A major impediment which has historically restricted the ability of the Catholic Church to properly implement it’s own instruction to treat gay and lesbian people with “respect, compassion and sensitivity” has been that far too long, bishops have refused even to meet with our people. There is abundant evidence that is now beginning to change.
The importance of this is that it is impossible to show genuine compassion or sensitivity for any people unless you understand the realities of their lives – and it impossible to acquire that necessary understanding unless you speak to them, or to people who share their experience. Far too often in the past, we’ve read of embarrassing apologies from people insisting that words they may have said “were not intended to offend” – which immediately displays their lack of sensitivity, arising from ignorance of how the words would be heard.
Fortunately, there have been numerous examples in recent years of lesbian and gay Catholics in many regions of the worlds having discussions with local bishops and cardinals, and even with some highly influential members of the Curia, and with at least two members of Pope Francis’ “inner cabinet” of nine cardinal advisors (Cardinal O’Malley of the USA, and Cardinal Gracias of India).
Some of these have been publicly reported, some have not. It is clear though, that the number of such meetings has been increasing, and are being held with increasingly influential figures. The latest of many such reports comes from Ireland, where the Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Eamonn Martin, met with representatives of three different gay faith groups. Continue reading “Don’t Talk About Us, Unless You Talk With Us”: It’s Happening.
I was moderately pleased by Archbishop Martin’s observation that the comfortable win for marriage equality showed that the Church needs a “reality check”, but concerned by what he seemed to think this would involve.
It does not appear that he was facing the obvious conclusion that Vatican teaching itself does not mesh too well with reality, but simply that “reality” indicates that the Church has not communicated its message effectively. There seems to be a problem, he was saying, with a failure of Catholic education in this overwhelmingly Catholic country. My reaction was rather different. Based on my own experience of Catholic education in a country rife with injustice, I saw the Irish result as a triumph for Catholic education. The heart of Catholic belief goes way beyond rigid rules about sex, and much more about the fundamental importance of family values – however those families happen to be constituted. It is less about slavish adherence to authoritarian rules, whether made by state or church, than about adherence to the Gospels. It is not about protecting privilege, but about protecting the weak and marginalized.
I was delighted to come across this commentary by Morrisey, who is clearly thinking along similar lines:
Because the Irish have been brought up by the Catholic Church to view marriage as a sacrament is the reason they can shift sideways to see a same-sex relationship in the same God-blessed way. Because marriage is a beautiful commitment of love, taught to them by the Church, is why the Irish can make the connection to two people of the same sex loving each other with a similar commitment. It is the love commitment they value, and have come to see in their friends and family members who are gay and lesbian as well. Love conquers. The Irish are lovers. It doesn’t matter who the partners are — “I promise to love you all the days of my life, so help me God.”
via USA TODAY
That the Catholic Church needs a “reality check” on its entire sexual theology would seem an obvious platitude to most people in the real world – but when the admission comes from a senior archbishop, it’s worth taking note.
Dublin’s archbishop was responding to the comprehensive win for same – marriage by Irish voters, and especially by those of his own archdiocese. Martin has previously said that we should respect and value same – sex couples, and that although he would personally be voting against, he declined to tell others how to vote.
Let us pray that the Irish bishops at the family synod in October will take these excellent sentiments with them, for presentation to their colleagues.
Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said if the referendum was an affirmation of the views of young people, the church had a “huge task in front of it”.
Large crowds gathered in Dublin as the results of the referendum were announced
“I think really the church needs to do a reality check,” he told RTE.
With votes still being counted in Ireland’s gay marriage referendum, early indications are that it will be a comfortable win for Yes.
- The Irish Times liveblog says the “general consensus” is that Yes will win by 2-1.
- David Quinn, a prominent leader of the No campaign, has tweeted congratulations to the Yes campaign.
- Regular reports from the counts show that in the rural areas, the vote is neck and neck. In urban areas, Yes is comfortably ahead.
- In Dublin it’s overwhelming and appropriately, here’s a rainbow to show for it.
From Pink News:
A Catholic priest in Ireland has said he plans to ignore the wishes of his Church and vote for same-sex marriage in the upcoming referendum.
The Republic of Ireland is set to vote on May 22 on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage.
Powerful Catholic lobbying groups have quietly channelled support to the ‘No’ campaign, capitalising on opposition among religious communities – but one priest will not be joining them.
Father Brian Ó Fearraigh – who is based in( Gweedore, County Donegal – told Highland Radio that he believes the State should not discriminate against same-sex couples.
He said: “I understand that this referendum is purely a civil matter, and it is to do with civil marriage.
(More at PinkNews).