Category Archives: 00 Uncategorized

Civil Unions for Italy? European Court Says Yes.

In this map of recognition of same – sex couples across Europe, it is striking how completely gay marriage applies across the Scandinavia and in the western part of the country – everywhere except Northern Ireland, where there are civil unions, but not (yet) full marriage. The same applies in the German speaking countries of central Europe, and even in some countries of the former Yugoslavia and the Soviet bloc.

Italy is a glaring gap, due largely to the influence of the powerful Italian Catholic Church – but that could soon change.  The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that by failing to provide either civil unions or full gay marriage, Italy is violating the human rights of same – sex couples.


This will not have any immediate legal effect, but it will add substantially to the increasing political pressure. The Italian government has already promised to introduce civil unions, but has not yet followed words with actions. This judgement could change that, and polls show that support for gay marriage is increasing steadily.

What about the Catholic bishops?

In the past, they have strenuously and effectively opposed even civil unions, but in the Church too, things have changed. Many bishops in Europe and the America’s have been coming to the view that civil unions are at least more acceptable than full gay marriage, and are willing to accede to them as the “lesser of two evils” – or even (in a few cases), as having direct value in themselves. This was the option preferred by Pope Francis, when still Cardinal Bergoglio, leading the Church’s opposition to gay marriage in Argentina, and some years before that, of the Catholic bishops of Portugal. In both those countries, their efforts failed and full marriage was introduced.

The Italian bishops carry rather more weight with the their government, so it is unlikely that any attempt at full marriage equality will succeed. Civil unions however, will be easier – and the Italian government knows it.


US Episcopal Church Bishops Approve Gay Marriage, in Church

The decision is not yet final (it must still go before the House of Deputies), but it’s another sign of major change in Christian churches, in the understanding of marriage: no longer necessarily between ” a man and a woman”, but sometimes just between two people.

The Episcopal Church bishops vote to change marriage canon

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church has passed this resolution. The House of Deputies (clergy and laity) has yet to vote on the matter, and must concur before the changes can take effect. They have also been debating the authorisation of various liturgies to be used in connection with this change. We will report on those separately.

The situation is explained in this ENS report: Marriage-equality resolutions advance to House of Deputies:

…The bishops next debated and ultimately approved an amended Resolution A036 that revises Canon I.18 titled “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony” (page 58 of The Episcopal Church’s canons here).

Among many edits, the resolution removes references to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

 – more at Thinking Anglicans

When “Gay” Becomes “Peoplewhostrugglewithsamesexattraction”

From “Eye of the Tiber”, which says it is “breaking” Catholic News – so you don’t have to:

Diocese Of Gaylord, Michigan To Change Its Name To Peoplewhostrugglewithsamesexattractionlord, Michigan

Peoplewhostrugglewithsamesexattractionlord, MI—Parishioners in the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan are being asked by their new Bishop, Steven Raica, to begin referring to themselves as Peoplewhostrugglewithsamesexattractionlordians.

The news came just days after Raica was installed Bishop of the flamboyant Roman Diocese. Raica told parishioners during his first homily as Bishop that, basing his decision on Sacred Scripture, that all Catholics residing in Gaylord, should not act upon their citizenship and to henceforth avoid the term Gaylord.

“I don’t care whether you believe that you were born in Gaylord, or whether you simply woke up one day to find yourself living here. We are more than mere citizens of this city…we are children of God, who calls us to fulfill His will and to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties we may encounter from being from this region of the country.”

Raica went on to say that, although acting upon their citizenship by means of voting or running for office in the city is contrary to natural law and therefore cannot be approved, he assured Catholics living in the diocese that they can still serve a purpose.

In the end, Raica said that being from Gaylord ultimately does not satisfy the desires of the heart. “I’ve heard from many family member of those living here, asking if I could help their loved ones move back home. But this is not a simple fix. As the saying goes, ‘you can take the man out of Gaylord, but you can’t take the Gaylord out of the man.”

At press time, former Major League Baseball player Thosewithhomosexualtendencies Perry has come out in favor of the proposed name change.

via Eye of the Tiber .

“Laudato Si” – The Encyclical is Released

From the opening paragraphs:

1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.[1]

2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

Saint Francis of Assisi

10. I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

11. Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”.[19] His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”.[20] Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.

12. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty.[21] Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.