In Dublin next year, there is an intriguing opportunity opening up for LGBT Catholics. Are our advocacy groups paying attention?
For the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, USA based LGBT groups and their allies attempted to secure formal accreditation. Philadelphia however, is the seat of archconservative Archbishop Chaput, and they were deliberately excluded. In spite of this, the coalition established an informal, non-accredited presence, and did some great work making the case for acceptance and inclusion church, of queer families.
Just last week it was Cardinal Schonborn saying to an Irish conference in preparation for the World Meeting of Families, that all families need protecting – including queer families. Also last week, another senior cardinal effectively acknowledged in a newspaper interview, that gay marriage is not a major issue for the Catholic Church.
In a remarkable and groundbreaking statement, a prominent Catholic cardinal has acknowledged that protecting and strengthening “the family” can include protecting those headed by same-sex couples.
The Catholic Church is doing whatever it can to strengthen the family, including families often considered nontraditional, said Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, the theologian who reviewed Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family.
“Favoring the family does not mean disfavoring other forms of life — even those living in a same-sex partnership need their families,” the cardinal said during a visit to Ireland, which next year hosts the World Meeting of Families.
For lesbian and gay Catholics, this is immensely significant, for several reasons.
Cardinal Schonborn is clearly close to Pope Francis, and has his respect, as shown by his prominent role in presenting the pope’s Apostolic Exortation “Amoris Laetitia (The joy of Love)”, following the Catholic bishops’ synod assembly on marriage and family.
On lesbian and gay inclusion in church, he has often been among the first to articulate positions which later became commonplace. Several years ago, he was the first senior cardinal to suggest that the time had come to stop focusing on homosexual genital acts, and to look instead at the quality of the relationships. At the time, there was speculation that he would be promptly rebuked by Pope Benedict XVI. When that did not happen, a series of other bishops quickly echoed Schonborn’s thoughts on this. Later, he further developed his thinking, by extending to support for legal recognition of loving and committed same-sex relationships, in civil unions. This new statement takes it one step further, in implicit recognition that in some countries (eg Ireland, where he was speaking). these legally sanctioned unions could include civil marriage. Given his track record of anticipating Church thinking, we should expect more bishops to start talking about respect for different types of families – including those headed by same-sex couples.
“Today, everybody can get married,” he said, but acknowledged “so many choose not to get married.” He suggested that the number of so-called irregular situations has increased enormously because the “framework of society has changed so much.”
Schonborn was in Ireland to address a conference, “Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family.” In his remarks, he also noted that there have been times when large sections of the population (servants, for example) where not permitted to marry. Against this background, the Irish slogan “marriage for all” is just the logical extension of a long-term historical trend. Next year, Ireland will host the World Meeting of Families. It can be expected that with the “framework of society” having changed so markedly in the country, much of the discussion at the World Meeting of Families will at least consider all families.
Malta is considering the introduction of gay marriage, and some people in this traditionally Catholic country are strongly opposed. “Maltese Catholics United for the Faith” have published a full page newspaper advertisement denouncing same-sex marriage. This is consistent with the pattern in so many other Catholic countries and states which have introduced marriage equality. Usually, the bishops have endorsed these campaigns against, or even sponsored them.
The Archdiocese of Malta categorically states that, while respecting the right of freedom of expression of every person or any other entity, it is not in any way involved with the propoganda by the Maltese Catholics United for the Faith.
The Archdiocese of Malta conveys the teaching of the Church without resorting to any other name, and encourages everyone to fulfil their duty responsibly on the 3rd June, as outlined by the Bishops of Malta and Gozo in their Pastoral Letter for the General Elections 2017.
The advice to voters contained in that pastoral letter is remarkably restrained, Instead of weighing in on the specifics of the issues, it refers in much broader terms to the responsibilities of voters, and the importance of choosing people of wisdom and integrity. It urges voters to exercise their consciences in this decision – and to embrace the “ethical values we believe in.” The closest that the letter comes to specifying those values is to name “the protection of human life from its conception to its natural end”
This is a clear reference to abortion, and in so many previous instances, this would have been automatically followed by a reference to “the sanctity of marriage”. Not in Malta. Instead, the statement continues with the value of “respect for the dignity of each person”.
Coupled with the earlier insistence on conscience, LGBT Catholics and their allies may read this as permission from the Archdiocese to support marriage equality.
It’s been widely expected, and now it’s confirmed by the BBC: same-sex marriage is coming to Taiwan. Note though that this is “same-sex” marriage, and not necessarily full marriage equality. The court ruling has given the parliament two years to legislate for marriage between same-sex couples, but it’s possible that such legislation could provide only for marriage, but not for any of the contingent rights that normally come with heterosexual couples. It could also take two years or more, for this decision to take full effect. There will not be gay wedding bells in Taipei, just yet.
This is the first Asian country to approve gay marriage, in any form – but it won’t be the last. We now have same-sex marriage approved, at least in principle, on every continent. That surely deserves
Taiwan’s top judges have ruled in favour of gay marriage, paving the way for it to become the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex unions.
The highest court ruled that current laws preventing members of the same sex from marrying violated their right to equality and were unconstitutional.
It gave parliament two years to amend existing laws or pass new ones.
In a press release following the ruling, the court said that “disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethical orders” constituted a “different treatment” with “no rational basis.”
The court concluded that “such different treatment is incompatible with the spirit and meaning of the right to equality” as protected by Taiwan’s constitution.
Following the Vatican’s 2015 Synod on the Family, a handful of dioceses worldwide have convoked their own local synods to discuss issues in and plans for their local church. These gatherings have been heralded for advancing episcopal collegiality and participation of the laity, parts of Pope Francis’ vision for the church.
But while that may be so, the Synod on the Family was described as a “disappointment” by some LGBT advocates and local synods’ treatment of sexuality has been mixed. It is therefore a live question in the church whether these synods are actually helping LGBT Catholics and their families.
The Archdiocese of Detroit held its “Synod ’16: Unleash the Gospel” last weekend, part of its evangelization efforts in which thousands of Catholics have participated through some 240 Parish Dialogue Gatherings and nights of prayer
Controversies surrounding the ability of same-sex couples in raising well-adjusted children have been under fire in the last few years. Conservatives argue that having same-sex individuals for parents have a negative impact in the development of a child. Nevertheless, it seems like scientific research negate this assumption.
sted children have been under fire in the last few years. Conservatives argue that having same-sex individuals for parents have a negative impact in the development of a child. Nevertheless, it seems like scientific research negate this assumption.
Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany, whose support for allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to Communion was a point of reference for the pope’s two Synods of Bishops, says Francis’s document Amoris Laetitia permits “changed pastoral practices.”
MUNICH, Germany – In a recent article for a German journal, Cardinal Walter Kasper – a protagonist for the admission of the divorced-and-civilly remarried to Holy Communion – has written that Amoris laetitia marks a “paradigm shift” that allows for a “changed pastoral practice.”
“There is leeway in the concrete elaboration of the dogmatic principles’ practical pastoral consequences,” the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity wrote in his article for the November 2016 edition of Stimmen der Zeit,, a monthly journal on Christian culture
The Catholic prelate Pope Francis recently appointed both as a cardinal and the head of the Vatican’s new centralized office for laypeople says he considers the pontiff’s apostolic exhortation on family life inspired by the Holy Spirit and plans to make it his department’s guiding document.
Speaking in an NCR interview Thursday, Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell said he has a hard time understanding why some bishops have reacted negatively to Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love.”)
“I honestly don’t see what and why some bishops seem to think that they have to interpret this document,” said Farrell, the head of the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and who last Sunday was announced as one of 17 prelates selected by Francis to join the church’s elite College of Cardinals.
“I believe that the pope has spoken,” said the cardinal-designate, referring to news last month that Francis wrote a letter praising a group of Argentine bishops who had drafted concrete guidelines about circumstances in which divorced and civilly remarried couples might eventually be allowed to receive Communion.
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.