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Growing Number of Openly-Queer, Celibate Catholics Finding Acceptance In Online Communities

VaticanA small but growing contingent of queer-identified--though celibate--Catholics are finding increasing acceptance thanks to online communities like spiritualfriendship.org. Founded by Ron Belgau and Wesley Hill in 2012, Spiritual Friendship contemplates the theologically complex situations that openly gay and lesbian Catholics find themselves in after making the decision to remain active members of the church.

“We embrace the traditional understanding that God created us male and female, and that His plan for sexual intimacy is only properly fulfilled in the union of husband and wife in marriage,” the blog’s mission statement reads. “However, this blog was born out of frustration with the prevailing narratives about homosexuality from those who embrace this traditionally Christian sexual ethic: an excessive focus on political issues, and the ubiquity of reparative therapy in one form or another.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Emily Tushnet, who writes for Spiritual Friendship, described her particular connection to sexual intimacy as it relates to her lesbianism, which she doesn’t deny.

“I use the image of a kaleidoscope — the jewels inside are desires,” she said. “If you turn it one way, it’s lesbianism. If you rearrange them, it can be community service or devotion to Mary.”

Conservative but open-minded Catholic leaders like Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, are increasingly expressing their support for people like Tushnet, who have found something of a gray-area in which to exist. In abstaining from physical intimacy, members of the movement are finding ways to maintain their decidedly gay social identities while living as self-affirming Christians.

“Even if someone is struggling with same-sex attraction, I’d be concerned about reducing them to the word ‘gay,’ ” Mohler said of the seemingly paradoxical identities.


Ottawa School Backtracks On Decision To Ban Student Project On Gay Rights

Quinn Maloney-Tavares and Polly Hamilton

A Catholic school in Ottawa has backtracked on a decision to not allow two grade 6 students to present a social justice project on gay rights following complaints from parents, reports CBC News.

In a statement explaining the ban in November, the Ottawa Catholic School Board (CSB) said:

“Our Family Life curriculum (Fully Alive) covers all topics around personhood, relationships and sexuality and is developed and taught in an age-appropriate manner. The Board ensures that a pastoral approach is used during the learning process. Parents are notified before sexuality topics are taught in class.

“The principal's decision was made in this context and with the understanding that the project was going to be presented to younger students.​

“Our Board's focus on equity and family life programs ensures students are taught within the context of our faith, with a focus on the dignity of personhood.”

St geoge school ottawaFollowing the ban, students Quinn Maloney-Tavares and Polly Hamilton met with Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision, an activist organization that seeks to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in schools and youth communities.

The decision to now allow the project to go ahead comes following a meeting between the girls, their parents and the principal of St. George School near Tunney’s Pasture.

Following the decision, the CSB said:

"The girls will be doing a project on how the topic of gay rights is addressed by a Catholic high school’s equity club. The girls will be welcome to present their project at the social justice fair."

Quinn’s mother Ann Maloney said:

"One person can make change because they came up against a roadblock and took some action and they were able to change the way people think. I think that's a pretty powerful feeling for them to have at such a young age."

Maloney added that although she has received positive messages from parents, some messages have been “very unpleasant.”


Irish Catholic Church Severs Ties With Adoption Agency Following New Inclusive Policies

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The Irish Catholic Church is severing its ties with the Family Care Society of Northern Ireland, an adoption agency that the Church itself played a major role in founding. The Church’s decision comes after recent legislation allowing same-sex and unmarried couples to apply to become adoptive parents. Laws prohibiting gay parents from adopting were repealed in 2012 and subsequently challenged by Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland’s previous health minister. Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeals dismissed Poots’s appeal after finding that his case was without legal merit.

“It is unreasonable for legislators to oblige faith-based organizations to act against their fundamental and reasonable religious beliefs in the provision of services that contribute to the common good,” the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland said in a statement late last week. “Since the provision of adoption services in Northern Ireland now also involves acting against the Church's teaching and ethos, we too have no option but to end the long established relationship between the Church and The Family Care Society NI.”

More concerned with the well-being of Ireland’s population of family-less children, Family Care has assured the public that it will welcome any and all applications from couples interested in adopting in accordance with the law.

“We look forward to continuing a dialogue with the Northern Bishops over the coming months about the decision they have found it necessary to take,” Family Care responded in a swiftly issued statement. “[S]upport from the Bishops has greatly assisted FCS in the past, particularly in providing services to adults who were adopted, fostered or raised in a Catholic children's home. Providing vital adoption and support services needed by children and families has always been our focus and will remain so.”


Pope Francis: Just To Be Clear, Gay Marriage Isn't On the Table - VIDEO

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Seemingly backtracking on promises made for a more inclusive Catholic Church, Pope Francis has indicated that same-sex marriage is not on the agenda, reports the Independent.

Seen by some as a reformer, Francis earlier this year suggested the church might support civil unions for same-sex couples. Last month, he demoted anti-gay U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke.

At a meeting of bishops in October, it was declared that gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer.” However, following a backlash from conservatives, the church announced that the statement was part of a “working document” that did not reflect a change in the official Catholic stance on homosexuality.

In an interview published yesterday in La Nacion, Francis said that although the church must help parents to stand by their gay children, official Catholic acceptance of same-sex marriage is not being considered.

Vatican“What [the synod] did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation.

“That is to say, the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires.

“We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.”

However, he added that “nobody mentioned homosexual marriage” at the synod because “it did not cross our minds”.

Last week, the Irish Catholic Bishops's Conference released a 16-page manifesto outlining the chruch's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Watch a report on the opening of the October synod, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Francis: Just To Be Clear, Gay Marriage Isn't On the Table - VIDEO" »


Gay Music Director Files Discrimination Complaint Against Illinois Catholic Church - VIDEO

Colin Collette

Colin Collette, a music director who served at the Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, Illinois for 17 years, has filed a federal discrimination complaint after he was fired by pastor Terry Keehan in July for posting photos on Facebook of his proposal to his partner Will Nifong, reports the Chicago Tribune.

At the time, Keehan told Collette that his relationship violated the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73df9750e970d-800wiIn August, hundreds of people attended a meeting at which most people voiced support for Collette and a church cantor announced his resignation because of his dismissal.

Collette filed the complaint against Keehan and the parish's manager on Thursday alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status.

At a press conference, Collette said:

"It is with deep regret that I have had to pursue this course of action. I have chosen to enter into a marriage, as is my right under Illinois law, and perhaps I can open the door to other men and women who the church has chosen to exclude from the community."

In a written statement, Susan Burritt, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said:

"The Archdiocese of Chicago has not seen the complaints that Mr. Collette has filed with the civil authorities and so we are unable to comment on them. We will respond to the complaints in the forums in which they are filed at the appropriate time."

A successful claim of discrimination will likely turn on the "ministerial exception" to anti-discrimination law. In 2012, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that religious institutions have broad latitude in hiring and firing people whose jobs include religious roles.

Collette's lawyer, Kerry Lavelle said her client has reached out to Chicago's new archbishop Blase Cupich but has received no response:

"The archbishop will not take his calls. [Collette] wants his job back. That's what this is about."

Same-sex marriage became legal in Illinois on June 1.

Check out a Chicago NBC 5 report on Collette's September meeting with Cardinal Francis George, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Gay Music Director Files Discrimination Complaint Against Illinois Catholic Church - VIDEO" »


Catholic League's Bill Donohue: Anti-Gay Christians Are Kinda-Sorta Being Persecuted Like ISIS Victims - VIDEO

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Possibly sensing they are a dying breed gasping their last breath of hate, anti-gay religious right wingnuts are increasingly comparing their embattled selves to victims of ISIS.

Latest to the game is Bill Donohue of the Catholic League who earlier this week unveiled a Christmas billboard in Los Angeles that draws a comparison between the experiences of American “Christians” - the ones who spend their lives spreading anti-Christian messages - and Christians facing persecution in ISIS-controlled territories.

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Full of Christmas spirit, Donohue also makes it clear that gay people who refuse to take abuse from the religious right in silence are in fact the intolerant ones.

According to Right Wing Watch, in a statement, Donohue said that the billboard is aimed at Hollywood:

“No, the Hollywood moguls who disrespect Christians are not the same as radical Muslims who behead us, but both are full of hate. Moreover, both need to be challenged. Christians are fed up with the barbarians abroad and the bigots at home. It’s time all these bullies learned to practice the virtue of tolerance and the meaning of diversity.”

Happy Christmas to you too, Bill.

Donahue has also excused himself from next year's New York St. Patrick's Day Parade following the decision to allow one corporate LGBT group to participate.

Watch the perennial moaner whine about St. Patrick's Day, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Catholic League's Bill Donohue: Anti-Gay Christians Are Kinda-Sorta Being Persecuted Like ISIS Victims - VIDEO" »


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