In many Christian denominations and local congregations, the rights of same – sex couples to full inclusion in church is gaining acceptance. One recent example is Grace Pointe church, Tennessee. This series of three videos shows the sermon in which Pastor Stan Mitchell announced the decision:
Part two of the the sermon in which Pastor Stan Mitchell announced the decision by GracePointe church, Tennessee, to back full inclusion in church life for lgbt people, including in church leadership and support for same – sex church weddings:
Part three of the the sermon in which Pastor Stan Mitchell announced the decision by GracePointe church, Tennessee, to back full inclusion in church life for lgbt people, including in church leadership and support for same – sex church weddings:
One of the questions that most troubles gay and lesbian Catholics, is how to reconcile the apparent conflict between two important sides to our make – up. For some, the seeming contradiction leads them to reject the Church, for others, to reject or hide their natural sexuality. Yet others attempt to live openly as both Catholic and gay – but are constantly troubled by guilr or doubt. Yet the contradiction may be more apparent than real. It is indeed possible, as many of us have found, to be simultaneously openly Catholic, lead lives of authenticity as gay or lesbian – and also free or guilt or shame about simply accepting the truth of our dual identities. At Quest Bulletin, the magazine of the British support group for gay and lesbian Catholics, there is a continuing series on “Real lives, real people”, as well as additional posts on “life stories”.
There are both practical and theological reasons why these life stories are important. One of these that caught my attention is by Ania Kowalski, at the time the women’s officer, and currently the youth offficer. What particularly attracted me was a section with an idea we don’t often see – her concluding sub-heading “The Beauty of Being Gay and Catholic”.
Here it is:
I am now at a point in my life where I am certain that how I am is good, because God made each of us in His image. I have a girlfriend who is not Catholic herself, but deeply understanding and supportive of my voluntary gay Catholic work. I see the divine in our relationship, and through expressing my love of another, and being loved back, I feel so much closer to God. I know God is in our relationship, and I know that our love is good, because God is in all love. These feelings make me feel certain that God had a wonderful plan for me when He made me gay, and I feel fortunate to be this way, with all the opportunities this gives me. I believe that having a loving, committed same-sex relationship, which includes sexual intimacy as an expression of that love, is in complete concordance with being Catholic, and in complete agreement with my conscience. I recognise that other gay Catholics might reach a different conclusion in careful consideration of their conscience where they hear the inner voice of God, and I fully respect that.
In being a gay Catholic, God has also made me question, explore my faith and inform my ideas, resulting in the situation where I think deeply about what I believe in and why. My faith is stronger now because of all of this, because I had to frantically dig around to find answers and then embed the foundations into my life. Many people can drift along, going to Church ‘out of duty’.
However, many gay Catholics bear beautiful testimony to their faith despite going through feelings of rejection or, sadly, homophobic incidents in Catholic communities. I believe I am also a more loving, tolerant and sensitive person, and these are all wonderful gifts I treasure. They make me a more compassionate human towards other humans, and I realise I am less quick to assume and make conclusions about others, because I know that despite external appearances, people often have desolate personal battles they are fighting. I also consider that gay Catholics have so much to contribute to the Church in terms of a broader view of human life and love, outside the traditional family structure. We show that we need to celebrate our differences, rather than feeling threatened by them, and to embrace others and love as much as we can, in all the ways we can.
Fundamentally, I see this as the crux of the Christian message. We are fortunate that we can bear witness to this in our own way.
For the rest of the post, under the sub-headings
- My faith journey
- Being visible as Catholic and gay
see the complete post at “Quest”
(At the time of writing the above story, Ania was Quest women’s officer. She has since passed on that responsibility, but continues to serve on the Quest national committee as “Young Adults” convenor.
Contact her at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Let us remember, today, Holocaust Memorial Day, which in 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the largest and most notorious Nazi death camp. The BBC will mark this with a memorial program, and there will be many memorial events around the United Kingdom.
Most of the attention, quite appropriately, will be focussed on the Jewish Holocaust, but without wishing to detract from that tragedy, we must not forget that there were other victims, too – for example, with particular relevance to lgbt peopIe, gay men and lesbians. I offer for your consideration, a posts on this theme that I have published previously, and another by Kittredge Cherry, at Jesus in Love.
The Priest With the Pink Triangle.
For the first post in my “queer modern heroes” series, I begin with someone most people have never heard of. (I’m not sure anyone even knows his name.) I begin with him because he represents a double martyrdom, martyred for his orientation, and also martyred for his faith. I choose him also precisely because he is anonymous, reminding us that in our own way, we are all called to our own heroism in the face of persecution, all called to be “martyrs” in the true, original sense – as witnesses to truth. I read this story in John McNeill’s “Taking a Chance on God“: McNeill got the story from Heinz Heger. These are McNeill’s words:
“I would like to end this reflection on the mature life of faith with the eyewitness account of a gay priest who was beaten to death in a German concentration camp during World War II because he refused to stop praying or to express contempt for himself. The story is recounted by Heinz Heger in his book “The Men With the Pink Triangle“, in which he he recalls what took place in the special concentration camp for gay men in Sachsenhausen (Sachsenhausen was a “level 3″ camp where prisoners were deliberately worked to death):
(also at Queering the Church, on a related theme: Lest We Forget: Remember the Ashes of Our Martyrs)
This day is commemorated on different dates in the UK, and the USA. From the other side of the Atlantic, for the American remembrance day in April, Kittredge Cherry reminded us at Jesus in Love:
Holocaust Remembrance: We All Wear the Triangle
Holy Priest Anonymous one of SachsenhausenBy William Hart McNichols ©
On Holocaust Remembrance Day we recall the genocide of 6 million Jews in state-sponsored extermination by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Nazis also murdered millions of people in other groups, including thousands of gay men and lesbians. Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom HaShoah, is April 11 this year.
One of those killed was an anonymous 60-year-old gay priest who died at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, Germany in 1940. Heinz Heger gives an eyewitness account in his book, “The Men with the Pink Triangle.” The priest was brutally beaten and tortured, and yet there was a moment of grace when a narrow beam of sunlight shone on the priest’s face. For a detailed account, visit:
The gay priest is honored in the icon above, “Holy Priest Anonymous one of Sachsenhausen” by Father William Hart McNichols, a renowned iconographer and Roman Catholic priest based in New Mexico.
1st Reading, 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B:
In today’s reading, we learn how Jonah was sent to preach to the people of Nineveh, and by reforming them, to save them from the Lord’s destruction:
The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.