Category Archives: Catholic_Church

Family Synod Working Document Disappoints Global Rainbow Catholics

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, an international coalition that will be meeting in Rome at the start of the 2015 family synod, has expressed disappointment with the synod “Instrumentum Laboris” (or working document), that was released yesterday.

GNRC logo

WORLDWIDE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANS CATHOLICS, & PARENTS

RESPOND TO SYNOD 2015 WORKING DOCUMENT

A number of organisations and advocates who focus on pastoral care and social justice for LGBT people and their families, working to form a Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, is disappointed by the 14th Ordinary Synod of Bishops’ Working Document ( Instrumentum Laboris) on “The Vocation & Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World”, published on 23 June 2015.

Although “suitable attention to the pastoral accompaniment of families in which live persons with homosexual tendencies, and families of these same persons” is recommended, Paragraphs 130-132 of the Working Document hardly reflect the rich discussions which have taken place, internationally and at all levels in the Church, on the welcome, respect, and value which should be afforded to lesbian and gay people in the Catholic community.

We strongly regret the inclusion of the unfounded statement that international organisations are pressurising poorer countries to introduce same-sex marriage as a condition of receiving financial aid Para. 132). Far better for the Church to show its commitment to social justice through the condemnation of global criminalisation of LGBT people, including torture and the death penalty.

The GNRC therefore offers the following reformulation of the Synod text referring to same-sex relationships,families & parents as a more positive contribution to further discussion and discernment:

Some families include homosexual members who, with their parents, families and children, have a right to informed pastoral care (The Code of Canon Law: Canons 208-231). As such, they ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of discrimination in their regard should be avoided. The language used by the Church in describing its pastoral ministry in this area of human concern should reflect its principles of the precious dignity of the person and its commitment to social justice so that the gifts and qualities of homosexual people may be welcomed, valued, and respected (Paragraphs 10 & 16, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, CDF, 1986). When people living in same-sex unions request a child’s baptism, the child must be received with the same care,tenderness and concern which is given to other children. Furthermore, the Church responds to the needs of children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.

This Synod proposes that a structured discernment process be introduced, to involve homosexual people, including those living in long-term, stable relationships as well as those who are single or celibate, their children and parents, experienced pastoral ministers, and theologians, as well as relevant dicasteries of the Holy See. Such a process, reflecting upon examples of positive pastoral experience and ongoing theological, anthropological and scientific study, should be conducted at both global and local levels of the Church for a period of three to five years.

The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge at all levels of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 2357-2358, 2395). It has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid constitutes a precious support in the life of same-sex partners.

Arising from the experience of positive pastoral ministry, this Synod encourages the whole Church to renew its theological reflections on human sexuality and gender identity, working towards the right integration of ortho-praxis and ortho-doxy .

At a global level, people with variant sexual orientation are unjustly criminalised, tortured, subjected to death penalties, and those offering pastoral and practical care in such circumstances are also often penalised. This Synod of Bishops unequivocally condemns such injustices perpetrated on people and firmly opposes such patterns of criminalisation. It urges governments and civil society to respect the human rights of each person regardless of their sexual orientation.

NOTE: The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics is an international network of organizations of/with LGBT Catholics which met for the first time during the Family Synod 2014 in Rome and has since worked together to initiate a global network of LGBTQI Catholics, their parents and families.

Founding groups include:

European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups,
Associació Cristiana de Gais i Lesbianes de Catalunya (ACGIL)(Catalonia),
Comitato promotore dell’associazione Cammini di Speranza – associazione nazionale cristiani lgbt (Italy),
Dette Resources Foundation (Zambia),
DignityUSA (USA),
Drachma (Drachma LGBTI and Drachma Parents Group)(Malta),
Ichthys christian@s lgtbh de Sevilla (Spain),
LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council (UK),
New Ways Ministry (USA),
Nuova Proposta (Italy),
Ökumenische Arbeitsgruppe Homosexuelle und Kirche (Germany),
Wiara i Tęcza (Poland)

Also see:

LGBT Catholics Find Little Encouragement in Family Synod Document. (Adcocate.com)

French Priest Resigns, Announcing that He Shares His Life With a Man.

At the French blog “Journal de Denis Chautard”,  a priest of the Mission of France has published a moving letter of resignation from a French colleague in the same order, who feels he can no longer in good conscience live in accordance with the rule of celibacy – and has found happiness with the man who is now at the centre of his life.

These are the opening paragraphs (in French). My informal translation of this section, adapted from Google translate,  follows.

« Bien cher Arnaud,

Avec un mélange de tristesse et de joie, je te prie de présenter ma démission à mon évêque de la Mission de France.

Je t’avais dit ainsi qu’à Yves Patenôtre que je n’honore plus l’engagement au célibat des prêtres. C’est une obligation que je n’approuve pas, mais que j’ai acceptée.

La part de joie de ce message, c’est que je partage ma vie avec Andy. Notre amour a peu à peu pris place au centre de ma vie, qui désormais s’organise autour de cette relation, et j’en suis heureux.

Les prêtres, par leur ordination, impliquent l’Eglise partout où ils vont. Être prêtre, ce n’est pas une affaire privée qui ne regarde que moi. Ça regarde ceux qui y ont mis un bout de leur cœur, un peu de leur confiance et de leur foi. D’une certaine façon ça leur appartient autant qu’à moi. Ma prêtrise ne m’appartient pas, mais j’en suis responsable. En conscience, je trouve plus honnête de présenter ma démission. Je choisi le terme de démission, parce que l’ordination ne s’efface pas… je suis – je reste prêtre. Ce qui peut prendre fin, c’est la délégation et l’envoi par l’évêque, au titre de la mission de l’Eglise.

full French text at Journal de Denis Chautard.

My translation (also at Duolingo, where anyone interested can help to improve it):

“Very dear Arnaud,  
With a mixture of sadness and joy, I beg you to present my resignation to my bishop of the Mission of France.  
I have told you and also Yves Patenôtre that I no longer honour the priests’ commitment to celibacy.   It is an obligation that I do not agree with, but I accepted.  
The joyous part of this message is that I share my life with Andy.   Our love has little by little taken its place at the center of my life, which now revolves around this relationship, and I am happy.  
Priests, by their ordination involve the Church wherever they go.   Being a priest, is not a private matter that concerns only myself.   It concerns all those who have a piece of their heart, who share their confidence and their faith.   Somehow it belongs to them as much as to me.  My priesthood does not belong to me, but I am responsible for it.   In conscience, I find it more honest to present my resignation.   I chose the term resignation, because the ordination does not erase itself … I am – I remain a priest.   That which can end, is the delegation and sending by the bishop, on the Mission of the Church.  

To Whom Was the Pope Referring in Encylical’s Remarks About Body & Gender?

I think the key point here is “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home”.

Surely that implies acceptance of our bodies as they are ,, recognizing that “body” includes both our physical and mental make-up? It follows that we should not be forced into arbitrary patterns of behaviour in our relationships or gender expression based on conforming to the standard heterosexual and gender binary stereotypes.
Further, as Peter Nixon notes in the comments you quoted yesterday, “acceptance of our bodies” does not imply acceptance of medically treatable pathological conditions. If the “body” someone has been given presents a dysjunction between its physical and mental manifestation, and that dysjunction is medically diagnosed as problematic, then acceptance of the body does not exclude medical interventions to rectify the problem.

“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.

“Pope Francis delivers tough message to Big Business”

From CNN Money:

Business leaders often think they are “exempt” from the rules. Technology is not the answer. And consumers, through “moral” purchasing actions, can play a vital role in holding companies accountable.

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, released to the world Thursday, includes large sections devoted to the roles of business and technology. Here are some of the key passages:

Profits: “We need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals. Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations?”

“In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when ‘the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,’ can those actions be considered ethical.”

Pope Francis: ‘Revolution’ needed to combat climate change

The bailout: “Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery.”

more at CNN Money.

Chastity, Integrity, and the Catechism

In the popular mind, there is a great deal of confusion about what the Catholic Church actually teaches about gay and lesbian people. This is hardly surprising – the teaching itself is confused and confusing, and even many bishops seem oblivious of a clear directive in the Catechism and elsewhere that gay people should be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity”. (There is none of that on display in recent declarations that the Irish referendum result approving gay marriage is a “defeat for humanity”). Nor is there any shown in the Vatican documents’ language of “gravely disordered”, which is widely understood to mean that gay people are themselves disordered. That this is not the actual meaning of the words is not the point: the failure to anticipate that they would be so understood, represents a serious failure of sensitivity.

More serious though, is that there is a central contradiction at the heart of Church teaching on actual sexual behaviour, for gay men and lesbians. On the one hand, we are told in the Catechism that our sexuality must be accepted and integrated into our personality – on the other, that it must be suppressed. We are told that our sexuality must be acknowledged honestly – and also that it must be hidden, safely tucked away in the closet. Continue reading Chastity, Integrity, and the Catechism