Tag Archives: homophobia

Homophobia Kills: Catholic Schools Must Counter It.

There is abundant evidence that homophobia kills, directly (as in hate crime murders) and indirectly (as in driving the victims to suicide).  As with all forms of hatred, what begin as thoughtless or careless language acquired at school, can mutate into something much more serious in later life. Conversely, good habits acquired when young, can prepare people for sound, healthy attitudes and behaviour as adults.  This is why for several years, Stonewall has been running an established, highly effective program in schools,  training staff in the importance of countering homophobia in school, and giving them tools and resources to do so effectively.

Further, the evidence from Stonewall’s schools research is that in general, pupils and staff believe that the problems are greater in faith schools than in their secular counterparts. For Catholics, this is a sad indictment on the failure of some schools (not all) to properly apply standard Church teaching, which is clear the obligation that “all forms of violence or malice, in speech or in action”, must be opposed. Teaching also insists that homosexual persons must be treated with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”.

This is why I and three other members of Quest met with Stonewall in London today, for the first of two day’s training in how to take the standard Stonewall training on countering homophobia, into faith schools specifically. Tomorrow, we will be back to continue the training.  Next week, three more Quest members will do the same training with Stonewall in Manchester.

By March, we expect to begin visiting schools, delivering the training to those at the coalface.

It’s been a long day, and I have no more time to write more about this, tonight (it’ll be an early start to my day tomorrow, for an early train up to London for a 9am start). Later, I’ll report in more detail, on just why the program is needed, on the evidence that faith schools in general are under-performing in this area, how the program works, and on why Catholic schools in particular have a clear pastoral obligation to  oppose homophobia vigorously – and to support lgbt pupils themselves.

See also:

The Catholic Obligation to Protect and Support LGBT Pupils

Catholic Teaching and Homophobia

Stonewall School Role Models visit

Free teacher training for schools with a faith character (Stonewall sign up page)

(Cross-posted at Quest LGBT Catholic)

The Catholic Obligation to Protect and Support LGBT Pupils

This afternoon, I was up in London, talking to the staff of St Bonaventure’s Catholic secondary school about “The Catholic Obligation to Protect and Support Lesbian and Gay Pupils”. Part of the headteacher’s regular program for staff continuing professional development, this kicked off the school’s annual commitment to LGBT  History Month.

I met the head,teacher, Paul Halliwell,  at Stonewall’s Education Day last October, where he was  a panellist in the Faith breakout group. Stonewall’s Dominic Arnall introduced him with glowing praise for the work that he has already done to promote LGBT inclusion in his Catholic school, St Bonaventure’s in Forest Gate Newham – and his leadership with other schools in the area. I was delighted to accept his invitation to bring a specifically Catholic dimension to his valuable work on LGBT protection and safeguarding.

This is what I said: Continue reading The Catholic Obligation to Protect and Support LGBT Pupils

Respect, Compassion, Sensitivity – On Both Sides, Please!

In Spain, there is an ugly and escalating row between the Cardinal Archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, and lgbt activists. Speaking “in defence of the family”, the cardinal spoke of threats to the family, coming from “actions of the gay empire, of ideas such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender theory”. A coalition of LGBT and feminist groups, interpreting this as an inflammatory attack, have. have responded by laying a formal complaint with the police against Cardinal Cañizares. The row has since escalated further, as described by Francis DeBenardo at Bondings 2.0.

Meanwhile, a similar row has developed in Sardinia, where a parish priest, don Massimiliano Pusceddu, has been accused of inciting murder of homosexuals, for  a homily which quoted selectively from Romans 1:

Don Massimiliano Pusceddu

“L’uomo ha iniziato ad accoppiarsi con l’uomo e la donna con la donna, così Dio li ha abbandonati a passioni infami. Sono colmi di ingiustizia, omicidio, malignità e sono nemici di Dio. Pur conoscendo il giudizio di Dio, cioè che gli autori di tali cose meritano la morte, non solo le commettono, ma anche approvano chi le fa”

(based on Romans 1, verses 26, 27 and 32)

In the aftermath of last week’s Orlando massacre, Italian LGBT groups have seen this as an obvious incitement to murder, and have laid charges with the police.   The priest on the other hand, sees this as simply proclaiming the “prophetic” words of St Paul.

In both Valencia and Sardinia, both sides have a degree of right on their side – and both are making a tragic mistake.  Catholic teaching about its response to LGBT people is clear – homosexuals are to be treated with “respect, sensitivity and compassion”.  LGBT Catholics would be well advised to respond in kind in dealing with the words of Catholic priests and bishops.

There is much that is wrong with Don Pusceddu’s presentation of the text in Romans, but the most heinous is its total lack of sensitivity to how it will be read by LGBT people as an incitement to murder – just as it has been interpreted. Conversely, LGBT people need to be sensitive to his own interpretation of his actions, as a simple proclamation of the biblical message, as required by his priestly ministry.

Writing about the situation in Valencia, Francis DeBenardo says

There is plenty of blame to go around here, and both sides share in it.

The lesson of Orlando that strong rhetoric can lead to strong and violent responses is one that both sides in this case need to learn before it is too late.

Exactly the same can be said, with respect to Sardinia.

Lifesite “News” an Orthotoxic Echochamber.

Lifesite “News” is appalled that in Ontario,

the Waterloo Catholic District School Board asked all students and staff to wear purple shirts and for school flags to fly at half mast on Thursday as a way to “stand up to homophobia and all hate crimes” and to be in “solidarity with all LGBTQ persons.”

St Benedict's tweet

Lifesite portrayed this as an attempt to foist support for the “gay lifestyle” on the school, implying that this is in conflict with their responsibility as Catholic schools. Pointedly, they quote the lines from the Catechism that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law”.

What they pointedly ignore, is that the school board’s action has nothing to do with support for the “gay lifestyle” (whatever that is), and is instead about opposition to gay hatred – as required by established Church teaching.

It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

(CDF, Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986 – also known as “HomosexualitatisProblema”, and to lgbt activists as the infamous “Hallowe’en Letter”)

What saddens me particularly about Lifesite News, is that much as they would like to think of themselves as defending and promoting Catholic orthodoxy, they are nothing of the kind. Their only concern is to push their own particular, narrow interpretation of that teaching, and will not tolerate any disagreement. This was abundantly proven to me this morning, when I attempted to respond to their piece with a simple comment pointing out the CDF statement on opposition to violence, as quoted above.  However, I was met with a note,

Blocked by Lifesite

The only conceivable reason why I should have been blocked by them, is that they know I disagree with their own gravely disordered presentation of Catholic teaching.

African Theologian Expects LGBT Welcome, Inclusion to Follow from “Amoris Laetitia”

Many commentators on Amoris Laetitia have expressed disappointment that Pope Francis’ reminder of respect and freedom from discrimination for lesbian and gay people, was not accompanied by an explicit condemnation of the LGBT persecution found across much of Africa, or of the endorsement of criminal sanctions by some Catholic bishops.

However, at least one key African Catholic sees it differently, saying that the Pope’s words “should galvanize the Church in Africa to embrace wholeheartedly African families and their LGBT members“.

Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator

Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, is a Nigerian Jesuit currently serving in Kenya as the Provincial of the Eastern Africa Province of the Society of Jesus, a position he has held since 2009. An author, editor, and lecturer at Hekima College Jesuit School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya, Father Orobator specializes in ethics and theology in the church and religion in African society.

Writing at National Catholic Reporter on his early response to Amoris Laetitia, he admits that he had expected more, says that the exhortation is not “groundbreaking”, and adds,

I believe that there is still a long way to go before we actually make the bold steps that are long overdue with regard to critical issues such as the role of women in church, homosexual unions, reproductive rights, all of which are broached and addressed in the document.

However, LGBT Catholics in particular will welcome his admission that bold steps are long overdue with regard to homosexual unions.

Even more welcome is his expectation that African bishops will in fact take on board Francis’ words on respect and freedom from discrimination, and act to welcome LGBT Catholics in the life of the African Church. We can but hope and pray that he is right. As an African myself, I’m delighted that this is being said from within Africa, by a knowledgeable African Catholic leader. (I’m  less convinced than he is though, that the African bishops will in fact take the message of inclusion on board).

African theologian responds to ‘Amoris Laetitia’

 

Furthermore, on a continent where at least 38 countries criminalize homosexuality, the pope’s trenchant call for respect for human dignity, avoidance of unjust discrimination, aggression, and violence, and respectful pastoral guidance [paragraph 250], should galvanize the church in Africa to embrace wholeheartedly African families and their LGBT members who have been stigmatized, marginalized, and excluded from the life of the church. Church leaders need to dissociate themselves from governments and politicians who persecute gay people, and show example of respect for their dignity. In Africa, we say the church is “family of God,” implying that it welcomes all without discrimination. The preeminent mark of this church and the world church is hospitality. Clearly, Francis is calling the church in Africa to practice what it preaches by becoming a church that welcomes all into the family without discrimination.

Source: National Catholic Reporter

Indonesian Catholic bishops more supportive of LGBT people than secular law

In one of the more interesting developments after the Synod family assembly, the Indonesian bishops have held their own, local synod to share the message of the synod with the local community – and to listen to the struggles of local families.

Of particular importance for LGBT Catholics, is that Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, who attended the synod, stressed the clear message from the assembly that all people deserve respect – and that includes “homosexuals”.

The archbishop said that one of the main points of the synod is that all people deserve respect, forgiveness and mercy.

“The pope said many times that every individual — whoever they are: divorced couples or homosexuals — must be respected,” he told ucanews.com.

This should not be worth noting, but it undoubtedly is. Although it is clearly stated in the Catholic Catechism that homosexuals should be treated with “respect, sensitivity and compassion”, this is one rule which is widely ignored by many Catholic bishops. For Indonesia, we also need to consider the context.

As an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, this is not a good place to be gay or transgender. At the national level, there is no direct criminalization, but there is also no protection from discrimination, prejudice, or outright hatred, and some discriminatory laws apply (for example, on the age of consent). At the provincial level, it is worse. Provinces have the power to outlaw homosexuality in their areas, and some have done so. In Aceh, province, gay sex can be punished with 100 lashes of the cane. Popular sentiment is hostile, often stoked by religious authorities, both Muslim and (up to now), Catholic.

That is why Archbishop Hardjoatmodjo’s reminder that homosexuals deserve respect, while totally consistent with standard Catholic teaching, is notable as one of the first concrete example of how the Synod assembly on marriage and family, could be leading to improved pastoral sensitivity to LGBT Catholics (and in the longer term, to actual changes in doctrine).

Clerical Pedophilia, Sexual Immaturity

Continuing with my free translation of gay theologian Monsignor Charamsa’s interview in Religion Digital.

Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa
Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa

Do you not think that the Vatican reacted swiftly and drastically with you, while doing the same with pedophile priests?

The reaction was automatic. Legalistic and formalistic automation is the soul of the Catholic Church to one who tells the truth, even though the pope Francisco continually speaks against legalistic formalities.

It is also true that many cases of pedophile priests were and are treated in a different way, not as drastic. Pedophilia is a shame on the Catholic clergy. It is related to the sexual immaturity of its members. It is not influenced by the world, as obsessively stated by the Church . It is the result of an obsession caused by repressed sexuality, sexuality which is rejected,not accepted, .

It is also true that at various levels of the Church pedophilia continues to be protected to save face and to avoid compensation for the damage caused. I’ll give an example. Late last summer the Polish Vatican nuncio, Archbishop Wesolowskiin died in prison, after conviction by the Congregation as a pedophile. This man had a funeral that lasted ten days, between the Vatican and Poland. 10 days’ burial for a prisoner who has already been tried by an ecclesiastical court for pedophilia abuse. The funeral began with a Mass celebrated by the Pope’s closest collaborators and ended ten days later in Poland with a reading of a letter it was said that the Dominican Republic accusations of pedophilia were merely Mafia inventions . The Vatican allowed all this show, rather than thinking immediately about how to compensate the victims of that pederast bishop. Seeing all this, one can conclude that there is a pedophile lobby in the Vatican. Yes, many pedophile priests and bishops have special treatment and many continue to be free from any penalty..

In this light the Vatican’s reaction to a gay priest who tells the truth is shamefully automatic. But this is the logic of the Church: all must remain hidden “for the good of the Church”. While hidden, nothing happens. For the Church “the devil” is the priest who tells the truth, which comes to light, the coming out of the closet.

See also the full series:

 

Charamsa on Gays in the Curia, Gays and the CDF

Continuing with my free translation of gay theologian Monsignor Charamsa’s interview in Religion Digital.

Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa
Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa

Do spirituality and sensitivity attract gays to the altar? Are there more homosexuals in the Church than in other social institutions?

I am personally sure that is so. Often in the past, for a gay man to be a priest was a way to hide his homosexuality and make it socially. Today, probably it is only a functional reason in homophobic and backward societies. I imagine that in my country, Poland, it is still working well. I think today it is much more common that a gay man with his sensitivity and openness to the transcendent and the divine, wants to be a priest.

And in the Curia, are there many gays? Is there really the Vatican gay lobby that is often spoken about?

In this area also I can speak only of my experience. We have no studies on the presence of homosexuals in the clergy, because it is a taboo, a topic that should not be discussed. In the Curia there are many gays. Many of them are good priests, if they are not homophobic, if they do not think only of their career, if they do not care only money and power. The problem occurs when gays have internalized homophobia. In the Catholic clergy there are many homosexuals who, repressed by their own orientation, hate those who are gay like themselves.

The other issue is the gay lobby, which I have not come across. I read something about it in Italy, but I have not had any experience. It may be that there is this lobby, as there are Italian or Polish lobbies in the Vatican. The Vatican, the heart of the Church, is a blend of power struggles, politics and money. I also think that the Vatican is itself an Italian and international lobby imposing ideas that have  never been seriously studied.

Is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith particularly homophobic? And its top leader in the Congregation, Cardinal Müller?

Yes,the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the heart of a paranoid and irrational homophobia. In it there is no possibility of understanding and dialogue. It works by stereotypes.I had the impression that in the Congregation, faith in God was not promoted, we do not concern ourselves with Christology or Mariology, we only battle against gays and other sexual minorities. It is an obsession. This is our real faith: anti-gay paranoia. That’s all. It’s our favorite subject. There are meetings in which, of every three cases we discuss, two are against gays. We have invented an imaginary enemy and battle against it with all our strength. We call it “our war on gender”. There can be no discussions, we think that this gender can only promote sex changes. That is the level of paranoia which prevails in the Congregation..

Cardinal Müller has promoted all this ignorance, this extremism, this obsession among the top staff, without any reasoning. Instead of promoting studies, the Congregation is a political agency to sabotage the pontificate of Pope Francis and his synodal discussion. It is the agency that fights gender, which it doesn’t even know how to define. What is of importance is to use the word gender in ways that frighten people, no matter who has not read a single book on gender studies. Obsessive homophobia and misogyny (the real feminofobia, a hatred of women) are a drama for this congregation, whose members are not all heterosexual. As everywhere, there are homosexuals. The reality is that the Congregation hates gays, even though it is known that there are homosexuals among its members.

See also the full series:

 

Charamsa on the Church, “Mercy” and LGBT Persecution

Continuing with my free translation of gay theologian Monsignor Charamsa’s interview in Religion Digital. In this second extract he contrasts Church preaching of “mercy”, with its record of active persecution of homosexuals.

Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa
Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa

The Church preaches mercy, but continues to persecute homosexuals?

Yes, there is real persecution by the Catholic Church of both individuals and of the LGBTI community in general. It is persecution of sexual minorities that do not belong and can not belong to the heterosexual majority. It is an ideological project of the Church. My Church allows itself to say  that we must fight against gays like we fought against Nazism. It compares us with the Nazis, the enemies of humanity. This statement has come from the mouth of African Cardinal Sarah in the middle of the synod, a pace which instead should be thinking about mercy for families. The Church is obsessed with homosexuality, just as with human sexuality in general.

Unfortunately, at this time of the church there is nobody able to open a serious discussion, free from all dictatorial ideology. The intellectual and spiritual level of the Pastors is generally not very high. So,there is a lack partners whom we could face up to in the Church. This is my experience in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: a cold, blind indoctrination, an automatic legalism, full of callous self-righteousness. With whom in the Church could we debate these human questions if the Church allows the words of Sarah? He should be denounced for the defamation of a social group. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith thinks like Sarah. They are obsessed with homosexuality.

A few days ago, Cardinal Kasper said that “the homosexual is born (that way).” It was the first time I heard this from a hierarch of the Church. How about you?

Yes, it is true, I think it is the first time. Cardinal Kasper is one of the few people in the Church who think. I do not share his position on moral judgment regarding homosexual acts by homosexual persons  following their own nature. I think he says, on the one hand you are born homosexual, but at the same time he excludes these same people from the possibility of love,  a possibility reserved only to heterosexual creatures. It is contradictory. In other words, if it is true that “one is born homosexual,” as he says, then Catholics have a problem with the homosexual issue. They should think again about the whole issue of sexual orientation, and then review the moral doctrine in light of this reflection.

However, with this sentence it seems to me that Cardinal Kasper continues the unfortunate theory of male-female complementarity. This approach is a truly Catholic mental construction, which has already been examined and is theoretically weak, if not false. Unfortunately, the term “complementarity” has become a slogan with which the Church wants to eliminate the discussion about gay people as God’s creatures looking for love. Thus the Church also promotes a homophobic false image of homosexuals, as people.naturally incapable of love  In this way it promotes hatred in the public mind against LGBTI people, who are presented as abnormal. This is an ideological position of a church that is afraid to think. I’m sure this will happen in the future and the Church will ask forgiveness for this delay. These types of errors have been repeated in the history of the Church

Returning to Cardinal Kasper. He is a believer who continually thinks, with whom you can discuss. There are also others like him: as Cardinal. Schönborn, Cardinal. Marx, Archbishop Monsignor Forte or Archbishop Monsignor Bonny, to name a few, and not forgetting Pope Francis. They are men of God and the Church, sensitive, faithful, capable of meeting humanity and talking to her. But most are obsessed, unable to think and to love, as Cardinal. Sarah. Stigmatization promoted by the majority is a weapon.

See also the full series:

 

Charamsa Contrasts His Penalty, and Those of Clerical Pedophiles

Continuing with my free translation of Monsignor Charamsa’s interview in Religion Digital:

Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa
Msgr Krzysztof Charamsa

Do not you think that the Vatican reacted swiftly and drastically with you, while doing the same with pedophile priests?

The reaction was automatic. The legalistic and formalistic automation is the soul of the Catholic Church to the one who tells the truth, even though the pope Francisco continually speak against the legalistic formalities.

It is also true that many cases of pedophile priests were and are treated a different way, not as drastic. Pedophilia is a shame of the Catholic clergy. It is related to the sexual immaturity of its members. It is not influenced by the world, as stated by the Church obsessively. It is the result of an obsession caused by repressed sexuality, not accepted, rejected.

It is also true that at various levels of the Church pedophilia continues to be protected to save face and not compensation for the damage caused. I’ll give an example. Late last summer in prison died the Polish Vatican nuncio, Archbishop Wesolowski, judged by the Congregation as a pedophile. This man had a funeral that lasted ten days, between the Vatican and Poland. 10 days burial of a prisoner who has already been tried by an ecclesiastical court abused by pedophiles. The funeral began with a Mass celebrated by the Pope’s closest collaborators and ended after ten days in Poland with a reading of a letter it was said that the accusations of pedophilia were the only inventions Mafia Dominican Republic. The Vatican allowed all this show, rather than thinking about how to immediately compensate the victims of that pederast bishop. Seeing all this, one can conclude that there is a pedophile lobby in the Vatican. Yes, many pedophile priests and bishops have special treatment and many continue to be free from it.

In this light the Vatican’s reaction to a gay priest who tells the truth is a shameful automation. But this is the logic of the Church: all must remain hidden “for the good of the Church”. While hidden, nothing happens. For the Church “the devil” is the priest who tells the truth, which comes to light, the coming out of the closet.

Will you remain a priest, he will ask secularization or the will to impose?

Am and me Sorry priest. I’m better priest before today. Conversely, it is I who will ask Church to open your eyes.

Do you plan to write a book about his experiences in the Vatican?

Yes, I believe it my duty to further explain my experience in the Church, and do it for the good of the Church itself, which must become and apologize for their institutional scandals, for its delays, its irrational paranoia of homophobia. Anyone who sees and experiences it has a duty to awaken the Church, which has already exceeded all tolerable limit.

If the pope asked him personally, leave your partner and return to the Vatican?

No, I would not let my partner because I love her and because no doctrinal reason to. Having a partner, whether male or female, to a priest does not go against their faith, not against the doctrine of our faith. Conversely, the Church and the Pope who should start thinking seriously about the inhuman discipline of mandatory celibacy and his obsession with homosexuality and human sexuality in general.

Go back to the Vatican? No, not again. It should be a masochist, a person who seeks suffering and offense of their own identity. I’m not a masochist. The Vatican is one less holy places I’ve ever met in my life. I want to live happy, want to be holy, what it means to be happy and live in the light of God and the dignity of man. In the Vatican most people are not happy. It is a place that needs a spiritual and mental conversion. God needs air, air that there needed.

See also the full series: