Blessed John Henry and Ambrose: Newman’s Last Sermon

The media caravanserai has moved on, but Cardinal John Henry Newman is now and will remain known as Blessed John Henry. He remains also a significant, if complex, figure for gay and lesbian Catholics in his relationship with his beloved Ambrose St John, and in his theology for progressive Catholics more generally. The theology is subtle, and has been too easily misappropriated by people on both sides of the Church ideological divide. I do not (yet) want to enter that territory. About the relationship with Ambrose, I feel more secure.

 

Inscription for a grave in which both John Henry and Ambrose were buried.

Alan Bray (“The Friend “) has written extensively about this relationship, showing how it fits into an ancient tradition of close, even passionate friendship between male couples in the Church: Read the rest of this entry »

“Uniting Church” Disunity Over Sacred Unions

In Australia, a church ceremony that was not a gay wedding has attracted the ire of gay marriage foes. In doing so, it has highlighted many of the challenges, tensions and achievements facing the churches over LGBT inclusion.

On one side:

NEITHER partner wore white, and everyone concerned carefully distanced themselves from the words ”wedding” or ”marriage”.

But the intent of the same-sex ”sacred union ceremony” at Brunswick Uniting Church was fairly clear: vows and rings were exchanged, there were prayers and blessings, and a multi-tiered white cake to aid post-service celebrations.

Damien Stevens, 30, who celebrated his sacred union with Chris Todd, 22, saw it as emotionally and politically significant to have their relationship recognised and blessed in church.


They were one of four couples who were joined on the same day in not- Holy Matrimony.

Not everyone was convinced: Read the rest of this entry »