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Posts Tagged ‘lgbt equality, inclusion’

Catholic Columnist Urges Church to Rethink Homosexuality Teaching

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Michael Sean Winters, a columnist at National Catholic Reporter, recently wrote on the failing nature of Catholic teaching on homosexuality in light of the University of Notre Dame’s decision to approve a comprehensive plan for LGBTQ students. You can read an earlier Bondings 2.0 post on the decision here.

Winters notes the decision garnered a positive statement by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, the diocese in which the University is located, before divulging his personal commentary. His commentary takes up several points relevant to the Notre Dame decision, the first of which is the theology surrounding homosexuality:

“Here is the bottom line for me on these issues. The Church’s theological reflection on homosexuality is inadequate at the moment, usually crammed into the worldview that existed for a very long time that assumed that the sexual activities of gay people were the perverse acts of straight people.”

Winters acknowledges that advancements of the past decades allow a deeper understanding of homosexuality as something “constitutional” and “it is not an aberrant choice.” This leads him to conclude:

“The language about ‘intrinsically disordered’ should be dropped entirely because it ran the danger of creating a new category of sin, not a vice like the seven deadly to which we are all prone, nor a specific act like stealing a car, but a disposition that was itself flawed and unique to certain persons.”

Finally, Winters directly addresses the decision at Notre Dame, which he calls “courageous” because the University recognizes the human dignity of LGBTQ students beyond a theology of human sexuality that is outdated:

“We also have a Christian obligation to ‘create a community where all may flourish and feel welcome, where we aspire to an even deeper understanding and appreciation of Catholic teaching, and where the human dignity of each Notre Dame student is valued.’ That, too, is part of our Catholic moral tradition. Notre Dame is right, and even courageous…”

Winters has named the essential struggle for LGBTQ and Ally students at Catholic colleges and universities, and indeed for the entire church:  how to protect human dignity .

Only emphasizing Catholic sexual ethics that classifies homosexuality as a sin set apart when addressing LGBTQ campus needs is dehumanizing. Students fade from being persons who deserve pastoral and educational care into partisan activists that are to be battled for nothing more than their sexual orientation. Worse, these anti-inclusive institutions miss some legitimate issues at stake: a student’s safety, well-being, and success in higher education.

New Ways Ministry joins Michael Sean Winters in applauding the University of Notre Dame and over a third of Catholic colleges that defend their student’s dignity foremost by providing resources for LGBT persons. You can view our listing of gay-friendly Catholic schools here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

 Bondings 2.0.

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Pope’s Peace Day Statement Is Countered by Catholic Parents

In Marriage and family on January 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

As we reported at the end of last month, Pope Benedict’s statement for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, January 1st, contained a reference that same-gender married couples are a threat to world peace.  But on January 1, 2013,  the pope’s message was countered by a pair of married heterosexual Catholic parents who have a long history of working for LGBT justice and equality.

In his statement the pope said that allowing gay and lesbian people to marry is

“. . . an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.”

Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata

In a Washington Post “On Faith” essay, Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata,  who are the founders of Fortunate Families, a national network of Catholic parents of LGBT people, countered the pope’s rhetoric by describing the lives of  lesbian and gay friends of theirs:

“We are fortunate enough to be able to contrast the pope’s rhetoric with the reality of Bob’s life, and those of many other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people whom we know. They don’t seem like threats to world peace or the future of humanity. They are men and women trying to earn a living, love their spouses, raise their children and contribute a little something to their churches and their communities.”

Additionally, they contrast the pope’s point of view with that of the majority of U.S. Catholics:

“The pope is losing the fight against marriage equality because Catholics weigh his abstract definitions of what it means to be human, what it means to be male and what it means to be female, against the evidence of their own experience. They understand instinctively that human beings are too complex to be captured in such arid taxonomies, that categories devised by celibate philosophers no longer make much sense in a world in which traditional gender roles were abandoned long ago. Rather, what they know, what they believe, is the evidence of their own experience. Like John the Evangelist, they testify to what they have seen and heard.”

more at « Bondings 2.0.

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Rest in Peace: Bishop Walter Sullivan

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

With a heavy heart, we report the passing of Bishop Walter Sullivan, retired Ordinary of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.   As a past president of Pax Christi USA, Bishop Sullivan is best known for his work on peace issues.  However, no less significant is Bishop Sullivan’s contributions to LGBT equality.

Here are  a few of his accomplishments:

  • Establishing the Sexual Minorities Commission, the first diocesan outreach to LGBT people, back in 1976
  • Writing the introduction to A Challenge to Love:  Gay and Lesbian Catholics in the Church (edited by New Ways Ministry co-founder, Father Robert Nugent, SDS).
  • Hosting the second national convention of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian/Gay Ministries in 1996.  (The organization is now called the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry.)

Also in 1976, Bishop Sullivan spoke out in support of lesbian/gay civil rights, stating in the Richmond News Leader:

“The issue before our community and the [human rights] commission, however, is not the morality of a person’s sexual orientation, but rather a person’s rights and protection under the law.  We believe that a person’s sexual orientation, whether it is one we approve or disapprove, is not a proper ground for depriving  that person of the basic rights and protections that belong to all human beings. “

From a statement such as this, we can see that Bishop Sullivan was one of the first Catholic bishops to apply the church’s social justice and human rights traditions to the LGBT community.

taken from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

more at  Bondings 2.0.

Catholic Group Wants Answers on Archdiocese Spending

In Marriage and family on November 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm

EAGAN, Minn. — A group of nearly 100 Catholics is calling for accountability and transparency in the church’s finances.

At a meeting in the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan Thursday night, Martha Turner of Catholic Coalition for Church Reform said she hopes to start a conversation with the Archdiocese for St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“We would like to hear your stories,” Turner said. “We want to hear from you, we want to hear your experiences and your concerns about how the money is used that you donate to your parishes and that some of which ends up in the archdiocese.”

The archdiocese spent $650,000 in a failed attempt to pass a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Michael Anderson, one of the leaders of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, asked the audience if the archdiocese’s spending was improper.

“How would we feel if the archdiocese had invested a million dollars saying ‘vote no’ in opposition to the marriage amendment?” Anderson asked. “Would we be complaining about that? I don’t know. I think it’s an honest question.”

Several people at the event said the church’s stance made them feel like they had to choose between going to Mass and supporting gay friends and family. They said they wanted to have more of a say in the way the church spends its money. A few said they had reduced their donations or stopped going to church.

via The Progressive Catholic Voice

 

Catholic ‘Dignity’

In Homophobia and bullying, Sexuality and Gender on November 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

According to “Vatican digs in after gay marriage advances” (Tribune, Nov. 11), the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriages because “Catholic teaching holds that homosexuals should be respected and treated with dignity but that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered.’” If you truly believe the former, how can you believe the latter?

If you believe in treating blacks with dignity, but that they should also be slaves, what kind of dignity is that?

Being polite and kind is not treating someone with dignity, which means “the quality of being worthy or esteemed.” How is denying a life of committed love to someone wired to be attracted to the same sex treating them with esteem?

Of what worth do you esteem them to be worthy of? Of being an emotional eunuch? It’s that self-fulfilling approach that makes them “disordered.”

Catholics aren’t treating gay men with dignity; they aren’t treating them as worthy men created with liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness in their own way. No, with marriage, it’s the pursuit of happiness the Catholic way — even if you’re not Catholic — or not at all.

That how it was in the Middle Ages, not in 21st century America.

Dean Spencer

Salt Lake City

-letter to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Lesbian answers bishop’s call for dialogue on gay marriage

In Marriage and family on November 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

What do you do when your spouse of 10 years — the person you’ve spent a decade sharing spiritual, intimate and intellectual moments with — is suddenly lying unconscious on her deathbed?

If you’re Catholic, you make sure her body is anointed with oil. You kiss her goodbye, even if you have to force the doctors to remove the breathing tube, and you slide the wedding ring gently off her finger and whisper a promise to take care of it forever.

That’s what Charlene Strong did on Dec. 14, 2006, after torrential rains flooded the Seattle home she shared with Kate Fleming, leaving her partner trapped and dying in her basement studio. But first, hospital administrators had to call a relative of Fleming’s to get permission for Strong to bid farewell the way the couple would have wanted.

‘’They were willing to take the word of someone on the phone, 300 miles away,” Strong said. “Who knew her allergies? I did. Her knew what her wishes were? I did.”

With the family’s blessing, Strong was able to see her partner one last time. But the battle continued, she said, when the funeral director refused to allow her to make final arrangements.

That’s when Strong decided that she would do whatever she could to make sure other same-sex couples would have equal rights in Washington state.

It is an emotionally powerful story, and one that brought tears to the eyes of many of the 200 or so students, faculty and community members at Gonzaga University Law School where Strong recounted it on Monday (Oct. 29).

more at  – The Washington Post.

 

Dignity/Chicago Celebrates Four Decades of Ministry

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Congratulations to Dignity/Chicago, which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary of community, support, advocacy, and ministry for LGBT Catholics and their friends in the Chicago area.

Dignity/Chicago history panelists

The Windy City Times reports that one way this chapter of DignityUSA has decided to celebrate this milestone is with a history panel composed of representatives from each of the four decades:

“Dr. Thomas O’Brien, director of DePaul University’s Center for Interreligious Engagement, moderated the panel of six members, which included Lois McGovern, representing the ’70s; Michael Hogan and previous Dignity/Chicago Board President Kevin Buckley portraying the ’80s; Linda Kelly and Ald. James Cappleman, a past Dignity/Chicago board president, recalling the ’90s; and past Dignity/Chicago Board President Blane Roberts talking about the 2000s.”

Chapter President Chris Pett explained that looking backward is a way of preparing for the future:

” ‘The future is what we’re still exploring and understanding, but we got to know where we came from in order to know what our future is about,’ said Pett. ‘It was very powerful. I just think we are, as Christians, we are people of the story. To me, what was so important was to hear that again after 40 years we still maintain our identity, we still consider ourselves to be authentic voices of LGBT Catholics who reach out and want to create a spiritual home for people in general, but especially for LGBT Catholics. As I would put it, to be the church Jesus intended us to be and to not let the hierarchical church define who we are or tell us if we’re catholic or not because we have a right to exist. We do exist, we have existed and we’ll continue to exist.’ “

With such a strong and vibrant history, Dignity/Chicago seems well-placed to go forward to the future with a spirit of courage and optimism.  We pray for continued blessings on their ministry, and we say “Ad multos annos!”

(Dignity/Chicago meets weekly for Mass on Sunday evenings, 5:00 p.m., at Broadway United Methodist Church, 3338 North Broadway, Chicago.)

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

via « Bondings 2.0.

 

Mel White’s “Holy Terror”

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

This year marks the re-release of Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right tells us to Deny Gay Equality (Magnus Books, 2012). It was originally published in 2006 under the title Religion Gone Bad.

Reading Holy Terror has been one of those sobering, upsetting experience. I am periodically and forcibly reminded of the seriousness of our task, and of the power of the forces arrayed against us and the ones we love. What I’m going to do here is provide a brief introduction to the book, followed by some personal reflections.

There are several words you will come across when people respond to Holy Terror. One phrase is “must-read.” The other is “scary,” and the book is definitely scary.

Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, and Kennedy

The first section discusses the men who prepared the soil for the anti-gay campaign yet to come, and sections two and three contain the stories of the four men whose name are familiar to us all: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and D. James Kennedy. Four factors linger in the memory from these vignettes. The first is their influence over their massive audiences; second is their amazing organizing ability; third is their exercise of political muscle; and finally is their well-honed ability to raise cash, and lots of it. Of the four men, James Dobson seems to have been the best at all this.

more at  « Bible-Thumping Liberal.

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The Queer Rights Movement as an Extension of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:31-33 // Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21)

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

Jesus presented another parable to the crowds: “The kindom of heaven is like the mustard seed which a farmer sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows it is the biggest shrub of all – it becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come to perch in its branches.”

Jesus offered them still another parable: “The kindom of heaven is like the yeast a baker took and mixed in with three measures of flour until it was leavened all through.”

Mathew 13: 31-33 (Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-21)

It is almost cliché to note that these two parables are about “humble beginnings.” It is cliché until we take a look at what “humble” refers to: insignificant and rag-tag. That is, out of dismissible events and people grow God’s great Empire.

For example, few observers would have suspected that a hole-in-the-wall tranny-bar would become the match to light the modern Gay Rights Movement in the United States. Yet the name Stonewall is now known the world over. In its wake queer sexuality is seen less and less as a predilection and more and more as a life-affirming path.

McCoy-Snell’s painting reminds us that the greatness of a person or even a movement is often masked by the circumstances of their conception and birth.

-continue reading at  The Bible In Drag – Queering Scripture