Tag Archives: LGBT

Italian bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini from Locri-Gerace recognizes that gay couples ‘should claim some rights, but they can not ask for marriage’

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 18 DECEMBER 2012 | BY DANIELE GUIDO GESSA Photo by DaffyDuke

An Italian Catholic bishop said that ‘same-sex couples should have their civil rights recognized.’ Bishop Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, who is in charge of the Locri-Gerace area in Calabria, recognized same-sex couples’ rights in a letter sent to the churches of his area.
Such a recognition by the Catholic hierarchy is uncommon, but bishop Morosini added: ‘However, same-sex couples are not families. We can not give them the right to a regular marriage.
‘We believe in God and we have to respect the Christian values and rules. I suggest you defend these ideas strongly.’
The Italian Church is analyzing the possibility of a new Italian government wanting to give same-sex couples some rights. The next general elections will be held in spring. Morosini added: 
‘A marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but every couple should have civil rights.’
His stance has been welcomed by Italian LGBT associations, even though the Italian gay movement has condemned his call for ‘traditional’ marriage.Calabria is one of the less gay-friendly regions in Italy. Only a few LGBT associations operate in this area.
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The Rainbow Sash Movement (Lesbian/Gay Catholics) challenges the policy arm of the Catholic Church in Illinois when that Conference makes the claim that it represents nearly 4 million Catholics in the State of Illinois on the issue of Gay Marriage; such a claim is not based in reality.

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The Illinois Catholic Conference also states that marriage is unique because it’s a union between two genders and “same-sex marriage goes against nature.” This is another example of hierarchal bias of basic human rights and fairness for LGBT people. It is not reasonable to deny the evolution of marriage over the centuries with divorce and remarriage being the most obvious example of such evolution.
The Rainbow Sash Movement finds it difficult understand why the Illinois Catholic Conference would align itself with an organization which is part of the ex-gay movement to promote their anti-gay agenda. Courage was founded by Fr. John Harveybased on the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and understands sexual orientation of the LGBT Community as a disease to be cured. The attempt to promote such bigotry under their conference is in our opinion not only offensive to the LGBT Community and most reasonable people, but is also lacking in any significant pastoral intent.
The promotion of such ideas by the Illinois Catholic Conference that love is an abomination when Lesbian and Gay couples practice it in Gay Marriage has its origins in ancient taboos, not nature. This only highlights how out of touch Catholic leaders are with the views of pew-sitting Catholics when it comes to Gay Marriage.
At issue is how to balance competing rights—to freedom of religious expression and freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We believe it would be unfortunate to replace legal oppression of one community (LGBT couples) with legal oppression of another (Illinois Catholic Conference), and current Gay Marriage legislation to be introduced in January 2013 has built in protections to make sure this does not happen.
We want to remind our leaders the principles of our faith and church are based on: forgiveness, love, mercy and charity. Not the flawed opinions of men – even those in the church hierarchy. We are calling on our Bishops to refocus their attention on caring for the poor and vulnerable
The Rainbow Sash Movement believes that the Catholic Conference of Illinois has a right to create its own definition of the sacrament of marriage, but not to impose those beliefs on the people of Illinois who understand this as a question of basic fairness and social justice.
Perhaps it is time for the Church to remove itself from Civil Marriage if it cannot tolerate marriage equality which is defined by the state, and focus rather on sacramental marriage which is defined by the Church. The Catholic Conference of Illinois is stepping over the line when it tells non Catholic Churches who they can and cannot marry.
It is time to pass Gay Marriage in Illinois.
SOURCE Rainbow Sash Movement
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In Denying Communion at Mother’s Funeral, Priest Contravened the Catechism

A Catholic priest has refused communion to a lesbian, solely because she is a lesbian – at her mother’s funeral. He said to her directly that he did so because she is living with a woman, and that is a sin, according to the church.
The blogosphere has been abuzz with the news that Rev. Marcel Guarnizo, a priest at St. John Neumann parish in Gaithersburg, Maryland (Archdiocese of Washington), recently denied communion to a lesbian woman at her mother’s funeral.  HuffingtonPost.com has posted a summary of various blog posts on the incident, including Ann Werner’s post on AddictingInfo.org, which broke the story.   Werner offers the details:
“My friend Barbara [Johnson], the daughter of the deceased woman, was denied communion at her mother’s funeral. She was the first in line and Fr. Guarnizo covered the bowl containing the host and said to her,  ‘I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.’  To add insult to injury, Fr. Guarnizo left the altar when she delivered her eulogy to her mother. When the funeral was finished he informed the funeral director that he could not go to the gravesite to deliver the final blessing because he was sick.”
In claiming to be upholding the Catechism, Fr Guarnizo is displaying woeful ignorance ot it, on at least three counts. First, there is nothing at all in the Catechism against two women simply living together. There is only (alleged) sin if there are “genital acts”. He has not made any such claim to justify his action.
It would also be quite improper to assume that such acts occur, or even if they do, that they are subjectively sinful. We all have an obligation to follow conscience in these (and all other) matters. As the Catechism (1861) reminds us: “We must entrust judgement of persons the justice and mercy of God
Third, there is an equally important part of Catechism teaching, which has been flagrantly ignored:
 “Respect, Compassion, Sensitivity”. Fr Guarnizo has displayed none of these.

There is one tiny smidgeon of good news in here: the Archdiocese of Washington has issued a statement denouncing the incident:

“In a written statement, the Archdiocese of Washington conceded that Father Marcel had acted improperly, saying, ‘Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.’“Barbara Johnson says she’s satisfied with the statement, though she adds that the damage done, both to her family and to her mother’s memory, could never be repaired.”
This is to be welcomed, but it is not enough. The priest in question must be made to understand that his own actions are in clear contravention of the Catechism, and should publicly apologize. If acting contrary to the Catechism is necessarily sinful, then by his own standards he is himself in sin. The theory of confession states that not only must we repent and confess our sins – but also that for absolution, we must make reparation to those we have injured. The hurt in this case cannot be undone – the least that will suffice is a public apology.
New Ways Ministry suggests writing to Cardinal Wuerl:

These remedies are possible if Catholics contact Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the head of the Archdiocese of Washington. His contact information:

Cardinal Donald Wuerl                                                                                                                                                      Archdiocese of Washington                                                                                                                                                               P.O. Box 29260                                                                                                                                                                        Washington, DC 20017-0260  

chancery@adw.org

Tell Cardinal Wuerl that as a Catholic you oppose such blatant discrimination and pastoral incompetence.  Let him know that you consider the action offensive and insensitive.  Explain that you support free and equal access to communion of all Catholics, especially at such a pastorally critical moment as a funeral.  Let him know of your love and support of LGBT people.  Request that he instruct all his priests and pastoral ministers not to repeat such an action.  Call on him to provide pastoral training on LGBT issues for his priests and pastoral ministers. Ask him to call for an apology from Fr. Guarnizo, and to offer pastoral mediation between this priest, Ms. Johnson, and her family.  Speak from your heart and from your faith.
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Kentucky "Welcoming Church" Leaves Baptist Association

In recent years, progress towards full lgbt inclusion in church has been remarkable, with the appointment of openly gay and lesbian bishops, landmark national decisions by some denominations to remove barriers to ordination for LGBT pastors, and local decisions by individual congregations to conduct same – sex weddings or blessings for queer couples (or to withhold weddings for all couples, until they are able to offer them to all, without discrimination). The headline news reports have usually featured (mainline) Protestant denominations – and resistance by some dissenting congregations, transferring their allegiance to alternative umbrella bodies.

The movement towards welcoming and affirming congregations is present though in all denominations, and that includes the Evangelical churches.  In these, it is sometimes the refusal to accept inclusion, not its endorsement, that leads congregations to disaffiliate. This was the case in Central Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. Central Baptist’s commitment to inclusion is clear from its website, right on the homepage: see the logo, and the clear promise just beneath it : “All Are Welcome – No Exceptions”.

 

The Central pastor, Mark Johnson, had written a blog post that featured a poster based marketing campaign by an Indianapolis church. affiliated to the MCC,  that asked the pertinent question “Who Stole Jesus?“. This resulted in a complaint from the pastor of a sister – church to the Elkhorn Baptist Association. In response, the congregation opted to withdraw from the association

The congregation opted to leave the association rather than fight, but added a public statement to make clear that all Baptists do not agree on everything.

“We have been quiet for too long,” said church member Rachel Childress. “There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in our community who do not know there is a Baptist church like us.”

Central Baptist Church’s website lists mission partners including the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The church left the Southern Baptist Convention and Kentucky Baptist Convention a decade ago. Johnson said those decisions made the vote to leave the association “a natural and predictable course of direction.”

Johnson said Central Baptist Church wants to identify itself as “an open and inviting fellowship for God’s people.” A motto on the church website says: “All are welcomed here. No exceptions.”

The press release said Central Baptist harbors “no feelings of animosity toward or alienation from the people or programs” of Elkhorn Baptist Association, but believes “it is best to officially part ways.” The church will continue to work with Irishtown Baptist Mission in downtown Lexington, a ministry supported by the association that Central took the lead in establishing 50 years ago.

– Associated Baptist Press – Kentucky church leaves association.

In fact, this withdrawal neatly highlights the relevance of the “Who Stole Jesus?” question. The whole Gospel message affirms the primacy of love, mercy and compassion over strict adherence to rigid religious rules and bureaucratic control. By withdrawing from a body that seeks to impose religious conformity, they are simply refusing to allow them to “steal Jesus” away from them.

Catholic Chaplain: “In this Bethlehem, there’s always room for everyone in the inn.”

It may be rare to encounter a multicolored gay pride flag upon entering a church. But Brandeis’ Catholic chaplain, the Rev. Walter Cuenin, proudly displays the rainbow flag in the Bethlehem Chapel’s foyer. With the word “Peace” written across the middle, the flag symbolizes a proclamation of acceptance and unity for each person who may walk through the Bethlehem Chapel’s doors.

Cuenin bases his decision to exhibit a gay pride flag on a tale about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. According to Christian tradition, when Mary and Joseph arrived at a Bethlehem inn, Mary was forced to have her baby in an outside stable since there were no rooms left at the inn. Cuenin connects this story to Brandeis’ Bethlehem Chapel by using the multicolored flag to portray that “in this Bethlehem, there’s always room for everyone in the inn.”

Cuenin is currently an ally of Brandeis’ LGBT group, Triskelion. He claims that while the Catholic Church does not support gay marriage, it does welcome gay people to its churches. In fact, when he was a pastor for a larger church nearby, Cuenin had even performed a baptism for the baby of a gay couple.

“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage, so I cannot directly say I support it, but I have seen from my experience that for many people it creates a much healthier environment … For example, if you were to go to Provincetown in the summer time, where a lot of gay people go, it’s a radically different place today than it was 20 years ago,” Cuenin said. “They are there with children and married, raising kids, so they go home at night. In other words, it has transformed the whole gay scene … it hasn’t led to total debauchery. In some ways, it has pulled people back together,” Cuenin said.

via The Brandeis Hoot .

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Soho Masses – Supporting Church Teaching.

The Sunday after London Pride last year, our Soho Mass was briefly disturbed by an uninvited visitor, making an entirely unauthorized video recording of the proceedings. His recording of the bidding prayers has now surfaced on some conservative Catholic blogs.

In a Catholic Herald report, some of the bloggers and others opposed to the Masses have used these as supposed evidence that they exist primarily to challenge Church teaching. Fr Ray Blake, for instance, claims that

“What I find scandalous is that Mass is offered for a group of people who, as this video shows, obviously dissent from the teaching of the Church and gather primarily to challenge that teaching, rather than to worship.”

This conclusion is patently ridiculous, and not supported by the texts of the bidding prayers themselves. These in particular, appear to be what they most object to:

 …..that the various communities we represent, ethnicity, language, gender and sexual orientations, find means to celebrate this diversity, and strive for greater social justice for all people.

Are the opponents seriously suggesting that we should not be praying for social justice? Another prayer they objected to, was for

…lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgender organisations here and throughout the world, and especially those which gather to support people of faith, that they may reflect the rainbow covenant of justice and integrity which God establishes amongst us.

What is forbidden by Church teaching, is same-sex genital activity. There is nothing in the prayers that even remotely encourages this.

Watch, and decide for yourselves:

What these prayers do promote, is an obvious corollary to the other part of Catechism teaching – the importance of respect, compassion and sensitivity, which must lead to the acceptance of full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Church. So these bidding prayers are promoting, not contradicting, Church teaching – one of the parts that the objectors conveniently ignore. (The other part they ignore, is that none of us has the right to pass judgement on the state of another’s soul).

Fr Blake is also totally wrong that the “purpose” of the Mass is not worship. Five years ago, when I and a group of others were discussing with diocesan representatives the parameters for our move into a Catholic parish church, it was clearly understood, and agreed by us, that the Masses were to be pastoral in nature, and not campaigning. As part of the organising team ever since, I can confirm that we have stood by that agreement scrupulously. The sole purpose of the Mass is to provide an opportunity for LGBT Catholics, their families and friends, to meet together for a corporate act of worship, in a setting where they know they will receive a particular welcome – together with other Catholics, and in a parish setting. It is true that I and some of the other organisers do disagree, strongly and publicly, with Vatican doctrine on sexual ethics, but that is kept strictly separate from the conduct of the Masses. (In the same way, it is likely that in any student chaplaincy, there will be a strong proportion of young people who disagree strongly with church teaching on sex before marriage, or on masturbation, but that does not imply that Masses for students are organised to promote dissent. A similar argument applies to family Masses and contraception.)

In his response to the objections, the CH quotes our chairman, Joe Stanley, who said that he did not think Fr Finigan’s view of the Soho Masses was representative.

“Our experience of ordinary Catholics in the pew is very different from the comments in the blogosphere. The Masses keep getting represented as “gay Masses”,” he said, emphasising that they are public Masses that extend a particular welcome to gay people and their parents, families and friends. 

But the most important response is that of Archbishop Vincent Nichols of the diocese of Westminster, in which the parish falls. In a supportive statement, he reminds us that

As with every Catholic Mass, the bidding prayers celebrated at the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory ask for the intercession of God in the lives of people who may be in need.

Bidding prayers for every Mass must reflect the teaching of the Catholic Church and this applies to the Mass held every fortnight where a particular welcome is extended to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Catholics and their families. 

There is no sacrilege in bringing together a group of Catholics for worship. The only sacrilege here is in making an unauthorized recording of that worship for the sole purpose of sowing dissension. There is no dissent expressed in praying that all may be included and treated with respect in the Catholic Church. The only dissent, is in opposing a considered, deliberate pastoral plan by the Archdiocese to put Catholic teaching on respect, compassion and sensitivity into practice.

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