“Gay Priest’s Revelation Is an Important Step for Himself and for the Catholic Church”
Statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry
MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Monsignor Krzystof Charamsa’s announcement of his gay sexual orientation is an important step for him personally and an important step for the Catholic Church. This Vatican official, who worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, exhibited courage and honesty in making his orientation public.
His revelation is an acknowledgement of the truth of the way God has made him, and, like millions of other LGBT Catholics, his self-acceptance and self-affirmation will help him better understand God’s love for him. For the Catholic Church, his news is another step in our growing process of coming to better terms with our LGBT brothers and sisters.
It is sadly disappointing that the Vatican fired him when they learned of his announcement. He now joins the long list of LGBT people and allies who have been fired from jobs in Catholic institutions because of LGBT issues. It is unfortunate that Church leaders did not see Charamsa’s announcement as an opportunity for further dialogue with someone they have known and trusted.
We hope that his news will help the bishops of the world gathering in Rome this weekend for three weeks of synod discussions which will include pastoral outreach to families with LGBT members. His witness to the holiness of the lives of LGBT people and the goodness of their relational lives could help these church leaders discern more appropriate and accepting forms of pastoral care. His testimony of struggle and overcoming fear should help these bishops see the challenges and joys that many LGBT people and their families face.’
The decision to come out is a highly personal one, and one which only the individual can make. Only the individual can decide when it is safe and responsible to do so, taking into account the possible negative repercussions that can occur in terms of employment, housing, and relationships. Only the individual can decide when the pressures of the closet have become too difficult for their emotional and spiritual lives. New Ways Ministry continues to support all LGBT people–including priests, nuns, brothers, deacons, bishops–as they discern when is the appropriate time for them to make such a revelation about themselves.
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.
New Ways Ministry reports that Sr Jeannine Gramick, their founder and a pioneer in Catholic LGBT ministry, will be among the guests at the White House to meet Pope Francis.
I met St Gramick some years ago with the Soho Masses community, then at St Anne’s, after a screening of the documentary on her work, “In Good Conscience”. I’ve followed her progress attentively every since, and look forward to meeting up with her again at the founding conference of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in Rome, at the start of the family synod in October.
The text following is from New Ways:
Sister Jeannine Gramick, a Catholic nun who pioneered ministry, advocacy, and outreach to the LGBT community over 40 years ago in Philadelphia, will be back in her hometown this week for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit to the City of Brotherly Love. A native of Philadelphia, and a tremendous fan of Pope Francis, she is excited to see how far the Catholic Church has progressed since she began her discussions with LGBT people back in 1971.
During the 2014 Family Synod, some attention was paid to African bishops’ complaints that some Western countries were attempting to make development aid conditional on African acceptance of gay marriage. The complaint is unjustified – there are no countries attempting to do so. There are however, some attempts to make aid conditional on progress with lesbian and gay equality in other areas – and that could be counter – productive. Africans can be very suspicious, and with good cause, of anything that looks to them like neo – colonialism, or “colonialism of the mind”.
In a recent interview with Okayafrica, David Kuria, former chairman of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) and Kenya’s First Openly Gay Political Candidate, explained the difficulty. He also came up with a constructive counter proposal, which would not make aid dependent on legal change, but which could nevertheless contribute to progress on LGBT equality. Continue reading Neo – Colonialism and Gay Rights in Africa→
A new opinion poll from Northern Ireland shows that the country strongly supports same – sex marriage, and that this support has surged in the past year (possibly influenced by the referendum in the Irish Republic. Support in 2014 was at just barely over 50%, That has now risen to 68%.
Of interest to Catholics, will be that they are far more likely to be in favour than Protestants, This is in keeping with results from elsewhere, but by an unusually large margin:
Meanwhile, those from a Catholic background are more inclined to voice support for gay marriage, with three quarters (75%) agreeing that homosexual couples should be able to get married, compared to 57% of those from a Protestant community background.
Attitudes appear to have changed significantly since a 2014 Belfast Telegraph/Lucid Talk poll. Then, 50.5% were found to be in support with 49.5% opposing gay marriage.
In their General Assembly 2014, the Presbyterian Church of the USA (PCUSA) approved a resolution to amend the church’s description of marriage from “between a man and a woman” to “between two persons” . However, to come into full effect, the resolution required ratification by a majority of the country’s regional presbyteries. That ratification has now been achieved. Alex Patchin McNeill,Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians notes in a press release that this is the first time ever that marriage equality has been approved by a faith tradition in a nationwide, grassroots popular vote.
In a radio interview on March 9th about the pending Irish referendum on gay marriage, Bishop Kevin Doran made some highly insensitive remarks about gay and lesbian Catholics. Just two days later, the president and vice – president of the Irish bishops’ conference have rebutted those remarks, regretting the “inappropriate” language.
The Irish bishops’ conference was gathered for their Spring meeting, during which Archbishops Eamon Martin and Diarmuid Martin hosted a press conference to release a joint statement on their response to the gay marriage referendum. Responding to questions put about Bishop Doran, the archbishops stressed that it was they, not Bishop Doran, who were fronting the Catholic bishops’ opposition to marriage equality, and deplored the use of insensitive language. Continue reading Irish Archbishops Agree: Language Does Matter, Insensitive Language Deplored.→
Meet the Catholic priest preparing to defy his church and vote for gay marriage in Ireland
Augustinian priest Iggy O’Donovan said this week that he will ‘unquestioningly be voting yes’ in Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage because he believes in the freedom for all people to choose how they live their lives
An Augustinian Catholic priest has gone public with his intention of voting for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland in May, saying his personal religious views on marriage should not be imposed onto other people in society who believed differently.
Fr Iggy O’Donovan told The Irish Independent this week that he was an ‘an absolute believer in Catholic teaching on marriage.’
‘[But I also] accept that there are people with different but deeply held views to me and I respect their views and I don’t think I have the right to impose my views on them.’
As a result he said he would ‘unquestioningly be voting yes’ in the referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland.
One of the most senior cardinals, a likely contender for the papal office at the next conclave, has acknowledged that the language used by the Church has seriously wounded and damaged gay people (and also the divorced and single people).