The Catholic Push For Maryland Equality

Catholics have been prominent in the Maryland push for marriage equality – on both sides of the divide. Delegate  Heather Mizeur is a Catholic lesbian who married her spouse, Deborah, five years ago – and is a lead sponsor of the legislation now making its way through the state legislature. Governor Quinn is a Catholic, who has said that  if when the legislation is passed, he will follow his conscience – and sign. Polling evidence shows that collectively, Maryland Catholics are more supportive of marriage without discrimination than the state as a whole. New Ways Ministry, the nationwide organisation founded in 1976 by Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent to promoteg sound pastoral care for LGBT Catholics and their families, and providing reliable information about sexual orientation to the Church as a whole, is based in Maryland.

 

Sister Jeanine Gramick and Francis DeBernardo speak at the day-long conference

Yesterday, New Ways Ministry hosted a day-long conference?, Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach,  to promote equality.

Read the rest of this entry »

Combating Bigotry, A Cause for Sainthood: Brooklyn Diocese

At a special church service on Thursday night, Bishop Nicholas A. Di Marzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn opened what is known as a “canonical inquiry” into the cause of sainthood for a Brooklyn priest, Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn.

New York Times

The basis of the cause is Msgr Quinn’s proud record of fighting against bigotry,  inside the church as well as outside.

Monsignor Quinn, who died in 1940 at age 52, championed racial equality at a time when discrimination against blacks was ubiquitous in America, even inside the Catholic Church. In the Depression-era heyday of the anti-Semitic, pro-Fascist radio broadcasts of the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, Monsignor Quinn encountered sharp resistance from some fellow priests when he proposed ministering to Brooklyn’s growing population of blacks, many of them fleeing the Jim Crow South or migrating from the poor Caribbean countries.

When Msgr. John L. Belford, an outspokenly antiblack priest in New York, wrote in 1929 in his church newsletter that “negroes should be excluded from this Roman Catholic church if they become numerous,” Monsignor Quinn took pains during the public controversy that followed to state his strong disagreement.

The bigotry that Msgr Quinn fought against was racial, not sexual – but the principle is the same. Racial discrimination was once commonplace, and was widely “justified” by spurious references from Scripture. Today, overt displays of racial prejudice are taboo, and many Churches like to cast themselves as models of racial justice.   Why can the church not see that the injustice of discrimination in Church is every bit as distasteful when applied to sexual minorities, as to racial groups?

This will change, is already changing. In years to come, we could easily see a repeat of something very like the above announcement, requiring changes to only the name and a very few words:

At a special church service on Thursday night, Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn opened what is known as a “canonical inquiry” into the cause of sainthood for a … priest/sister, Fr John McNeill / Jeannine Gramick/………….(insert your nominee).

Fr John McNeill / Jeannine Gramick/………….(insert your nominee)n championed sexual equality at a time when discrimination against sexual minorities was ubiquitous in America, even inside the Catholic Church. In the  heyday of the heteronormative, homophobic campaigns against marriage equality waged by so many bishops and prominent lay Catholics, Fr John McNeill / Jeannine Gramick/………….(insert your nominee) encountered sharp resistance from some fellow priests when he proposed ministering to the growing population of openly gay and lesbian Catholics, many of them fleeing homophobic violence  or migrating from countries same sex relationships could meet prosecution, or even the death penalty.

Will it happen? not necessarily in those exact words, but in principle, I am sure it will. When will it happen? only time will tell.

Lesbian Family’s School Exclusion: Jeannine Gramick in Boulder

Two Catholic schools have been in the news for excluding the children of lesbian parents. In Massachusetts, the situation was defused when the Church made clear that exclusion was not diocesan policy, and promised to accommodate the child in another Catholic school. In Boulder, there was no satisfactory resolution, and there remain a great many disgruntled parents.

Sr Jeannine Grammick one of the co-founders of New Ways Ministry, has been to Boulder, speaking at an event organised by Boulder Pride and PFLAG, about the importance of conscience, and her continued work of ministry in defiance f the Vatican.

From “Daily Camera

Sister Jeannine Gramick was ordered by the Vatican to stop ministering to gay and lesbian Catholics, but the outspoken nun didn’t listen.

Despite threats of excommunication, she continued to support gays and lesbians who felt ostracized, and to advocate for change, Gramick said during a talk Sunday at the Boulder Public Library. Read the rest of this entry »

Support New Ways Ministry: Be a Fan at Face book

New Ways Ministry began when a young man asked Sr Jeannine Gramick “What is the Church doing for my gay brothers and sisters? What are you doing, sister?”  Sr Grammick thought, and did something.  New Ways continues to “do something”.  We could well ask Cardinal George, so many years later:

“What is the Church doing for my gay brothers and sisters? What are you doing, Cardinal George?”

And you: what are you doing, for our gay brothers and sisters in church, and for New Ways Ministry ?

Sr Jeannine at St Peter's, Rome

Show your support. Join the Face book group, visit the News Ways Website and show support there. Write your bishops.

From Facebook  “We Support New Ways Ministry:”

New Ways Ministry is a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.

Through research, publication and education about homosexuality, New Ways Ministry fosters dialogue among groups and individuals, identify and combat personal and structural homophobia, work for changes in attitudes and promote the acceptance of gay and lesbian people as full and equal members of church and society.

<<< ACTION ALERT >>>

New Ways Ministry is at a critical point in its 33-year history. As you may have heard, Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement on February 5, 2010, saying that New Ways Ministry does not provide “an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching.” Naturally, we disagree. Read our response to the right of this column. We are undaunted by this charge, and we plan to continue our ministry as we have been doing—as long as we have your continued support!

One way to show your support at this point is to respond to Cardinal George’s decision by writing him a letter or sending him an email. It is imperative that Cardinal George hear from Catholics who support New Ways Ministry’s mission and programs. Would you do us the favor of taking a minute or so to send him some correspondence? Speak from your heart and from your experience. Let him know what role New Ways Ministry’s projects have played in your life. Speak honestly but respectfully. We ask that you write to Cardinal George at one of these addresses:

Cardinal Francis George, OMI
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Cardinal Francis George, OMI
Archdiocese of Chicago
PO Box 1979
Chicago, Illinois 60690
Email: archbishop@archchicago.org