes an important point: One of the more striking things about all of the ink that has been spilled over California’s now- infamous Proposition 8, and its long legal aftermath, is the almost reflexive assumption on all sides that marriage, somehow, is a norm, a desirable norm. And so the argument swiftly be […]
The five co-defendants sit close enough to shake hands in the Philadelphia courtroom, but they never once acknowledge one another. Father James Brennan, a 47-year-old priest accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, looks sad and stooped in a navy sweater, unshaven and sniffling. Edward Avery, a defrocked priest in his sixties, wears an unsettlingly pleasant expr […]
"A LEADING child protection expert has urged the Victorian government to hold a public inquiry into the handling of child-sex cases by a Catholic religious order after the Catholic Church suppressed a report it asked him to write. Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson wrote yesterday to the Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Polic […]
The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church. Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vat […]