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Catholic Church To Married Gay Couple: You Must Divorce In Order To Receive Communion Again

A Catholic church in Montana has told two gay men that they can no longer receive communion simply because of their gay marriage and, in order to do so again, they must file for divorce.  

The two men, Paul Huff, 66, and Tom Wojtowick, 73, have been together for over 30 years and were married in Seattle in 2013. They've attended Saint Leo The Great Catholic Church in the town of Lewistown since 2003 and have also been members of the church's choir. The've also now been denied participation in that church group.

The Great Falls Tribune reports on the events leading up to the ban:

Lewiston

According to Huff, four days after the Rev. Samuel Spiering was installed as the new administrator of St. Leo's, the priest left a phone message at their home asking that either Huff or Wojtowick return his call. "He said, 'I heard a rumor that you two got married,'" Huff recalled.

When Huff confirmed that he and Wojtowick had indeed been joined in a civil ceremony 15 months earlier, Spiering asked for both men to meet him at his office the next day. It was at that point that Spiering informed both men that because of their marriage, they could no longer receive the sacraments in the church or be part of any ministry.

Huff and Wojtowick were also told that to regain full privileges within St. Leo's, they must first obtain a divorce, cease living together and write a statement renouncing their prior marriage.

Speaking to to the Billings Gazette, Bishop Michael William Warfel of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings attempted to justify the church's decision.

Bishop_copyThis is not animus against someone who happens to be a homosexual; this issue is the same-sex marriage,” he said. “A lot of people put those two together, and obviously there’s a connection, but it’s not the same thing.”

Warfel called same-sex marriage “the issue of our era,” acknowledging that in the U.S., polls show that support for it has edged higher than those who oppose it. But the fact remains that stands in conflict with Catholic teachings.

“As a Catholic bishop I have a responsibility to uphold our teaching of marriage between one man and one woman,” Warfel said. “And I think there’s very solid scriptural teaching on it and our sacred tradition is very strong on it.”

Huff and Wojtowick have received support from many of the church's congregation. Forty members have reportedly either voiced their disapproval of the church's offensive decision or have quit attending mass there altogether. One parishioner has suggested the title of a song sung at the church be changed from "All are Welcome" to "Some are Welcome." How apt.

Warfel met with parishioners yesterday to talk about the situation and says that he now needs time to take in their comments.


Pope Francis To Exile Anti-Gay Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke - VIDEO

Cardinal Raymond Burke

Pope Francis may be about to remove homophobe Cardinal Raymond Burke from his position as head of the Vatican’s “Supreme Court,” relegating him to a largely ceremonial role as head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, reports conservative news outlet Breitbart.

Burke has been very forthcoming on his feelings regarding the rights and wrongs of discrimination.  In 2010, he announced that while racism is unacceptable, discrimination against LGBT people is “perfectly just and good.”

Waxing lyrical on his pro-discrimination stance, Burke went on to explain to gay people what they have been doing wrong for all these years:

“Sexual acts between persons of the same sex are intrinsically evil, are against nature itself...its simply announcing the truth, helping people to discriminate right from wrong in terms of their own activities.”

In the past, Burke announced that former presidential candidate John Kerry would not be allowed to receive communion for his pro-abortion stance and excommunicated two women who claimed to have been ordained by a third woman claiming to be a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.

The new role would see Burke removed from the Roman Curia, the body of Vatican-based Cardinals who are close advisers to the Pope.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis suggested that the Catholic Church might consider supporting same-sex civil unions

Watch Burke explain why it's ok to discriminate against gay people, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Francis To Exile Anti-Gay Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke - VIDEO" »


Monsignor Charles Pope Explains Why Everything Gay Is Just Wrong - VIDEO

CHARLES POPE

Writing for the Archdiocese of Washington, Monsignor Charles Pope has finally and categorically explained exactly what is wrong with gay people.

Earlier this month, Pope called for an end to the New York St. Patrick's Day parade because it has now been hijacked by "those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love." 

According to Pope, “an increasingly nationwide effort to make homosexual acts something to celebrate has gained great ground and sowed serious confusion even among those who describe themselves as Christian and Catholic.”

Bible-vs-homosexualityProviding his learned instruction on “what Scripture plainly teaches and why the Church cannot affirm” homosexuality, Pope explains:

“Sexual acts are, by their very nature, ordered to procreation and to the bonding of the mother and father who will raise the children conceived by their sexual intimacy. These ends or purposes have been intrinsically joined by God, and we are not to separate what what God has joined.”

“The man is for the woman, and the woman is for the man. The man is not for the man, nor the woman for the woman. This is plainly set forth in the design of our bodies.”

“What some call intolerance or 'hatred' is, for us who believe, rather, a principled stance wherein we see ourselves as unable to overrule the clear and unambiguous teaching of Holy Scripture”

Don’t worry though, Pope still respects you:

“We do not detest those of same sex-attraction, but we as a Church owe them the same truth we have always proclaimed as coming from God, and out of respect we must hold them to the same standards of chastity by which all must live.”

SignDespite the obvious love for the sinner, you can forget about marriage - it’s just not for you:

“Sadly those of unalterable same-sex attraction have no recourse to marriage. But all of us bear burdens of one sort or another, and not everyone is able to partake in everything life offers. For the sake of holiness, heroic witness is necessary, and many of those with same-sex attraction do live celibately and give admirable witness to the power of grace.”

If you’re still confused, Pope goes on to provide “some selections from Sacred Scripture that clearly teach against homosexual acts,” including the much cited destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

And for anyone ridiculous enough to suggest that Jesus never once mentions homosexuality in the bible, Pope reminds us that just because it’s not mentioned doesn’t mean everyone didn’t know it was just wrong: “It was not a disputed matter among the Jews to whom he preached.”

The response on Twitter has been mainly positive although Brian326, who was less than happy with Pope's position, suggested that the cleric should mind his own business.

 Once you’ve been convinced of your sin, Pope also provides a link to Catholic “ex-gay” / abstinence group Courage and even provides some testimonial videos which you can watch - if you can stomach it - AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Monsignor Charles Pope Explains Why Everything Gay Is Just Wrong - VIDEO" »


Bologna, Italy Begins Formal Recognition Of Foreign Same-Sex Marriages, Catholic Church Calls It 'Surprise Attack'

Giovanni_silvagniThe city of Bologna, Italy instated a formal recognition policy on Monday for all out-of-country same-sex marriages, and the Catholic church is not pleased. The diocese for the city described the move as a "surprise attack" and the church is urging city politicians to rethink the decision.

Gazzetta del Sud reports:

After a decree came into effect Monday, allowing gay couples to have their marriages abroad added to Bologna's civil register, Monsignor Giovanni Silvagni denounced the move. "These are sensitive subjects that are dealt with slogan attacks and and an approach a bit ideological", said Silvagni. He said that "haste and approximation are always bad ideas....imposing thoughts that are slightly weak and young, not sufficiently matured or tested..."

In contrast, Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said he would follow Bologna's lead and start the process in Italy's capital city "for the recognition of marriages contracted abroad, both heterosexual and homosexual couples."

Two couples had already filed applications for recognition on Monday, but prefect Ennio Mario Sodano has asked Bologna's mayor to withdraw said marriages from recognition.


Cameroon's Anti-gay Laws Often Invoked Based On Stereotypes and Trickery Rather Than 'Sexual Relations'

Michel-TogueAnti-gay legislation in Cameroon is meant to punish "sexual relations with a person of the same sex" and can result in prison sentences up to five years in length. One attorney, Michel Togue (right), is speaking out against the injustice not only of the law itself, but also the shoddy, treacherous ways in which it is reinforced. According to Togue, article 347 of the Cameroon penal code is more often than not invoked based on stereotyping and entrapment.

Think Progress reports:

Togue told ThinkProgress that of the dozens of such cases he has represented, very few people were actually caught in the act of actually having sex. Once an accusation of homosexuality is made, police make arrests based solely on how individuals present themselves. For example, if a man is found to be cross-dressing, that could be used as proof that he is gay in court. If somebody has a job that doesn’t fit their gender, like a male hairdresser, that too could be used against them. A judge convicted one of Togue’s clients for feminine mannerisms and for drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream, which he felt only a woman would drink...

Cameroon2One of the most high-profile cases was that of Jean-Claude Roger Mbede (left), who texted a picture of himself holding a sign that read, “I’m very much in love w/u” to another man. The recipient reported the image to the police as “sexual harassment,” then invited Mbede over to his home, where the police were waiting to arrest him. Mbede was sentenced to three years in prison. “If Roger was sentenced as a homosexual,” Togue asked, “with whom did he have sex?” Mbede was provisionally released on medical grounds in 2012 and went into hiding; he died earlier this year after he could no longer afford hospital treatment for a hernia.

While the widespread misuse of the penal code is disturbing, the reinforcement of anti-gay laws by the Catholic church is spreading a message of hate further than it would otherwise reach. in 2013, bishops from around the country issued a statement reading: "homosexuality opposes humanity and destroys it." The cultural ramifications of such fear-mongering are incredibly dangerous.

This stigma is also having a negative impact on health care in the country, particularly when it comes to HIV outreach. “They can’t go to the hospital for the treatment or even for a test because they’re afraid,” Togue explained. He knows of at least one case where an individual admitted to a nurse that he’d had same-sex relations and she called the police on him.

CameroonTogue remains hopeful, however, and believes that the work of LGBT organizations in Cameroon could positively impact the cultural milieu surrounding homosexual identity.

Togue hopes that local organizations in Cameroon will help people learn that “a homosexual is our friend, is our brother, is our sister, is part of our family — is not a stranger, not someone coming from outside.”

Image of Togue via Global Rights.


Catholic Choir Director Fired For Same-Sex Engagement Meets With Cardinal, Receives Support Rally

Collette

Colin Collette (above center in white jacket) was fired from his position as music director at Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, IL this July after photos of his same-sex marriage proposal emerged. Ever since he has received an intense outpouring of support from the church's parishioners, though the archdiocese of Chicago have remained tight-lipped. When Collette reached out to Cardinal Francis George for a meeting regarding the incident, however, the response was immediate and affirmative; the two met on Tuesday, praying together and, if all went to Collette's plan, discussing his job. 

Collette1The Chicago Tribune reports:

“I was incredibly grateful to the cardinal for meeting with me. This is an incredibly difficult time for him. ... I was moved beyond words that he would meet with me,” Collette said of George, who is battling cancer. “We prayed together. He was wonderful. He was very pastoral.”

Collette declined to elaborate on the nature of the discussion Tuesday. He said he had sought the meeting in hopes of getting his job back. While there was no indication that would happen, Collette said the cardinal urged him to speak to his pastor.

“My head is sort of spinning, but as I said over and over, my whole life has been the church. It's my love. It's my passion, and I pray for the opportunity to do that,” he said.

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

Though Collette has been the recipient of a great deal of community support--including a rally held Sunday to indicate that support to church leaders--he is well aware that his sexual orientation and relationship are not to everyone's liking.

“I'm not that naive to know that there are some people who believe that who I am basically is wrong. I'm not that naive, but the love and support I have received is truly humbling and is beyond words,” Collette said.

We will continue to report on Collette's story, but for now we are happy to see the level of affirmation he is receiving from church members, and a willingness on the part of some church officials to discuss the matter. Collette said that he and the Cardinal would meet again soon.

Check out video coverage of the press conference at the Chicago Tribune.

Continue reading "Catholic Choir Director Fired For Same-Sex Engagement Meets With Cardinal, Receives Support Rally" »


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