Tag Archives: gay Catholics

A Challenge to “Courage”: Take the Catechism Seriously.

At the world meeting of families in Philadelphia, major organizations representing LGBT Catholics and their parents have not only been refused accreditation at the main event, they’ve also been barred by the local archbishop from using a friendly Catholic parish church as a venue for their own fringe event. (Not to worry: they have found a suitable alternative, and the resultant publicity has ensured that their event is now far better known than it would otherwise have been).

I leave it to my American readers to reflect on the ironies of this exclusion in the city of “brotherly love”, and the famed liberty bell – is that a crack I see in it?

Philadelphia's "Liberty Bell"
Philadelphia’s “Liberty Bell”

The organisers insist that it is simply not true that lgbt Catholics are not represented. They are there – provided that they live “in accordance with Church teaching. This is how “Faithful America” reports it, in email correspondence:

Pope Francis is visiting Philadelphia next month for the World Meeting of Families, and the local conservative archbishop is hijacking the event to promote his own right-wing agenda — by inviting advocates for anti-gay conversion therapy to give speeches, lead workshops, and sell their books and other materials.

Here’s the problem: Continue reading A Challenge to “Courage”: Take the Catechism Seriously.

Westminster LGBT Catholics Welcome Cardinal Nichols’ Mass Celebration

Cardinal Vincent Nichols was welcomed by a packed Farm Street Jesuit Church on Sunday, 10 May 2015, when he presided at the scheduled 18.15 Mass which welcomes LGBT Catholics, their parents and families. This was the first time that an Archbishop of Westminster had presided at such a Mass which was concelebrated by Monsignor Keith Barltrop, the Cardinal’s Liaison with the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, Farm Street’s Parish Priest, Fr. Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ, and Fr. John O’Leary, Cardinal Nichols’ Secretary.

Specially-composed music, including Live every day in my love, based on the day’s Gospel reading, and a new version of Psalm 97 were sung by the Beacon Music Group which accompanies Farm Street’s 2nd Sunday evening Masses. Members of the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council were among the readers at the Mass.

Continue reading Westminster LGBT Catholics Welcome Cardinal Nichols’ Mass Celebration

Cardinal’s Clear Welcome & Support to Westminster LGBT Catholics.

Celebrating Mass at the Jesuit parish of Farm Street London last night, Cardinal Vincent Nichols made abundantly and explicitly clear, his message of welcome and support for the inclusion of the LGBT Catholic group in the parish life.

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street (London)

Advance information about the Cardinal’s visit had been decidedly mixed. The LGBT group at the parish, which has been meeting regularly at the parish since the group was moved by the Cardinal from their previous base at Warwick Street two years ago, was enthusiastic, and actively promoted the event as a Mass which Cardinal Nichols would celebrate with the LGBT Catholic group in the parish.  The usual suspects of hostile rule – book Catholic bloggers and other commentators interpreted it in similar fashion, but in tones of horror, not delight. Meanwhile, the diocesan office tried to be more neutral, presenting it as simply a conventional “pastoral visit”, such as the cardinal regularly makes to parishes around the diocese. Continue reading Cardinal’s Clear Welcome & Support to Westminster LGBT Catholics.

“From Synod to Synod”: Join the Consultation!

At Roehampton University today, the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing hosted a study day on “The Family in Theological Perspectives: Challenges, Insights and Dialogues”. 

This was part of a series of events planned by the centre to promote Catholic discussion on family and marriage during the interval between the 2014 “Extraordinary” Synod, and the forthcoming “Ordinary” Synod which will be held later this year. The specific content included discussion on issues around Catholics and family planning, divorce and remarriage,  women in Catholic (papal) theology,  same – sex partnerships, HIV and family life in a context of poverty.

The underlying theme, however, and the purpose of the series, was to encourage and facilitate lay contributions to the continuing consultation on marriage and family, in the build up to the ordinary synod on marriage and family, to be held in October.  The 2014 so-called “consultation” was a (badly handled) attempt to gauge Catholic understanding of Church teaching on marriage and family The intention behind the current consultation, in the light of the 2014 synod, is to  learn from Catholic experience of marriage and family. This is a very different matter, and although still poorly handled, can be an opportunity for once, for Catholic bishops to learn from the rest of us. Continue reading “From Synod to Synod”: Join the Consultation!

Can One Be Simultaneously “Happy, Catholic and Gay”?

One of the questions that most troubles gay and lesbian Catholics, is how to reconcile the apparent conflict between two important sides to our make – up. For some, the seeming contradiction leads them to reject the Church, for others, to reject or hide their natural sexuality. Yet others attempt to live openly as both Catholic and gay – but are constantly troubled by guilr or doubt. Yet the contradiction may be more apparent than real.  It is indeed possible, as many of us have found, to be simultaneously openly Catholic, lead lives of authenticity as gay or lesbian – and also free or guilt or shame about simply accepting the truth of our dual identities. At Quest Bulletin, the magazine of the British support group for gay and lesbian Catholics, there is a continuing series on “Real lives, real people”, as well as additional posts on “life stories”.

There are both practical and theological reasons why these life stories are important. One of these that caught my attention is by Ania Kowalski, at the time the women’s officer, and currently the youth offficer. What particularly attracted me was a section with an idea we don’t often see – her concluding sub-heading “The Beauty of Being Gay and Catholic”.

Here it is:

I am now at a point in my life where I am certain that how I am is good, because God made each of us in His image. I have a girlfriend who is not Catholic herself, but deeply understanding and supportive of my voluntary gay Catholic work. I see the divine in our relationship, and through expressing my love of another, and being loved back, I feel so much closer to God. I know God is in our relationship, and I know that our love is good, because God is in all love. These feelings make me feel  certain that God had a wonderful plan for me when He made me gay, and I feel fortunate to be this way, with all the opportunities this gives me. I believe that having a loving, committed same-sex relationship, which includes sexual intimacy as an expression of that love, is in complete concordance with being Catholic, and in complete agreement with my conscience. I recognise that other gay Catholics might reach a different conclusion in careful consideration of their conscience where they hear the inner voice of God, and I fully respect that. 

In being a gay Catholic, God has also made me question, explore my faith and inform my ideas, resulting in the situation where I think deeply about what I believe in and why. My faith is stronger now because of all of this, because I had to frantically dig around to find answers and then embed the foundations into my life. Many people can drift along, going to Church ‘out of duty’.

However, many gay Catholics bear beautiful testimony to their faith despite going through feelings of rejection or, sadly, homophobic incidents in Catholic communities. I believe I am also a more loving, tolerant and sensitive person, and these are all wonderful gifts I treasure. They make me a more compassionate human towards other humans, and I realise I am less quick to assume and make conclusions about others, because I know that despite external appearances, people often have desolate personal battles they are fighting. I also consider that gay Catholics have so much to contribute to the Church in terms of a broader view of human life and love, outside the traditional family structure. We show that we need to celebrate our differences, rather than feeling threatened by them, and to embrace others and love as much as we can, in all the ways we can.

Fundamentally, I see this as the crux of the Christian message. We are fortunate that we can bear witness to this in our own way.

For the rest of the post, under the sub-headings

  • Upbringing 
  • My faith journey
  •  Being visible as Catholic and gay

see the complete post at “Quest”

(At the time of writing the above story, Ania was Quest women’s officer. She has since passed on that responsibility, but continues to serve on the Quest national committee as “Young Adults” convenor.

Contact her at <ania.kowalski@questgaycatholic.org.uk>


Rebuilding “The Queer Church”

I began this site six years ago, with some very clear aims (originally spelled out here, as “Welcome: Come in, and Come Out”, and here, as “Good News for Queer Catholics“). In practice, much of the time I was more preoccupied with commentary on the daily news cycle, initially on the crisis of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, later with gay marriage. There is a limit, however, to how often one can respond to an attack (gay) marriage and still find something to say which is new. Also, times have changed. Marriage and family equality are clearly well on the way – and I’ve changed: I’ve learned a lot, my skill set has grown.

The recent hacker attack which has (temporarily) blocked access to much of my content has presented me with a welcome opportunity to do what in case I’d been long considering – a substantial redesign and refocus for the site, and the “Queer Church” project. Continue reading Rebuilding “The Queer Church”

The Best Catholic LGBT News of 2014

Bondings 2.0

thumbs upAs the year 2014 comes to a close, Bondings 2.0 takes a look back at the worst and the best news in the Catholic LGBT world.  If  you want to keep up-to-date on the latest news about the ups and downs of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the LGBT community, please consider subscribing to this blog.  To do so, enter your email address in the “Follow blog via email” box at the top of the column on the right-hand side of this page, and press “Follow.”  You will then receive an email every time the blog is updated, usually once a day.  You’ll never miss out on the latest news and opinion in the Catholic LGBT world! 

Yesterday, we surveyed the worst Catholic LGBT news of 2014, and today we end the year looking at the best news:  all the good things that have occurred and the advances that…

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