This, at least, is how I read the doctrine of Protestants as well as of Catholics. The rule and measure of duty is not utility, nor expedience, nor the happiness of the greatest number, nor State convenience, nor fitness, order, and the pulchrum. Conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ, a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas, and, even though the eternal priesthood throughout the Church could cease to be, in it the sacerdotal principle would remain and would have a sway.
Thus, Blessed John Henry Newman in his famous “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk.” The quote captures his brilliance as an essayist, the phrase “a long-sighted selfishness” a masterpiece of communication and construction. But, it does something else: While Newman is keen to differentiate conscience from any kind of subjective whim, the quotes captures the liveliness of conscience and the unmistakable fact that conscience speaks, as it were, inside of our lives. Not in any abstract categorization can it be affirmed or denied.
Source: National Catholic Reporter
“Conscience” is a difficult term; it has an absolutely essential place in our construal of morality, but its place frequently becomes obfuscated by descriptions that are too broad and too narrow, especially when those descriptions are placed in service of social and ecclesiastical power games. Creighton theologians Todd Salzmann and Michael Lawler have written an article in NCR on conscience and Amoris Laetitia which recognizes one side of this problem, but then perpetuates the other side. They contrast two ways of construing conscience. The first sees laws as “outside the subjective conscience. The role of the conscience is to know and apply these norms as a deductive syllogism.” This approach is assigned specifically to Archbishop Chaput. The second “sees conscience as having both the objective and subjective dimensions.” Its subjective dimension involves “having inner knowledge of the moral goodness of the Christian” as created in the image of God and living in a constant relationship with God, while its objective role “gathers as much evidence as possible, consciously weighs and understands the evidence and its implications, and finally makes as honest a judgment as possible that this action is to be done and that action is not.” This approach is assigned to Pope Francis, and is interlaced with (selective) quotations from the documents of Vatican II.
Source: Commonweal Magazine
- Conscience: Still the aboriginal Vicar of Christ, now for adults (National Catholic Reporter)
- Pope Francis on the correct interpretation of the “Amoris Laetitia”… (lastampa.it)
- Pope says divorced and remarried Catholics can in some cases receive Holy Communion (christiantoday.com)
- Catholics are already using their conscience, according to new Pew report (news.queerchurch.com)
What was your dad like when you came out?” When people discover I’m both gay and the son of an Anglican vicar, the Reverend Ian Godfrey, their response is often a predictable variation of this question.
The assumption is, of course, that a devout, spiritual servant of God will at the very least have a few reservations about homosexuality. They’re picturing criticism, rejection, maybe even abandonment.
I empathise with the insinuation. The church’s attitude towards the gay community has never exactly been harmonious, and the institution undoubtedly still has something of a homophobia problem.
The division between the two communities resurfaced at the beginning of the month, when the bishop of Grantham revealed he was in a same-sex relationship. In response, more than a dozen clergy – also in same-sex marriages – signed an open letter urging bishops to show greater inclusivity to the gay community, an act that enraged the more conservative elements of the Anglican church.
Source: The Guardian
The Rt Rev Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, joined the Village Angels volunteers on Canal Street on Friday night to see first-hand the vital support the service provides to weekend revellers. During the eventful shift, the Angels supported a man who was feeling suicidal, and prevented another man from jumping into the canal.
The Angels patrol the Village every weekend from 9pm to 3am, providing friendly help, support and advice to people who have got into trouble.
Bishop David said: “The Village Angels are a group of dedicated and committed volunteers who work so hard to keep people safe. I was struck by the respect shown to them by those who visit and work in the Village.
“The Village is an important space for the LGBT community, and whilst on patrol I met many people who are passionate about this place and its wellbeing. It is so much more than just a place to go for a night out.”
Paul Martin OBE, LGBT Foundation Chief Executive, added: “We’re thrilled Bishop David was able to join the Angels out on patrol. He is a true ally of the LGBT community who puts his faith into practice in a way that is both inspirational and deeply human.
Geraldine Roman addressed the House last Monday for over an hour about the “Anti-Discrimination Bill on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” Roman filed the Bill in June, but there has been little progress towards passing it for the highly Catholic nation. She appealed to legislators in a personal way, reported Inquirer.net, telling them:
” ‘I cannot turn my back at a group of people, who have long suffered discrimination, and have long been denied adequate legal protection. How can I turn a blind eye to the suffering that I myself have experienced at some point in my life?’
” ‘We are your brothers; we are your sisters; your sons and your daughters, and nieces and nephews. We are your family. We are your friends; your schoolmates; your colleagues at work. . .We are human beings.’
” ‘We love our families. We love our country. We are proud Filipinos, who just happen to be LGBT. The question is: do we, as members of the LGBT community, share the same rights as all other citizens? Does the State grant us equal protection under our laws?’ “
What inspired you to start House of Rainbow?
The inspiration for House of Rainbow was led by the Holy Spirit. Growing up with the fear and hatred around the idea that one can be gay or lesbian and hated by God pushed me to learn more about what is in God’s heart for sexual minorities.
After many years of trial, tribulation and oppression, my conclusion is that God loves lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, intersex, queer, non-binary, non-conforming, people living with HIV, people with disabilities and all of these culminated into the idea of starting the mission to the marginalised and those on the edge. We simply wanted a house where people of rainbow can praise and worship.
Source: 76 CRIMES
Sometimes, you have to be grateful for the opposition. They are often the best source for learning important news about positive Catholic LGBT items—though, of course, they don’t see these news items as very positive. This week, I learned about an important statement by an international group of moral theologians and physicians only because I read a news story about a group of conservative scholars who opposed the statement. News about the progressive statement did not, at first, make big news, so it had not come to my attention until the conservative group opposed it.
The progressive statement to which I am referring is known as the Wijngaards Declaration, and its focus is to oppose the magisterial condemnation of what is referred to as “artificial contraception.” The declaration takes its name from the Wijngaards Institute, a London-based Catholic think tank, which organized and released the statement. The report, whose official title is “Promoting Good Health and Good Conscience: The Ethics of Using Contraceptives,” does a careful and specific critique of Humanae Vitae (HV),the 1968 encyclical which re-affirmed the magisterial opposition to couples using birth control. A summary of the 20,000-word report can be found by clicking here (and it is very readable, so highly recommended).
While the declaration does not mention LGBT topics directly, it is important for Catholic advocates of LGBT issues to be aware of because it contains some critical theological arguments that could be used to advance the Church’s approval of same-gender relationships.
First, a little background as to how these ideas are connected. In Catholic teaching on both birth control and same-gender relationships share an important common argument: the magisterium’s claim that the natural order dictates that all sexual activity be open to procreation. So birth control is not permitted because, depending on the method, it prevents the union of sperm and egg. Likewise, homosexual relationships are not permitted because they are biologically non-procreative.
When a group of Polish Catholics declared support for a gay rights campaign, their involvement was quickly condemned by the country’s bishops conference. Having raised the issue in the church, however, the group is determined to press on and ensure the atmosphere of understanding engendered by Pope Francis finds a louder echo in Poland.
“The bishops’ reaction is only a first step — what matters is that they’ve now felt it necessary to take up a position on LGBT issues,” explained Dominika Kozlowska, editor of the Catholic monthly Znak (The Sign). “The Catholics who’ve engaged in this campaign will also continue to talk about these issues in publications and discussions. Though the bishops have accused us of infringing Gospel injunctions, they’ve also said things in the process which haven’t been said in the church here before.”
The campaign, “Let’s exchange a sign of peace,” was launched in early September with nationwide billboards depicting clasped hands — one with a rainbow bracelet and the other with a Catholic rosary.
Source: National Catholic Reporter
But another barrier was broken this week, when the Diocese of Toronto green lit the election of openly gay bishop Kevin Robertson.
Robertson, one of three new suffragan bishops in the Diocese, has two children with his partner Mohan.
The 45-year-old said: “I’m very overwhelmed… I didn’t really expect to be here, but I’m deeply, deeply honoured. I realise this is an historic day in the life of our church.
“It’s no secret that I’m the first openly gay, partnered bishop-elect in the diocese and perhaps in the Canadian church as well, and I know that for some people that’s a real challenge and for others it’s the fulfilment of what they’ve been hoping and praying for for a very long time.
Source: =· PinkNews
Nearly 50 years since Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that rejected the use of artificial birth control, a group of prominent Catholic theologians, ethicists and physicians has produced a report reassessing and challenging the papal document.
The report, entitled, “Promoting Good Health and Good Conscience: The Ethics of Using Contraceptives,” was commissioned by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, an independent think-tank based in London.
The 20,000-word academic report, which was co-authored by 22 Catholic scholars from Australia, Colombia, Europe, India, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States, evaluates, from within the Catholic tradition, the morality of using artificial contraceptives for family planning. The authors include U.S. ethicists Michael Lawler and Christine Gudorf and African theologian Nontando Hadebe.
Source: National Catholic Reporter