Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Pope Francis Named as #2 "Gay Rights Hero", 2013

Pope Francis has already been named as “Person of the Year” by Time magazine, and somewhat more surprisingly, by the gay magazine, The Advocate. Now he’s been named by another prestigious magazine, the New Yorker, in the number two position in their list of Gay Rights Heroes in 2013. (Number one position went to New York widow Edith Windsor, who was runner-up to Francis for the Advocate nomination).

 

The Top Ten Gay-Rights Heroes of 2013 : The New Yorker

1. Edith Windsor

2. Pope Francis Continue reading Pope Francis Named as #2 "Gay Rights Hero", 2013

Pope Francis’ World AIDS Day prayer:

This year, World AIDS Day conincided with the First Sunday of Advent. Pope Francis paid attention to both, in his Angelus message. The scriptural message for the first reading yesterday concerned an end to war (“turning swords into ploughshares”), and Francis looked forward to a time when nations will co-exist in peace. But for World Aids Day, he also included an expression of “solidarity” for all those affected by AIDS, and a hope that they will all have access to the healthcare that they need.

English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solida...

Continue reading Pope Francis’ World AIDS Day prayer:

Pope Francis' World AIDS Day prayer:

This year, World AIDS Day conincided with the First Sunday of Advent. Pope Francis paid attention to both, in his Angelus message. The scriptural message for the first reading yesterday concerned an end to war (“turning swords into ploughshares”), and Francis looked forward to a time when nations will co-exist in peace. But for World Aids Day, he also included an expression of “solidarity” for all those affected by AIDS, and a hope that they will all have access to the healthcare that they need.

English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solida...

Continue reading Pope Francis' World AIDS Day prayer:

From the Daily Office: Doctrinal Development is Inevitable

In his long interview with the Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica (published in English at America) Pope Francis noted that it is inevitable that Church doctrine will adapt and develop over time, in accordance with changes in human understanding of the world and of our own nature. The observation was immediately met with resistance in some quarters. Matters of discipline, some insisted, could change – but doctrine,  never. Pope Benedict XVII regularly included in his writing references to the “constant and unchanging” teaching of the Church. This constant tradition is pure myth, as any look at church history will soon demonstrate.

Not only has it changed, it is inevitable that it will change. In speaking of the inevitability of doctrine constantly evolving, Francis is in good company, with the early fathers of the Church. His Jesuit interviewer noted that Pope Francis’ observations were prompted by a quotation from one of the fathers in his breviary.

He opens to the Office of Readings for Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time and reads me a passage from the Commonitorium Primum of St. Vincent of Lerins: “Even the dogma of the Christian religion must follow these laws, consolidating over the years, developing over time, deepening with age.”

Today is that Friday of the 27th week, and so the reading Francis referred to is the second reading in today’s office. Francis has picked out one extract from the passage by the 5th century St Vincent. Right at the beginning of the passage, Vincent puts the question, “Is there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ?” and replies quite explicitly that “Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale”

The full reading follows, taken from Universalis (with grateful thanks to reader Chris Sullivan, who alerted me to it in an early morning email).

Second Reading An instruction by St Vincent of Lerins
The development of doctrine

Is there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ? Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale.

 Who can be so grudging to men, so full of hate for God, as to try to prevent it? But it must truly be development of the faith, not alteration of the faith. Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.

The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one and all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import.

The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. Though bodies develop and unfold their component parts with the passing of the years, they always remain what they were. There is a great difference between the flower of childhood and the maturity of age, but those who become old are the very same people who were once young. Though the condition and appearance of one and the same individual may change, it is one and the same nature, one and the same person.

The tiny members of unweaned children and the grown members of young men are still the same members. Men have the same number of limbs as children. Whatever develops at a later age was already present in seminal form; there is nothing new in old age that was not already latent in childhood.

There is no doubt, then, that the legitimate and correct rule of development, the established and wonderful order of growth, is this: in older people the fullness of years always brings to completion those members and forms that the wisdom of the Creator fashioned beforehand in their earlier years.

If, however, the human form were to turn into some shape that did not belong to its own nature, or even if something were added to the sum of its members or subtracted from it, the whole body would necessarily perish or become grotesque or at least be enfeebled. In the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.

In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.

On the contrary, what is right and fitting is this: there should be no inconsistency between first and last, but we should reap true doctrine from the growth of true teaching, so that when, in the course of time, those first sowings yield an increase it may flourish and be tended in our day also.

Responsory
Listen, O Israel, and take note of the laws and customs which I am teaching you. You must add nothing to what I command you, and take nothing away from it.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit, and they are life. You must add nothing to what I command you, and take nothing away from it.

After 40 Years, Entry into the Promised Land?

LGBT writers on affirmative readings of Scripture have frequently used the story of Exodus and the escape from Egypt as an analogy for our journey from bondage to freedom, just as African Americans had previously done (for example, in the Negro spiritual “Let My People Go”). But when I began reading the excellent “Queer Bible Commentary”, it occurred to me that a more relevant story is what comes next: the forty years of wandering in the desert. (Allowing for some flexibility for poetic licence, it’s roughly forty years since Stonewall, one marker of the birth of the gay liberation movement). It was entirely appropriate therefore,  that the theme for our fortieth anniversary conference was “From Wasteland to Promised Land”, which was described by guest speaker Daniel O’Leary not as a journey, but as a “blossoming”.

Desert in bloom with everlasting daisies
Desert in bloom with everlasting daisies

Continue reading After 40 Years, Entry into the Promised Land?

Pope Francis' Gay Outreach

Last week I noted that in his visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis had not a word to say about gay marriage – even though this year alone, marriage equality has been approved in five countries, four states in the USA, (with more to come) and six in Brazil. Some bishops are warning that this represents the end of civilization as we know it – but it is clear from his silence that Pope Francis is not unduly concerned about it. There are far more important issues, more authentically Catholic concerns, that he believes we should be paying attention to. .

Today, he has delivered some thoughts which are more explicitly favourable, insisting that gays should be integrated into society, must not be marginalized or discriminated against, and should be welcomed into the priesthood.  Welcome words indeed. There is in fact absolutely nothing new in this – it’s all absolutely standard, orthodox Catholic doctrine, which contains two parts. There is a compassionate side, directing that we should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and protected from unjust discrimination, and from violence or malice, in words or in deeds. Then there’s the harsh side, denying absolutely any hope of physical expression of our loves in genital acts. The problem has been that many bishops, and the previous two popes, have ignored or directly flouted the compassionate parts of teaching, focusing exclusively on the harshest bits. Francis is not in any way signalling a shift in actual teaching – but he is introducing some sorely needed balance. That alone is welcome.

There’s a way to go yet to introduce sanity into the Catholic Church approach to human sexuality, for people of any orientation, but this is a great start.

Pope Francis: ‘Integrate gays into society’

Pope Francis, Scotsman

POPE Francis, in some of the most compassionate words from any pontiff on gays, said they should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society, but he reaffirmed Church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin. Continue reading Pope Francis' Gay Outreach