Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has met with two LGBT Catholic pilgrims in Rome – and “reaffirmed his opposition to the criminalisation of homosexuals for who they are”.
At the synod, there have been numerous indications of a coming shift in tone and more sensitive pastoral practice in treating lesbian and gay Catholics and their relationships, including recognition of the harm done by the language of “intrinsically disordered”, a married couple’s recommendation that same – sex couples need to be welcomed by their families, and an observation by Cardinal Marx that we need to differentiate between “a faithful homosexual relationship that has held for decades” and endorsing“homosexuality as a whole” (whatever that means).
One cardinal however, is having none of it. Lifesite News and others of that ilk are celebrating Cardinal Burke’s absolute rejection of any tolerance for what he persists in calling an “intrinsically disordered” condition.
Lifesite may rejoice, but numerous other sites have responded by slamming Burke’s response, sometimes in colourful language.
Here are two I most like:
Anyone with ears to hear knows that the “intrinsically disordered” language regarding homosexual relations has failed to achieve anything except make the Church look foolish and mean-spirited. The synod fathers apparently have discussed the need to find better language with which to convey the Church’s teachings in this area. But Cardinal Burke still thinks he is being pastoral when he deploys this language. His latest interview with LifeSite News is appallingly tone deaf, as was his interview with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN last night. …….This man’s inability to speak with even a whiff of human compassion is intrinsically disordered if you ask me.
Some of the voices arguing for a change in tone and greater nuance in pastoral practice are among the most influential and senior in the Church: Cardinal Marx is one of the Pope’s eight cardinal advisors, and just before the synod, Cardinal O’Malley, another of that group, agreed that “something must be done” about the wave of exclusions and dismissals currently plaguing LGBT Catholics in the American church.
Not so Cardinal Burke, who is widely rumoured to be on the way out: Michael Sean Winters, in the piece quoted from above, notes that he is expected to be dispatched to the Knights of Malta. At the superb church history blog,”What Sister Never Knew and Father Never Told You“, we have this fun description:
At the Synod, Cardinal Burke is “pained” by the proceedings. Just as well for him, then, that he mostly likely will over on Aventine with his Knights by the 2015 follow-up meeting where the input of this year’s synod will be discussed and acted upon after a year of reflection. His Eminence can lead the Malta-teers in practice sword charges against imaginary Islamic hordes, unless of course, he gets his rapier tangled up in that 27 feet of scarlet silk he likes to trail behind him.
As we continue to see punitive actions against same – sex Catholic couples who choose to protect their relationships in civil marriage, it’s worth noting that there is in fact nothingin formal Church doctrine, as found in the formal Vatican documents, to bar couples from doing so. Numerous individual bishops have made clear their opposition, but this does not yet constitute magisterial authority.
On the other hand, opposition to violence or malice against gay people, in speech or in deeds, has been firmly part of Vatican doctrine for decades, articulated for example in Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to the bishops on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (also known as his notorious “Hallowe’en letter). Yet we seldom hear of Catholics being dismissed from church employment or ministry for such very clear contraventions of church teaching – until now.
An assistant coach at a Roman Catholic high school has resigned over his role in a beating that left two gay men injured, church officials in Philadelphia said Thursday.
About a dozen young adults were linked to the 11 September encounter after police released surveillance video Tuesday and social media users mined online posts, including a group photo taken at a restaurant, to try to match the faces with names.
“Violence against anyone, simply because of who they are, is inexcusable and alien to what it means to be a Christian,” Archbishop Charles Chaput said Thursday in a statement.
Technically, the coach (unnamed, in this report), was not dismissed, but resigned. It’s important to note however, that the church has stated that he will no longer be allowed to teach, anywhere in the diocese.
The large group included former students at Archbishop Wood, located in the Philadelphia suburb of Warminster, the archdiocese said. The part-time coach had worked at the same school but now is banned from coaching anywhere in the archdiocese, the church said.
“A key part of a Catholic education is forming students to respect the dignity of every human person whether we agree with them or not,” Chaput said. “What students do with that formation when they enter the adult world determines their own maturity and dignity, or their lack of it.”
It’s gratifying to see these sentiments from Cardinal Chaput, whose own record on respect for queer families is hardly stellar. Perhaps he’s another who is coming under the Francis effect (or discerning which way the ecclesiastical wind is blowing).
In today’s Mass, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September), the first reading tells the story of the Israelites and the serpents during their wandering through the desert:
On the way through the wilderness the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.
At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.
As LGBT Christians, we frequently have to deal with the poison of a particular kind of metaphorical serpent – that of homophobia. This may harm us in two distinct ways, by the discrimination, bullying or violence that may result, but also more insidiously, by poisoning our minds, so that we begin to believe some of the lies and fallacies ourselves, as internalized homophobia or self – loathing. It is in dealing with this latter poison, that the story of the serpents in Numbers carries a lesson for ourselves.
The Israelites were told that if bitten by a serpent, they should gaze on its image, and they would be healed. (It is from the story that we derive the image of the caduceus, the universal symbol of medicine). In the same way, when we are injured by homophobia, gazing on it and its source can heal us not of the objective harm, but of the subjective, internal poison. Homophobia and prejudice do not arise because of any fault or illness on our part, but from ignorance or irrational fear on the side of the bigots. Recognizing and understanding this, will help us to create the antivenom we need.
India’s Supreme Court reinstated a law that bans homosexuality as a “crime against nature” earlier this week, intensifying divisions between LGBT advocates and the religious communities they blame for this development. Catholic leaders have varied in responding to the Court’s decision, but there are hopeful signs as at least one bishop spoke out against the law.
“Catholic Hierarchy Is a Shining Light in Dark Moment for LGBT Rights in India”
Outlawing homosexuality in India dates to British colonial rule more than a century ago. Recent legal debates began after a New Delhi court overturned the law in 2009. Anti-LGBT organizations, including faith-based ones, have sought to re-criminalize homosexuality since then. The Supreme Court’s ruling now says it is up to the nation’s legislators to repeal the law if that is what is desired.
The Times of India reports that religious groups have welcomed the ruling, with leaders using extremely homophobic language and advocating “ex-gay therapy” in their statements. Relative to these, Catholic leaders’ remarks have seemed muted and even positive. Archbishop Anil J T Couto of Delhi merely reaffirmed the hierarchy’s position on marriage equality and a spokesperson stated the archdiocese opposed any law that would criminalize homosexuality. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai is quoted by UCANews.com as saying:
The Irish Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn TD today opened a European Union conference on homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, and emphasised the importance education plays in reducing such prejudice.
|Ruairi Quinn opened the conference which aimed to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools|
‘De-baptism’ Is the Latest Dutch Trend
The trend of Dutch Catholics ‘de-baptizing’ themselves is gaining traction after Pope Benedict XVI made remarks against marriage equality in his World Day of Prayer for Peace (January 1) address.
Ontdopen.nl, the website that claims to provide automated ‘de-baptism,’ was begun as a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Netherlands. Now, the Catholic Church’s continued campaign against marriage equality leads to a leap in website views from ten daily to ten thousand.
Bondings 2.0 previously covered the Pope’s address which included a statement that same-gender marriages manipulate nature and destroy the ‘essence of the human creature.’
According to Gay Star News, the ‘de-baptism’ process entails a person entering personal information and receiving a “ resignation letter” that can then be sent to diocesan and parish officials as formal separation from the Catholic Church.
Website founder Tom Roes readily admits that ‘de-baptism’ is not exactly the function of Ontdopen.nl, telling LGBTQ Nation about its true function and limits:
“‘Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptized’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics,’ Roes said, although he admits he has no way of verifying just how many visitors to his website actually follow through and leave the church.”
The growth of Ontdopen.nl in the Netherlands, the first nation to legalize marriage equality and one where 44% of citizens claim no religious affiliation, should be troubling for Catholic leadership. Until now, most adherents passively separated themselves by not participating in Mass or parish activities, but generally when asked by pollsters still claimed “Catholic” as their religious affiliation. Actively separating oneself from Catholicism is a new and further step.
With the United States emerging more like the Netherlands in providing greater LGBT equality and also declining in people who religiously affiliate, this Dutch trend is perhaps a troubling vision into American Catholicism’s future if the bishops continue their anti-equality efforts.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry
via « Bondings 2.0.
- Dutch Catholics Getting ‘De-Baptized’ To Protest Anti-Gay Pope (towleroad.com)
- Dutch Catholics Getting “De-Baptized” To Protest Church’s Homophobia (queerty.com)
- Website helps Catholics ‘de-baptise’ (stuff.co.nz)
- Response to Benedict: Dutch Gay Catholics De-Baptize Themselves (queertheology.blogspot.com)
Bishop Simeon B Hall in Bahamas goes from saying gay sex is ‘deadly’ and ungodly to defending LGBT community in one year.
31 DECEMBER 2012 | BY TRIS REID-SMITH
A senior Christian in the Bahamas has slammed clerics those who ‘demonize’ homosexuality and said they may be closet gays.Bishop Simeon Hall admitted he ‘acted in ignorance’ in the past on LGBT issues – in November 2011 he referred to gay male sex as a ‘deadly’ practice.But now the former president of the Bahamas Christian Council BCC has accused other council members of focusing on homosexuality rather than dealing with other issues – like gambling.In a press statement Hall said the church should affirm the humanity of gay people and indicated that those attacked LGBT rights were often secretly gay themselves.He said: ‘The demonization of homosexuals by some pastors is the greatest hindrance to any positive dialogue or efforts the church might establish with them.‘The Bahamian public in general, as well as pastors in particular, must be careful of what we demonize and protest. Psychologists tell us that sometimes the things we strike out against, we do so because a bit of it lies within us on a subliminal level.‘I also believe that of the 133 sins listed in the Bible, if a pastor can only preach on one of them it could very well be that he has that problem – if not in practice then perhaps dormantly.’He added the BCC appears to be ‘populated by a group of men who are number one homophobic and that’s the only time that they come alive or they pick small things to speak out against’.
According to “Vatican digs in after gay marriage advances” (Tribune, Nov. 11), the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriages because “Catholic teaching holds that homosexuals should be respected and treated with dignity but that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered.’” If you truly believe the former, how can you believe the latter?
If you believe in treating blacks with dignity, but that they should also be slaves, what kind of dignity is that?
Being polite and kind is not treating someone with dignity, which means “the quality of being worthy or esteemed.” How is denying a life of committed love to someone wired to be attracted to the same sex treating them with esteem?
Of what worth do you esteem them to be worthy of? Of being an emotional eunuch? It’s that self-fulfilling approach that makes them “disordered.”
Catholics aren’t treating gay men with dignity; they aren’t treating them as worthy men created with liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness in their own way. No, with marriage, it’s the pursuit of happiness the Catholic way — even if you’re not Catholic — or not at all.
That how it was in the Middle Ages, not in 21st century America.
Salt Lake City
-letter to The Salt Lake Tribune.