A French Example of Diocesan LGBT Ministry.

A facebook post at LGBT et catholicisme, un lieu d’échange et de dialogue has drawn my attention to an interesting example of sensitive LGBT ministry in the French diocese of Créteil. What I particularly like about this initiative:

  • Incorporating the rainbow flag into its logo, on a Catholic diocesan website
  • the clearly non-judgemental approach, with an emphasis on listening and prayer
  • the collaboration with two organisations outside the diocesan structure, which each have an explicit welcome to LGBT Christians, their friends and their families (and yes, the “T” here is specifically spelt out).


Continue reading A French Example of Diocesan LGBT Ministry.

Kasper: Same – sex Unions “Central” to the 2015 Family Synod.

For lesbian and gay Catholics, there is dynamite in Cardinal Walter Kasper’s expectations for the October Synod. Recall, that he has form in this. Addressing the 2014 consistory of cardinals, his reflections on more sympathetic pastoral response to divorced and remarried Catholic gave advance notice that would be a major them of the initial, extraordinary synod. So it proved. Now, he has given notice of a different them that could be a major focus of this years synod: same -sex couples and recognition of their unions. (Lifesite News agrees with my interpretation, greeting the news with horror. What distresses Lifesite usually pleases me).

Gay marriage

Continue reading Kasper: Same – sex Unions “Central” to the 2015 Family Synod.

Cardinal Kasper’s Corriere Interview: the Complete Text

The full text of Cardinal Walter Kasper’s interview with Corriere has far more important points than only those included in second hand reports, such as at La Croix. I post below my translation of the original Italian, which may be seen in this facebook post at LGBT Chretiens.

The headline, subheading and questions and interventions in bold are those of Corriere. Paragraphs in blockquotes are the reported words of Cardinal Kasper.


“Many faithful want civil unions. It is time that the Church accept this challenge”

Continue reading Cardinal Kasper’s Corriere Interview: the Complete Text

Cardinal Kasper: We Must Respect Positive Elements in Same – Sex Unions, Reject Hurtful Language

Cardinal Parolin’s stupid and insensitive claim that the Irish referendum result is a “defeat for humaniy” has been widely reported in the English press. There’s been less coverage to rather more encouraging responses by others in the Vatican. Italian and French media have also reported on more encouraging responses by Cardinals Bagnasco and especially by Cardinal Kasper, who will have an influential role in October’s family synod. In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera he acknowledges that the Church must recognize the democratic decisions of voters, says that “now is the time to discuss” these things, and that the Church must find a “new language” in doing so, avoiding the hurtful language and discrimination that have been common in the past. These sentiments will be especially important for bishops in Italy in the months leading up to the synod, as the country faces its own prospect of civil unions.

The Irish result has galvanized Italian politicians, who have promised a civil unions bill “soon”. The political debate is likely to be played out precisely during, or immediately before, the October family synod. There will certainly not be any approval given to gay marriage, and even support for civil unions is unlikely, but we know that the possibility of some – form of recognition or valuing of same – sex couples has at least been discussed, for example by the gathering in Rome of bishops and theologians from Germany, Switzerland and France, called by the presidents of the respective bishops’ conferences. Coupled with the new emphasis on respectful dialogue, and the Kasper’s admission that democratic decisions must be respected, it seems probable that after the synod, responses to same – sex couples and their relationships will be substantially changed, in practice if not (yet) in actual teaching.

Unfortunately, the Corriere interview is behind a paywall.  However, at the French LGBT Christian facebook page LGBT et catholicisme, un lieu d’échange et de dialogue, there is an image of the front page.

I’ve been also been able to locate reports on it from the French La Croix, and also from a secondary Italian source (for which I’ve stupidly not noted the link), which with the help of Google, I’ve been able to translate.

First, the report from La Croix, in the original French, interspersed with my English translation. Thereafter, the Italian text and its translation:

Le cardinal Kasper affirme que des éléments de bien peuvent exister dans une union homosexuelle

Cardinal Kasper says that positive elements may exist in a homosexual union

Le président émérite du Conseil pontifical pour la promotion de l’unité des chrétiens s’exprimait mercredi 27 mai dans une interview au quotidien italien Corriere della Sera.

The President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was speaking Wednesday, May 27 in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.


Pour le cardinal Kasper, la miséricorde est la clé de l’existence chrétienne

For Cardinal Kasper, mercy is the key to Christian existence


« S’il existe une union stable (dans un couple homosexuel, NDLR), des éléments de bien existent sans aucun doute et il faut les reconnaître », affirme le cardinal Walter Kasper dans le quotidien italien Corriere della Sera mercredi 27 mai.

“If there is a stable union (in a homosexual couple, Ed), positive elements undoubtedly exist and must be recognized” says Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera Wednesday, May 27

« Mais nous ne pouvons pas comparer cela (avec le mariage, NDLR), poursuit cependant le président émérite du Conseil pontifical pour la promotion de l’unité des chrétiens en assurant que « la famille formée d’un homme et d’une femme et ouverte à la procréation est la cellule fondamentale de la société ».

“But we can not compare it (with marriage, Ed), however, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity continues, ensuring that “the family formed of a man and a woman and open to procreation is the fundamental unit of society.”




Interrogé sur l’expression « inclination objectivement désordonnée » pour qualifier la seule tendance homosexuelle, utilisée par la Congrégation pour la doctrine de la foi en 1986, le cardinal confie qu’il faut « faire attention à ne pas utiliser des expressions qui peuvent paraître blessantes, sans pour autant dissimuler la vérité ». « Nous devons dépasser la discrimination qui a une longue tradition dans notre culture », ajoute le théologien allemand connu pour son ouverture en faveur d’un meilleur accueil des personnes homosexuelles ou encore des couples divorcés remariés dans l’Église.

When asked about the term “objectively disordered inclination” used by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1986 to describe the homosexual tendency,the  Cardinal says we must “be careful not to use expressions that may seem offensive, without concealing the truth”. “We must overcome the discrimination that has a long tradition in our culture,” added the German theologian,  known for his openness to a better reception in the Church for homosexuals or divorced and remarried couples.

Now, the Italian source:

Cardinale Kasper: “è il momento di discutere”

Cardinal Kasper: “It is time to discuss”

 Più aperta invece, sembra la posizione del Cardinale Kasper, il quale ha affermato al Corriere della Sera che “uno Stato democratico deve rispettare la volontà popolare, mi pare chiaro, se la maggioranza del popolo vuole queste unioni civili è un dovere dello Stato riconoscere tali diritti”, sottolineando però che “una legislazione simile, pur distinguendo fra il matrimonio e le unioni omosessuali, arriva a riconoscere a tali unioni più o meno gli stessi diritti delle famiglie formate da uomo e donna” – e “per la Chiesa diventa ancora più difficile spiegare la differenza”. Nella Chiesa “si è taciuto troppo su questi temi. Adesso è il momento di discuterne”. L’occasione potrà essere il Sinodo di ottobre. Kasper ha poi precisato: “io non posso immaginare un cambiamento fondamentale nella posizione della Chiesa. È chiara la Genesi, è chiaro il Vangelo. Ma le formule tradizionali con le quali abbiamo cercato di spiegare, evidentemente, non raggiungono più la mente e il cuore della gente. Ora non si tratta di fare le barricate. Dobbiamo piuttosto trovare un nuovo linguaggio che arrivi «soprattutto ai giovani”.

However, the position of Cardinal Kasper seems to be more open. He said to the Corriere della Sera that “a democratic state must respect the will of the people, it seems clear, though the majority of the people want these civil unions is a duty of the state to recognize these rights, “stressing that” similar legislation, while distinguishing between marriage and homosexual unions, comes to recognize in such unions more or less the same rights as families formed by man and woman”- and “for the Church becomes even more difficult to explain the difference.” In the Church “has been silent on these issues too. Now is the time to discuss it.” The occasion will be the Synod of October. Kasper then stated: “I can not imagine a fundamental change in the position of the Church. It is clear in Genesis, it is clear in the Gospel. But the traditional formulas with which we tried to explain, clearly, no longer reach the minds and hearts of the people. Now this is not to the barricades. Rather, we must find a new language that comes through “especially to young people.”

Roman Gay Marriage Sheds Light on Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

At last a conservative Catholic source has admitted what I and others have often pointed out: same – sex marriage is not, after all, new, and legal recognition is not “redefining” it.

Under the heading Gay Marriage—Nothing New Under the Sun, Benjamin Wiker writes:

Gay marriage was—surprise!—alive and well in Rome, celebrated even and especially by select emperors, a spin-off of the general cultural affirmation of Roman homosexuality. Gay marriage was, along with homosexuality, something the first Christians faced as part of the pagan moral darkness of their time.

What Christians are fighting against today, then, is not yet another sexual innovation peculiar to our “enlightened age,” but the return to pre-Christian, pagan sexual morality.

So, what was happening in ancient Rome? Homosexuality was just as widespread among the Romans as it was among the Greeks (a sign of which is that it was condoned even by the stolid Stoics). The Romans had adopted the pederasty of the Greeks (aimed, generally, at boys between the ages of 12 to 18). There was nothing shameful about such sexual relations among Romans, if the boy was not freeborn. Slaves, both male and female, were considered property, and that included sexual property.

But the Romans also extended homosexuality to adult men, even adult free men. And it is likely that this crossing of the line from child to adult, unfree to free—not homosexuality as such—was what affronted the more austere of the Roman moralists.

via  Catholic World Report 

 Wiker is of course, opposed to marriage equality, and so continues to quote Roman sources to prove that even they were disgusted by the practice. The examples he quotes deserve close attention, because there’s an important point he misses (or avoids), one which clarifies for me the real lesson behind the apparent condemnation of same – sex relationships in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Nero's Wedding to Pythagoras (with Nero as the bride)
Nero’s Wedding to Pythagoras (with Nero as the bride)

Continue reading Roman Gay Marriage Sheds Light on Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Italian Catholics Support Civil Unions.

The Irish referendum has encouraged Italian politicians to move ahead with plans for civil unions and there is a strong majority in support. However, only a narrow majority support full marriage, and a large majority oppose gay adoption. In Italy, Catholic Church influence has stalled civil unions progress up to now, but a new survey for La Stampa shows that even among Mass going Catholics, a two-thirds majority (67%) support civil unions.

Support for:

Civil unions: Yes 67%;    No 27%;   no opinion 6%

Gay marriage: Yes 51%; No 37%; no opinion 6%

Gay adoption: Yes 24%; No 73%; no opinion 3%

Some extracts from the La Stampa report, freely translated:

Civil unions “yes”, same – sex marriage “maybe”, gay adoptions “no.”

What would happen if the Italians, like the Irish, were called to vote in a referendum on gay unions? The picture that emerges from a Piepoli survey for La Stampa suggests a moderate reform in our society: two Italians out of three (67%) believe we should just amend existing legislation – our country, without a law on the subject, is now isolated in Europe – but only one in two (51%) would like to follow countries like Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Great Britain, Luxembourg and Finland, where same sex marriages are legal.

Italians prefer to follow the German-Austrian model, which prohibits marriages but allows civil unions (although Berlin now wants to step forward).

Age and sex

In general, looking at the responses of the Italian by gender, we see that women are more open than men on the issue. The same goes for the young: the proportion favorable to gay marriage and adoptions falls with increasing age.


Another decisive variable, is religious orientation. Needless to say, practicing Catholics are against adoption (only 17% in favor) and marriage (56% say no), but the majority of those who pray and go to Mass regularly (57%) would accept civil unions .

Gay Marriage, Civil Unions, and the Synod

I’m ready to put my head on a block and say it:

The institutional Catholic response to same-sex relationships is undergoing a major sea-change. Here’s the evidence.

The existing formulation of Vatican doctrine is that all forms of genital expression of “same-sex attraction” is strictly verboten, that any form of legal recognition of same – sex unions should be strenuously opposed, and that there is not need for legal protection against discrimination, because if we do not disclose our orientation (i.e.., stay in the closet), the question of discrimination simply will not arise, because no-one will know we’re gay.

How times have changed!

The German bishops have recently removed from their employment contracts the clause that penalizes openly gay or lesbian employees. LGBT Catholic teachers, hospital workers, and parish workers need no longer remain closeted.

A steadily expanding list of Catholic bishops, including some in very senior positions, has given direct support to the value of legal protections for same – sex couples. for example, by civil union or civil partnership legislation

And outside the Catholic Church, recognition and support for church blessings (or even full marriage rites) for same – sex couples is gaining ground, rapidly. (Two recent examples are the French Protestant church, which has accepted the possibility of such church blessings, and the Scottish Kirk, which has approved appointing ministers in same – sex civil partnerships. Other denominations have even approved full marriage).

Catholics “leading the way” on gay marriage.

A steady stream of opinion polls, in North America, in the UK, in Europe, and now in Australia, consistently show that where voters are asked about their support for marriage equality, Catholics are supportive and generally more so than the general population.  similarly, many polls show that most Catholics do not see that homosexuality is morally objectionable at all.