Tag Archives: homophobia

Catholic Responses to Homosexuality: Hatred, or Simple Disagreement?

At Religion News Service, there’s an article about Fr James Martin’s viral facebook post, which, the report notes, has received

140,000 shares, almost 400,000 “likes,” and about 28 million — yes, million — views — and climbing.

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RNS follows up by quoting a response by Phil Lawler, who writes that where Martin sees “hatred”, he sees only “profound disagreement”.

Which is it?
Continue reading Catholic Responses to Homosexuality: Hatred, or Simple Disagreement?

In Mozambique, decolonization includes decriminalizing gay sex

The persecution of gay men and lesbians in much of Africa is a tragic hangover of the colonial period. It is not homosexuality that was introduced by the colonists and missionaries, but homophobia. Historians and social anthropologists have amassed extensive empirical evidence that a wide range of same – sex relationship patterns and gender variant behaviours were common-place in many traditional societies in all regions of the continent. An ILGA guide to LGBT rights worldwide has noted that only eight countries worldwide have never made homosexual activity illegal: ALL are in Africa.

LGBT_flag_map_of_Mozambique.svg

So it is, that when Mozambique undertook a comprehensive review of its statute book to remove all outdated colonial laws, one of those discarded was a colonial law that allowed “security measures” to be taken against those engaging in so-called “social perversion” .

Gay Star News has the details.

Mozambique officially makes gay sex legal

Continue reading In Mozambique, decolonization includes decriminalizing gay sex

Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.

In the Philippines, Pope Francis made some observations about marriage when addressing a gathering of families, that have been widely interpreted as an attack on gay marriage, urging people to resist pressures to “colonize” the family. (Read the full text here)

At Bondings 2.0, Frank DeBenardo has a thoughtful reflection on the Pope’s message, which he describes as “problematic”. I have not yet read the actual text, or detailed reports of it, so withhold comment on the message itself, concerning marriage. Read instead, DeBenardo’s thoughts.  However, he does include a useful observation on the word “colonization” that this may have been prompted by the concerns of African bishops at the family synod. As an African myself, this struck me as important.  Continue reading Pope Francis, Gay Marriage – and Africa.

Catholic High School Coach Dismissed – for Homophobic Violence!

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.

Philadelphia Catholic high school coach resigns over role in beating of gay men 

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.

via theguardian.com.

Archbishop Charles Chaput

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).

Uganda Martyrs: Charles Lwangwa and companions

For queer Christians, the phrase “Ugandan Martyrs” carries a tragic double meaning. In Catholic hagiography, it refers to the execution / martyrdom in 1886 of a band of young men, pages in the Royal court of the Bugandan King Mwanga II, who had converted to Christianity and thereafter resisted his sexual advances. June 6th, is the anniversary of their joint beatification by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. Their feast day, known as the Feast of Charles Lwanga and companions, is celebrated annually on June 3rd.

Uganda_Martyrs

From a modern LGBT point of view, there is  a quite different significance, almost it’s polar opposite. This perspective recalls that in the cultural context of the time, King Mwanga’s expectation of sexual service from his pages did not make him a perverted monster, as seen by the missionaries. Before the arrival of European colonials, different forms of homosexual practice and non-conformist gender expression were commonplace across Africa.  Seen in this light, the execution of the pages was a legal penalty for resisting customary law – and the introduction by foreign missionaries of what has since become deeply entrenched cultural homophobia.

In recent years, the flames of  homophobia have been further  fanned by missionaries, this time especially by American evangelicals, who have promoted draconian legislation to criminalize homosexuality, carrying harsh penalties for those convicted of transgressions.  Along with the legal penalties, the popular mood in Uganda has become so hostile, that life for ordinary gay and lesbian people in the country has become exceedingly difficult. Even to be suspected of being gay, frequently frequently leads not only to simple social ostracism, but also to outright exclusion from homes and families, to discrimination in employment and social services,  to police harassment, to violence, and even to murder, such as that of David Kato. For many LGBT people,  the only viable response is to leave the country entirely as refugees seeking asylum abroad.

So, the double meaning of the phrase “Ugandan Martyrs”: from the traditional Catholic perspective, the martyrs are those who were executed in 1886 for sticking by their Christian faith, in the face of Royal commands to renounce it. For modern gays and lesbians, the words refer to all those who are persecuted or even murdered, often in the name of the Christian religion, for their sexuality.

For a more extended analysis and reflection on the martyrs, and what this commemoration means for queer people of faith, see Kittredge Cherry at Jesus in Love Blog, who introduced her post on the feast day, by observing (accurately) that

Tough questions about homosexuality, religion and LGBT rights are raised by the Uganda Martyrs whose feast day is today (June 3).

Recommended Books:

 

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Catholic Archbishop Condemns Homophobia, Supports Civil Unions

Dr Diarmuid Martin told RTE that the Church had to be very careful that this was not done in the forthcoming debate on the same-sex referendum in the Republic.
Archbishop Martin said he felt that the debate had already got off to a bad start.
Discussions have to be carried out in a “mature” way so that people can freely express their views, while at the same time being respectful and not causing offence, he said.
He said Church teaching was that marriage was between a man and a woman, exclusively, but that this approach did not exclude gay people from celebrating their union by a different means.

 

Responding to Dr Martin’s comments, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said they are disappointed by the comments made by the Archbishop of Dublin regarding same sex marriage and homophobia.
GLEN’s Brian Sheehan described it as “a missed opportunity” to tackle the role of the church and church teachings in creating what it said were “some of the difficult realities for lesbian and gay people in Ireland today”.
However, he welcomed Dr Martin’s acknowledgement of the impact that a culture, which still has homophobia as part of it, has on those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny called for a rational, calm and considered debate ahead of a referendum on same sex marriage next year.
Also speaking on RTÉ’s This week, Mr Kenny said he never considered legislating for same-sex marriage and that it was instead an issue for a referendum.
He also promised to partake in the discussion in the lead-up to the referendum.
Mr Kenny said the Government deemed it important for people to have a debate before they vote in the impending referendum.
“We believe that it’s important the people have a rational, common-sense. calm, considered and compassionate debate about this and I hope that happens.
“Next year people will make their decisions. I didn’t consider legislating for this, it is a question for a referendum and it will be held next year,” said Mr Kenny.
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Archbishop: Homophobia Amounts to "Godophobia"

anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people

– Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This is hardly revolutionary stuff – it’s embedded in the Catechism, and in all formal Church documents on the subject of homosexuality: we deserve to be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”, and any violence or malice, in words or actions, is to be deeply deplored.

Sadly, for too many Catholic bishops and some orthotoxic conservative Catholics, it’s a principle which is simply ignored, which is why it’s welcome whenever a leading cleric states what should be routine. What’s even more widely ignored, is that other principle clearly stated in the documents, that unjust discrimination must be avoided. When Catholic leaders routinely apply that principle, and avoid all unjust discrimination in employment and elsewhere within the Church’s own institutions – that really will be something to celebrate!

HOMOPHOBIA is “insulting to God”, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has warned.

In the wake of the so-called ‘Pantigate’ controversy over homophobia comments made on RTE and a defamation settlement, Dr Martin said: “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the senior cleric said this meant that “anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people”.

MOCKED

Referring to the revelations made last week by TD Jerry Buttimer, that he was beaten, spat at, mocked and harassed because he was gay, Dr Martin expressed concern saying: “Certainly the sort of actions that we heard of this week of people being spat at because they were gay or ridiculed . . . that is not a Christian attitude. We have to have the courage to stand up and say that.”

He added: “We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted.

“We have to learn a new way in Ireland to live with our differences and for all of us to live with respect for one another.”

via  – Independent.ie.

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South African Bishops – Applying Catholic Teaching on Anti-Gay Laws, Violence

News to make me proud to be a South African Catholic 🙂

South African Catholic Bishops Condemn Anti-Gay Laws — Will You Join Them? 

South Africa’s Roman Catholic bishops have joined Catholics worldwide in condemning anti-gay laws popping up in nations around the globe. In an editorial in a Catholic weekly periodical, they specifically targeted anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Nigeria.

The Southern Cross is a Catholic weekly supported by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which also includes bishops from Botswana and Swaziland. In the editorial, the bishops urged the Catholic Church to oppose “draconian legislation aimed at criminalising homosexuals” as these laws are inconsistent with Church teachings. It stated further:

“These laws are not intended to render same-sex acts illegal — they already are, and punishable, in most African countries — but to persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Such laws are not only unjust, but they also have the potential to tear at the fabric of society if they are misused to facilitate false denunciations for gain, advancement or vengeance, much as what Christians are exposed to in Pakistan under that country’s intolerable blasphemy law.”

The editorial does not just oppose the legislation, but also condemns the populist politics and homophobia from which these laws have emerged. Noting negative effects such as discrimination and higher rate of suicides for LGBT people, especially youth, the editorial goes so far as to criticize a Spanish cardinal who made anti-gay remarks in January:

“Homophobia is largely premised on a false notion that homosexuality is chosen and curable. This month, Spanish Cardinal-elect Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, retired bishop of Pamplona, made the astonishing claim that homosexuality is a ‘defect’ comparable to his condition of high blood pressure…

“Their position is in conflict with Catholic teachings. The Church cannot sponsor the criminalisation of matters of private morality, and much less the advocacy of human rights. Prejudice and the persecution of homosexuals are in defiance of Catholic doctrine.

“Jailing homosexuals for being gay and insisting on their human rights, or even for having sex, self-evidently is a sign of ‘unjust discrimination’ that lacks in respect and compassion.”

via  Bondings 2.0.

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