US Nuns Are Revolting – at Bishops’ Double Standards.

In yet another demonstration that Catholics today are no longer content to simply sit back and pray, pay and disobey, a group of US nuns have openly criticized the USCCB over its double standards on homosexuality. On the one hand, they repeatedly condemn progress towards legal recognition for same-sex relationships, or protection from legal discrimination, while on the other hand they studiously refrain from comment on the problems of homophobia and bullying directed at gay students, even in Catholic schools.

This kind of open criticism of Church leadership would have been unthinkable just a few years ago – but is very much to be welcomed.

National Coalition of American Nuns:

Nuns to Bishops: Condemn Bullying, not Marriage Equality

On behalf of GLBT Catholics, their families and friends, and thoughtful Catholics across the United States, the National Coalition of American Nuns is appalled at the lack of sensitivity of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to lesbian and gay persons.

More than a month has gone by since the media broke the news about a series of gay suicides. During that time, the US Catholic Bishops failed to make a single statement regarding these tragic, preventable deaths. Not one bishop’s voice was raised to condemn a culture where youths are bullied for being who God created them to be and are sometimes pushed by society’s judgments to attempt suicide. Many people have accused certain segments of organized religion, including the Catholic hierarchy, of fueling these attacks and contributing to suicides.

The annual meeting in Baltimore of the US Catholic Bishops this week offered an opportunity to decry these horrendous events. Instead, the bishops have chosen to discuss “the defense of marriage,” their well-funded attack on same-gender couples.

Like blinded Pharisees, they fail to see that the Catholic community is embarrassed by their silence in the face of brutality and incensed by their push of a political agenda against marriage equality—all at a time when their credibility on sexual matters is at a record low.

The bishops have not learned from the Minnesota experience, where Catholics returned the anti-gay DVD’s the hierarchy sent to each household in the state. The anger of Minnesota Catholics is erupting all across our country. Faithful Catholics believe their bishops should be preaching a message of concern and understanding, instead of rejection and hate.

The National Coalition of American Nuns calls on all US Catholics to rise up and say, “Enough, enough! No more discriminatory rhetoric and repressive measures from men who lay heavy burdens on the shoulders of others and do not lift one finger of human kindness and compassion.

(I found this statement at Bridget Mary’s Blog)

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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.


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

Celibacy and the USCCB Eunuchs

Of all the issues that the USCCB should be discussing, but won’t, possibly the mot topical and most important is that of admitting married men and women to the priesthood.  This is not because they don’t want to – many would like to not only discuss it, but to go ahead with recruitment – but because (as Colleen Kochivar-Baker has noted at Enlightened Catholicism), they have been neutered by their Vatican controllers.  It is as if, recognising that in their (alleged) state of personal celibacy, they have recognised they have no need of balls, and allowed then to be cut off.  With at least three current news stories that imply a need to open this discussion, and the continuing crisis of too few willing candidates, their timidity is disgaceful.

US Catholic Bishops

With the imminent arrival in the Roman fold of an unspecified number of married Anglicans and Episcopalians, the discussion has already begun outside the conference hall – but is unlikely to be conducted inside it. The interim report of the John Jay research, clearly rejecting homosexual clergy as a causal factor behind the problem of clerical sexual ab use, should now turn attention to the real causes (one of which is compulsory celibacy) – but won’t.  And now a news story from Ireland shows that the debate is again being opened up in the public sphere – but not, I suspect, by the bishops. Read the rest of this entry »

Fig leaf Removed: Clerical Abuse is NOT Caused by Gay Priests, After All.

Surprised? no, of course not – but this report is still welcome news, because it was commissioned by the US bishops, to whom an interim report has just been delivered.

Some recent history is in order here. In late September, I carried a report that “Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that “available research” showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.” When I investigated this claim for m(Vatican Blame Game, updated) , it turned out that this claim of Tomasi’s was based on earlier research evidence by the same John Jay research institution. But when I read the report itself, I found nothing in it to confirm Archbishop’s conclusions. The fact that this report confirms what the rest of the world knows, is welcome, but not earthshattering. Don’t hold your breath for the bishops to announce that they accept the report, or will act on this finding, or even for them to release the full report when it has been concluded. Read the rest of this entry »