Pope Francis, Kim Davis – and the Primacy of Conscience

Strong feelings have been expressed in several quarters about Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis.  I agree wholeheartedly that meeting was distinctly ill – advised, especially (as Francis DeBenardo points out, considering that he did not meet personally with any of the LGBT Catholics and Catholic groups that had hoped to meet with him).

It’s important though, to keep this in perspective.  At America magazine, James Martin SJ, who has a strong record of support for LGBT Catholics, directs us to some  points for reflection:, which I summarise here  (read the full post at America):  Continue reading Pope Francis, Kim Davis – and the Primacy of Conscience

I’ll Talk About LGBT Catholics, Family Synod to my Parish!

I met this morning with my new parish priest, to tell him about my activities as openly gay activist for LGBT Catholics. I also spoke about my visit this weekend to the foundation conference of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Haslemere (Surrey)
Our Lady of Lourdes, Haslemere (Surrey)

A parishioner had said to me a few weeks ago that when I return, she’d be interested in hearing about it – and so would others. She suggested that I should report back to the entire parish – so I put this to the pp this morning. He has no objection in principle, but said I would need to discuss this with the member of the parish council who is responsible for adult education. In fact, I had already done so earlier – his response then was that he had no objection in principle, depending on how it was packaged, but that I would have to speak to the new parish priest.

So – the two key people I’ve spoken to have no objection in principle, and others I’ve discussed the idea with, agree it will be worth doing. On my return from Rome, I’ll have a discussion with both these two, to work out details, and how we want to present the event to the parish.

If an Openly Gay Man Can Read at a Papal Mass….

….why not also in any Catholic parish? Or play the organ? or teach in schools?

In most parishes in the West of course, they can (as I do in my own parish) – but there are far too many instances where they are penalized if they are honest enough about themselves and their relationships, to commit to their spouses in marriage.

An Openly Gay Man Read In Spanish at the Pope’s New York Mass

Former Daily Show correspondent Mo Rocca, who came out in 2011, eclipsed many of the other big-name celebrities and politicians in attendance when he delivered the first Bible reading at Pope Francis’ Madison Square Garden Mass — in Spanish. Though he spoke for less than two minutes, Rocca’s presence reverberated throughout social media.

Source: An Openly Gay Man Read In Spanish at the Pope’s New York Mass

Particularly notable, is the content of the text he read, read from Isaiah 9:2:

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

 

LGBT Catholics know what it is to be “walking in darkness” in the Church. Now at last, we can begin (but only just begin) to see a light dawning, for a new day of full pastoral inclusion in the life of our church.

Cardinal Sarah: Softening Christ’s teaching on marriage is ‘heresy’

Speaking to the World Meeting of Families, Cardinal Sarah has warned that softening Christ’s teaching on marriage is heresy.

“Even members of the Church can be tempted to soften Christ’s teaching on marriage and the family,” the cardinal said. “To varying degrees, the idea would consist in placing the Magisterium in a pretty box and separating it from pastoral practice, which could evolve according to such circumstances, fashions and emphases.”

Cardinal Sarah heads the Vatican Congregation for Sacred Worship. He should take his message to his colleague in the Vatican, Cardinal Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who mistakes Vatican doctrine for “God’s word”.

….. he (Cardinal Muller) said that “it’s not possible” for those who have violated church doctrine with regard to divorce, homosexuality or abortion to be fully welcomed back into the church: “It’s not an academic doctrine. It’s the word of God.”

Continue reading Cardinal Sarah: Softening Christ’s teaching on marriage is ‘heresy’

Global Rainbow Catholics to Meet in Rome for Family Synod

Next week, for the first few days of October,  LGBT Catholics and allies representing groups from more than 30 countries will take gather in Rome for the foundation conference of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, the first worldwide network of organisations and persons involved in the pastoral care of, and search for justice for, LGBT people and their families within the Catholic Church and wider society.

logo-galc-copia

Continue reading Global Rainbow Catholics to Meet in Rome for Family Synod

Queer Church News Digest – Wednesday 23rd September

Canadian Anglicans Present Biblical, Theological Case for Same – Sex Marriage. | Queering the Church

Homophobia, Pope Francis, and Pastorial Ministry | Rainbow Sash Movement

Five Things To Watch For During Pope Francis’s U.S. Visit / Queerty

Canadian Anglicans make theological case for marrying same-sex couples | Ekklesia

An Open Letter to Pope Francis | Gina Messina-Dysert

A gay dad tells the Pope what he would learn if he had dinner with his family | Gay Star News

Pope gives hope to gay Catholics, same-sex marriage supporters

Difficult Questions for Explicitly “Christian” Colleges Over Marriage:

Iglesia Descalza: WOW 2015: What it was…and what it wasn’t

/Pope Francis and the Catholic Church Outsiders – US News

Pope Francis: US Catholics Committed to Tolerance, Opposed to Discrimination| National Catholic Reporter

(Irish) Gay Marriage Bill To Be Introduced In Dail Today – 98FM

How 6 LGBT Catholics Kept Their Faith — Despite Being Shunned By The Church

Pope Francis to meet Catholic teacher Margie Winters fired over her gay marriage | Daily Mail Online

Row as ministers refuse civil partnerships to straight couples (From Herald Scotland)

Catholic Church ‘out of touch’ on marriage and families, say English Catholics | Christian Today

Bigoted, misogynistic, and controlling – scathing critique of Catholic Church by its own members

The Church Is Changing. Are You Ready? (from “Freed Hearts”)

Pope Francis: “I Would Love to Visit and Talk to Gay and Lesbian People” | Bondings 2.0

Unearthing The Surprising Religious History Of American Gay Rights Activism

Canadian Anglicans Present Biblical, Theological Case for Same – Sex Marriage.

In common with many other Christian denominations, Canadian Anglicans have been engaged in programmes of serious study and dialogue, on appropriate responses to LGBT inclusion in church, including access to marriage. In 2013, the General Synod approved a motion “directing the drafting of a motion “to change Canon XXI on marriage to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples”. There followed the appointment of a commission to investigate and consult widely, and to prepare a report and suitable motion to present to General Synod. That commission has now published its report.

This report does not in any way promote, or oppose, the introduction of marriage equality in the Church. Its mandate was to prepare a suitable motion on which General Synod will vote, and either approve or reject. What is important in the report for now, not only for Canadian Anglicans but for all queer people of faith and their allies, is that a major part of the report includes an analysis of the biblical and theological understanding of marriage – and concludes that from both perspectives, a case can be made in favour of same – sex marriage, in church.

The full report may be accessed at http://www.anglican.ca/wp-content/uploads/Marriage_Canon_REPORT_15Sept22.pdf

Here follows the last two sections, the conclusion to the section on the Biblical and Theological case in favour, and the concluding chapter to the full report. Continue reading Canadian Anglicans Present Biblical, Theological Case for Same – Sex Marriage.

Pope Francis: US Catholics Committed to Tolerance, Inclusion

Pope Francis has told President Obama that US Catholics support tolerance and inclusion, and oppose unjust discrimination.

Francis at White House

He was clearly referring primarily to inclusion and protection from discrimination for immigrant and minority ethnic groups – but the observation is equally applicable within the Catholic Church.

Dare we hope that he will take the same message to the US bishops – and in particular, those who have been excluding LGBT groups, and discriminating against lesbian, gay and trans church employees and volunteers?

Together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination,” the pontiff told the president.

“With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty,” he continued.

“That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions,” said Francis. “And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”

Cardinal Nichols on Synod Survey: Disagreements, Vigour in the English Church

News reports this morning are that Cardinal Vincent Nichols has released a report on responses to the survey conducted early this year, in preparation for the Family Synod 2015, on English views on marriage, family and the Catholic Church. I’ve not yet found a link to the full report, but the reports I’ve seen are worth noting.

vincent-nichols_3210432b

Extracts from the Telegraph:

The Roman Catholic Church is bigoted, misogynistic, controlling, judgmental, outdated and pharisaical – in the view of some its own most devoted members, according to an unprecedented official snapshot of opinion in the pews revealed by Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric.

Cardinal Nichols said it was vital to be open about the nature some of the comments, which he said showed the Church as a “lively, passionate family” which has its arguments rather than simply a “PR exercise”.

 And from Christian Today:
Members of the Catholic Church in England and Wales have issued a strong critique of the Church’s teaching on marriage and families.

The document describes the Church as “out of touch, unbending”, and “unrealistic” while offering a “lack of support for same-sex partnerships and contraception”.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, said a key response is a renewed focus on personal relationship to Jesus following the example set by the Pope.

 

US Bishop Calls for Vatican III !

The Californian Bishop Francis Quinn has used the occasion of Pope Francis’ US visit, and the World Meeting of Families, to call in an op-ed opinion piece for the New York Times, for extensive reform of the Catholic Church on three core issues bitterly dividing the Church:   communion for the divorced and remarried, an end to compulsory celibacy for Catholic priests, and the ordination of women.

Bishop Francis Quinn

To achieve this, he proposes a third Vatican Council:

Pope Francis prefers the simple title “bishop of Rome.” So I ask my brother bishop: Should we not convene a third Vatican Council just as ethical and paradigm-shifting as Vatican Council II of the 1960s?

In addition to the three issues dividing the church, this council and future councils would explore the morality of world economies, spiritual life, human sexuality, peace and war, and the poor and suffering.

He does not specifically call for any change in teaching on same – sex relationships, but he has done in the past: he was one of the first to follow Cardinal Schonborn a few years ago, when he said that it was high time that the Church considered the quality of gay relationships, putting aside the obsession with genital acts. Besides, this is implicit in his reference to “human sexuality” as a topic for discussion.

It is of course, significant that Bishop Quin is retired. On the one hand, this means that his opinions will carry little weight among the rest of the hierarchy. On the other, we should remember that it is precisely because he is no retired, that like Bishop Geoffrey Robinson and several others, he is able to speak freely without fear of losing his job – he has none, to lose.  What these men are saying publicly now that they are able to do so safely, many others will be thinking privately, holding their tongues – for now.

But Cardinal Schoborn’s off – the – cuff remarks back then about respect for gay couples, and a rethink on those divorced and remarried, have since achieved much wider currency, and were widely discussed at the last family synod, in the intervening year since, and will be again in October.

Change will not come without extensive exploratory debate. What is now clear, is that under Pope Francis, there is now far wider, freer debate about reform to Church practice, disciplines and even doctrines, than at any time under the previous three pontiffs – perhaps even since Vatican II.