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Big Question: Is The Catholic Church Undergoing An Evolution On Same-Sex Marriage?

Popefrancis1Christopher J. Hale, a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, is asking a big question following a year of semi-relaxed treatment of homosexuality by the Church: is the Catholic Church really evolving on the issue of same-sex marriage? Are we on the precipice of a larger revolution? Evolution, yes, revolution, no, according to Hale, who believes that sensitive leadership from Pope Francis may bring Catholic leaders into a warmer, more tolerant phase but doubts we will see said leaders approving of gay marriage anytime soon.

Time reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01901e14e593970b-800wiLast week New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave his okay to the St. Patrick Day Parade Committee’s decision to allow a gay group to march in the 2015 parade under their own banner. This was a remarkable shift from one of Dolan’s predecessors Cardinal John O’Connor who in 1993 declared that to allow a gay group to march in the parade would be a slander to the Apostle’s Creed.

This closes a remarkable summer in which a number of high-ranking Catholic prelates have signaled that Pope Francis’s more open posture on gay issues has permeated through the Catholic world. In May, a top-ranking Italian bishop said that the Church should be more open to arguments in support of same-sex marriage. And just a few weeks ago, one of Pope Francis’s closest friends Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes said in an interview that he “didn’t know” whether Jesus would oppose gay marriage.

High-ranking Catholics from around the world will congregate at the Synod of the Family this October, and Hale believes that therein lies a chance to communicate the need for acceptance rather than cold dismissal of homosexuals. After a 1975 declaration that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered," a somewhat liberal backlash forced some Catholic leaders to reconsider the harsh rhetoric of the church.

In 1997, the American bishops grew concerned that the language from Rome had grown too cold and in response published the pastoral letter Always Our Children.

In it, they write: “God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual. God’s love is always and everywhere offered to those who are open to receiving it.” It says Church ministers must “welcome homosexual persons into the faith community, and seek out those on the margins. Avoid stereotyping and condemning. Strive first to listen.”

Hale believes that Pope Francis will bring this ideal to the Synod of the Family and continue a quite public, very evident evolution of homosexual ideology within the church.

His is only one opinion, though not without reason. And many will still argue that a slow "evolution" is not enough. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


The Fight For Marriage Equality In Italy: VIDEO

Pope francis receptive to civil partnerships

The close proximity of Vatican City to the Italian parliament may help to explain why Italy is the only country in Western Europe that provides no legal recognition of same-sex couples, reports Buzzfeed.

However, that situation may be about to change.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis suggested that a time might come when the church would drop its opposition to some form of civil partnership.

In the interview with Corriere della Sera, the pope said that although “marriage is between a man and a woman...we have to look at the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” 6a00d8341c730253ef019aff7cea6f970b-300wi

Speaking to Buzzfeed last week, Monsignor Marcel Sánchez Sorondo said while the Catholic Church is against marriage equality, legislation that differentiates between marriage and civil partnerships might be acceptable.

According to a 2013 Pew survey, 74% of Italians said they believed “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society.” A 2013 Ipsos poll found that 48% of Italians supported full same-sex marriage rights while 31% opposed marriage rights but supported an alternative form of partnership recognition.

Naples recently became the first large city in Italy to start recognizing overseas same-sex marriages after a lower court ordered officials in Grosseto to record an overseas marriage, reports Buzzfeed. However, some LGBT activists worry that the ruling may be no more than symbolic because a Supreme Court order issued last month ordered the annulment of a same-sex marriage. The Constitutional Court later ruled the forced annulment violated the rights of the couple in question. The court also ruled that the marriage remains invalid until the Italian government passes a law recognizing same-sex unions.

However, according to Dina Nerozzi, a psychologist and lay adviser to the Pontifical Council for the Family, marriage equality cannot happen:

“People will fight for that. I mean fight — [we] will take weapons out.”

Watch a report on Corriere della Sera's interview with Pope Francis, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Fight For Marriage Equality In Italy: VIDEO" »


Vatican Says Catholic Church Must Become More Inclusive Towards Gays and Their Families

A newly released Vatican document calls on the Catholic Church to be less judgmental towards gays and encourages dioceses to welcome children of gay couples into the faith with equal dignity - further signaling the Church’s shifting tone on LGBT issues.

VaticanThe 75-page document, based on responses to a questionnaire sent to dioceses around the world, will be discussed at a Vatican meeting of the bishops this October.

Reuters reports:

While the new document did not signal any immediate change in the Church's condemnation of homosexual acts and its opposition to gay marriage and to the adoption of children by gay people, it used language that was remarkably less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements.

It said that while bishops remained opposed to governments "redefining" marriage by permitting same-sex unions, the Church had to find a balance between its teachings on the traditional family "and a respectful, non-judgmental attitude towards people living in such unions."

Pope FrancisWhile ex-Pope Benedict called homosexuality “intrinsically disordered,” and an obstacle to world peace, Pope Francis has led the effort to "rebrand" the Church in a more LGBT-inclusive direction, saying last July "If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?"  

Reuters continues:

The document noted that a number of Catholics who responded to the questionnaire felt "a certain unease at the challenge of accepting these people with a merciful spirit and, at the same time, holding to the moral teaching of the Church ..."

"However, when people living in such unions request a child's baptism, almost all the responses emphasize that the child must be received with the same care, tenderness and concern which is given to other children," it said.


Wednesday Speed Read: Houston, Maine and NOM, Wisconsin, Pope Francis, World LGBT Rights

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

ParkerHOUSTON COUNCIL VOTES TODAY:

The Houston City Council is scheduled to vote today on an ordinance proposed by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination based on a number of categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

MAINE LIKELY TO PENALIZE NOM:

A Maine election ethics commission will vote today on whether to fine the National Organization for Marriage for failing to register as a ballot question committee in a 2009 anti-gay referendum. The staff of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices issued a 37-page report April 9, recommending the commission fine NOM more than $50,000 for its failure to register as a committee and file campaign finance reports that disclosed its donors. The report notes that NOM spent $3 million in Maine in 2009 to encourage voter passage of a repeal a law allowing same-sex couples to marry, most of it funneled into a group called Stand for Marriage Maine. “NOM intentionally set up its fundraising strategy to avoid donor disclosure,” states the staff letter. In a May 6 letter responding to the recommendation, a legal group called “Act Right” asserts that NOM “made no expenditures”’ under Maine law.

WalkerWISCONSIN BRACING FOR THE FALL:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, through his attorney general, filed a motion Friday asking U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to stay her decision in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban if that decision finds the ban unconstitutional. Crabb (a Carter appointee) last month denied Walker’s request to dismiss an ACLU-led lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reported Friday that Walker has begun to express his own doubts about the ban’s constitutionality. “I'm not going to pretend to tell a federal judge in that regard what he or she should do about it," Walker told the paper. "...I don't know what (allowing gay marriage) means. Voters don't talk to me about that.” But the Sentinel noted that Republican Attorney General  J.B. Van Hollen has made clear he intends to appeal a losing ruling to the Seventh Circuit.

FrancisHRC ASKS POPE TO MEET WITH TEACHERS:

The Human Rights Campaign announced Tuesday that it has sent a letter to Pope Francis on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools either because they are gay or because they support a gay family member. The letter states that the teachers hope the pope’s "messages of acceptance” and “pastoral leadership” will enable him to “correct these hurtful injustices.” The letter was prompted in part by new policies being adopted by some dioceses, including Cincinnati, that call for firing any employee who even speaks in favor of the “homosexual lifestyle.” “We ask for a Papal audience with our families,” states the letter, “so that you may hear our personal stories firsthand and see the impact the Church's actions have had on us all."

RollercoasterGLOBAL ‘ROLLER COASTER’:

The Human Rights Campaign on May 15 released its inaugural issue of a report monitoring LGBT equal rights globally, and it characterized 2013 as a “proverbial roller coaster.” Six nations began allowing same-sex couples to marry, but Russia passed its harsh laws against “promoting” anything gay. Activism emerged in such countries as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Iran, and yet Uganda and Nigeria cracked down with new laws criminalizing same-sex relations and imposing draconian penalties. Equality Rising notes: “Change is happening at a rapid rate. As some LGBT people are nearing legal equality, we must work together to ensure that others are not left behind.”

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Teachers Fired from Catholic Schools for Being Gay Request Meeting with the Pope

The Human Rights Campaign has sent a letter to the Vatican requesting an audience with the Pope on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools for being LGBT or supporting an LGBT person.

FrancisSays the letter, in part:

We write to you today with humility to request a Papal audience. With loving eloquence you have explained that the role of the Church is to restore what is broken and unite what has been divided. In this spirit of wholeness and reconciliation, we hope you will agree to meet with us and our families to hear our stories.

“We have devoted years, some of us even decades, to serving our communities as teachers, leaders and role models. We have made a conscious choice to work within the Catholic Church because we strongly believe that a Catholic education prepares our young people to be responsible citizens, men and women for others. For each and every one of us, our employment was far more than just a job – it was a reflection of our core Catholic values.”

...All of us were fired for whom we love – whether it be for committing ourselves to one person, and one person only, for the rest of our lives, or for embracing and supporting our own children unconditionally. Love is one of the greatest gifts God bestows upon us, and we can think of nothing more sacred than loving another human being through challenges, sicknesses and times of distress. The Church celebrates this type of sacred commitment. But for some reason, it rejects that same commitment when it’s between loving LGBT people. For some reason, it rejects that love when a mother embraces her LGBT child.

Read the full letter here.


Pope Compares Sex Abuse by Priests to a 'Satanic Mass', Says There Will be Zero Tolerance: VIDEO

Pope

Pope Francis told reporters on a plane trip back from the Middle East on Monday that he would meet with sex abuse victims at the Vatican next month and liked sex abuse by priests to a "satanic Mass," Reuters reports:

Asked about whether he would move against bishops who were accused of sexual abuse, he said "there will be no daddy's boys" and no privileges, adding that three bishops were currently under investigation.

"Sexual abuse is such an ugly crime ... because a priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. It is like a satanic Mass," he said in some of the toughest language he has used on a crisis which has rocked the Church for more than a decade.

"We must go ahead with zero tolerance" he said.

Watch Francis make the remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Compares Sex Abuse by Priests to a 'Satanic Mass', Says There Will be Zero Tolerance: VIDEO" »


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