More on “Welcome” in Church.

The Church claims to be a welcoming space for all, including sexual minorities. Some would disagree, but I do not wish to go into that here. Instead, I want to draw your attention to a piece written by Deb Word, for the newsletter of the Catholic Association for Lesbian & Gay Ministry, Winter 2010. (CALGM is an association of diocesan, parish and campus-based ministries and those involved in these ministries, under the leadership of the US bishops).

This piece is about the work of the writer and her husband as individual Catholics in providing a welcome. But here’s the key passage, as it applies to the institutional church in the USA (as far as I know, it is much the same everywhere else):

When you are working with a population that is prone to suicide1, you need more than band-aids.  LGBT homeless kids attempt suicide at a rate of 69%. Why, as church, are we missing this? A search for a model of Catholic Charities reaching out to homeless LGBT kids comes up empty.

Now read the full article, which I have taken from an email :

Surely you can set one more place at the table… please.

By Deb Word

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Come Out to Save Lives – Megachurch Pastor Jim Swilley

There are many sound religious reason for coming out (which I summarise below).  The Georgia megachurch pastor Jim Swilley, of  “Church in the Now”, by his own example has presented another. He has come out to save lives.

Swilley has hidden his sexuality from his congregation for years, through two marriages (although he was at least honest with his second wife, who in turn encouraged him to be open more publicly). Unlike so many other closeted preachers (Bishop Long, George Rekers and Ted Swaggart, for instance) however, he has never fallen into the trap of preaching against homosexuality to hide his own orientation.

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Suicide, Abuse, and the Catholic Church

One of my earliest memories from primary school religion lessons is that suicide is a grievous sin, one of the worst of all. If that is so, how serious is it to be responsible for another person’s suicide? And how serious is it if that person is a representative of the Catholic Church, or indirectly, the whole impersonal structure of the Church itself?

 

The Church has by now become accustomed to being sued by survivors of clerical abuse, of boys, girls, and adults alike. It is also now accustomed to paying out large sums, as the result of court judgements, out-of court settlements, or (in some cases) plain hush money, all for abuse. Read the rest of this entry »