Tag Archives: Family Synod 2015

Has the Synod “Opened a Door” to LGBT Inclusion?

The Synod of Bishops’ three week assembly on marriage and family has now concluded. It’s now two years since the process began, and it’s not over yet. (We still must wait for Pope Francis’ response, which will be published as an Apostolic Exhortation). Meanwhile, LGBT opinion on the results of the assembly and its implications for ourselves, are sharply divided. Some see the the near total absence of even any reference to LGBT concerns as a disappointing “no change”, while others see this very silence as a promising sign, that bishops recognize the need for real change, after dialogue with lesbian and gay people, and sound theological reflection.

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Whichever interpretation turns out to be correct, three notable responses suggest that for Quest, the synod assembly has opened up a major opportunity, which we should be ready to use: the English bishops’ representatives have returned with supportive statements, James Alison has written of his belief that the bishops’ avoidance of the subject in the final document is a sign that they recognize the need for further real engagement, and Cardinal Kasper has said that although there has been no change in doctrine or the rules on communion for the divorced and remarried, nevertheless, doors have been opened. Taken together, we may conclude that at least for British lesbian and gay Catholics, a door has opened up a crack. It is now up to us to force the opening wider, and make our way through it.

doors Continue reading Has the Synod “Opened a Door” to LGBT Inclusion?

Cardinal Nichols’ Apology to “All Those Who Have Left in Tears”

For the Feast of All Saints on Sunday, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, issued a pastoral letter to be read in all churches of his diocese. Drawing attention to the synod’s emphasis on mercy and accompaniment for those in difficulty, he included in his letter a clear apology to “all those who have left in tears.”

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Continue reading Cardinal Nichols’ Apology to “All Those Who Have Left in Tears”

The Fruits of the Synod: Initial Thoughts

Bondings 2.0 has published today extracts from some reflections on synod 2015 by several bishops, following reactions published last week by commentators and LGBT organizations.

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass to mark the end of the Synod of bishops, in St.Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass to mark the end of the Synod of bishops, in St.Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

I’ve yet to respond in full with my own thoughts, but here a few points that I think are especially important: Continue reading The Fruits of the Synod: Initial Thoughts

“Rainbow Catholics” Welcome New Era for LGBT Pastoral Care

An international group of LGBT Catholics, their families and their allies, sees reason for hope in the final report from the Bishops’ Synod Assembly on Marriage and Family. Acknowledging that there are some disappointments in the text, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics nevertheless expects that the proceedings of this assembly will lead to a fresh, more sensitive approach to pastoral care.

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Continue reading “Rainbow Catholics” Welcome New Era for LGBT Pastoral Care

Synod: More Questions than Answers?

Reporting from the Synod 2015 Assembly on Marriage and Family at Bondings 2.0, Francis DeBenardo asks, “Why Didn’t the Synod Have a More Robust Discussion of LGBT Issues?

He writes:

Yet, I think it is remarkable that in a synod on marriage and family,  2/3rds of the groups did not think it was worth it to discuss what is clearly, by many bishops’ own words, one of the most significant developments in family life in human history:  the recognition and acceptance of same-gender marriage and families headed by same-gender couples.

DeBenardo notes that this could be either a good sign, or a bad, and admits that he “just doesn’t know”. Continue reading Synod: More Questions than Answers?

Ministry Expanding at Queering the Church

Here at the Queer Church, restructuring continues – and we’re also expanding our ministry.

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Expansion

I began my activities in LGBT ministry by volunteering at the Soho Masses, and went on to begin writing about LGBT faith matters here at Queering the Church. I also became involved with Quest as conference speaker, webmaster and now Quest Bulletin editor,  took on additional webmaster responsibilities for the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, and for the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. I have also facilitated successful workshops for Quest, and on “Next Steps” in expanding LGBT ministry. During the build up to the introduction of UK equal marriage, I was a regular participant in radio and television programmes as an openly gay, Catholic advocate for equality.

I’m now expanding still further. Continue reading Ministry Expanding at Queering the Church

Spanish Theologians Back Gay Marriage.

A few years ago, it was German speaking theologians from Europe who hit the headlines when they signed a letter asking for far-reaching reforms on Church teaching and structure.

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Now, a group of mostly Spanish  language from Latin America who have asked the Synod for far more radical reforms. They ask for full LGBT equality in Church (including equal marriage), an end to the absolute ban on abortion, admission to the priesthood for married men and women, and access to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Here’s the groundbreaking opening section , on full LGBT inclusion: Continue reading Spanish Theologians Back Gay Marriage.

The Vatican’s Gay Anxiety  

David Berger is a Catholic (lay) theologian who was fired from a prestigious teaching post because he is openly gay. As such, he has a special insight into the significance of the Vatican theologian Msgr Krzysztof’s coming out as gay and partnered. He shared his views in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau.

This is my own free translation:

The Catholic Church can no longer avoid the debate over gay priests. 

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The gay theologian David Berger talks in an interview about the outing of gay clergy Krzysztof Charamsa and about homosexuals in the Vatican. However, Berger leans against blessings for homosexual couples.

Mr. Berger, the Vatican summarily dismissed – in secular terms – the gay theologian Krzysztof Charamsa after his coming out . Was this grasping at crisis management?

In an attempt to demonstrate strength, the apparatus showed in truth its weakness and its vulnerability. The great legal tradition of the Catholic Church, of which we might actually be proud, in this moment is worth nothing any more, after the outwardly hostile attitude towards homosexuality is exposed as living a lie.

Continued at The Queer Church Repository

Rainbow Catholics’ Letter to Synod Fathers

At the conclusion of their founding conference, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics sent a “letter of greeting” to the synod fathers gathering in Rome.

From Thursday evening to Sunday evening 1st October to 4th October,  a group of LGBT Catholics from 31 countries, together with some friends and family members, gathered in Rome for the foundation conference of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics.

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We shared our experiences as rainbow Catholics in a wide diversity of settings, we described our particular challenges, shared our greatest successes, and spoke of our special needs for support from the global network. We mapped out a direction and structure for our continuing work, then on Saturday afternoon we interrupted our own work to host a public meeting, “The Ways of Love”, to head about some notable achievements in pastoral practice from around the world. Resuming on Sunday, we elected a steering committee, with good gender balance and with representation from every continent, to take the work forward.

At the conclusion of the conference,  we sent to every member of the Synod, just starting a short distance away, this  letter:

Dear Sisters and Brothers at the Synod on the Family,

Greetings from the new-born Global Network of Rainbow Catholics!

We are a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics, and along with our loving families and friends, we have spent the last few days not far from you, in Rome, consolidating two years of work, which have advanced alongside your double Synod preparations.

We come from over thirty countries, both as individuals and as representatives of groups, who have been involved with the flourishing of people like ourselves in the lives of our local churches, (as well as with many other tasks). The last years have not been an easy ride! Many in our Church thought that they were serving God by hating us, and some still do, especially among the hierarchy; but we can tell you with joy, that we have kept alive our Confession of the Catholic faith! We have kept the faith under persecution, and are ready to join with you in the joyful announcement of the Gospel to which Pope Francis has called us.

Because God is wonderful, we have found that through this life as dregs among the people of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a surprising (at least to us) capacity to stand up and be counted, not to be frightened of those who fear us,not to be resentful of the incapacity for approval, and the bureaucratic meanness of spirit and dishonesty to which we have regularly been subjected. We have learned that it is not what the Church can do for us, but what we can do for the Church that matters.

We need to be better prepared to join you in your task of spreading the Gospel and building up the families in which(as we have so often experienced ourselves) God delights. We need to support each other, and others more vulnerable than ourselves, at a worldwide level,especially in countries which criminalize us, and even think they are honouring God by killing us. We need to be able to share information, counter falsehood, encourage each other in our needs, and strengthen our families, especially where civil law does not yet respect them. So we have decided to set up a Global network, to bring together groups of LGBTI Catholics, our families and friends, as well as other Christians and people of good will. This will enable us to be much better prepared to share experiences, life stories, examples of best-practice:little miracles of love.

We want to set up our network in such a way that we can even be useful to you, though we know from long experience\how frightened many of you are of communicating with us discreetly, even less talking to us on the record! Having learned, by living with Jesus, not to be dismayed by the falsehoods and calumnies concerning us to which some of you still seem wedded, and even pass off as “teaching of the Church”, you will find us resilient, because we know that we are loved. In the near-absence of visible shepherds, we have come to trust and love a Shepherd who was not ashamed to give himself to death for us, One whose voice we hear, with whom we are not in rivalry, and in whose light all others who call themselves shepherds can be tested for their fruits. Because of this, you may even be surprised to find us meek!

So we write to you to wish you encouragement for these days of your Synodal gathering, as well as for the months and years to come as we all begin to live the hints of the new that are coming to birth, discovering new ways of celebrating the family, rather than condemning wine that threatens to burst old wineskins. We are thrilled that you heard with us Pope Francis’ wonderful homily in Philadelphia last week, where he drew out the consequences of both Jesus’ and Moses’ rebuke to those who would hold back the Spirit.

We have prayed for you at every Mass at our meeting, and we ask you to pray for us, confident that we will soon be able to meet transparently, with joy. For we are amazed to have discovered that over the last few years, despite everything, and because nothing is impossible to God, we have become insiders with you in the life of the Gospel, and co-sharers in all your joyful tasks.

With warmest greetings from your rainbow sisters and brothers in Christ.

Rome,
Feast of St Francis of Assisi, 2015