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Pope Francis Demotes Anti-gay Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke

Burke

Raymond Burke, the conservative American cardinal who in the past has said discrimination against LGBT people is "perfectly just and good," has been removed from his position as head of the Vatican's 'Supreme Court' by Pope Francis, Buzzfeed reports:

“I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it,” Burke said, explaining that he hadn’t yet received a formal notice of transfer. “On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust by accepting this assignment I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important.”

Burke, who has now been placed in the largely ceremonial role as head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also spoke out against the on-going "family synod" of Catholic bishops, saying the meeting seems to have been designed to "weaken the church's teaching and practice."

“The pope, more than anyone else as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth,” Burke said. “The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

Earlier today, we reported the Vatican had caved to conservative backlash to reports the church was planning on becoming "welcoming to homosexual persons" - revising the English-translation of the report to now say "providing for homosexual persons."

Head over to Buzzfeed HERE for the full account of the behind-the-scenes scuffle between conservatives and reformers within the Catholic hierarchy. 


Vatican Caves To Conservative Bishops, Backtracks On 'Welcoming' Gay People - VIDEO

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Following protests from conservative bishops, the Vatican has backtracked on reports earlier this week that it had planned to be “welcoming to homosexual persons,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Relatio post disceptationem report from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family faced a severe backlash from conservatives, some of whom accused the leadership of the conference of misrepresenting the proceedings to advance its agenda. The section on homosexuality was especially divisive because it was the first Vatican document that reflected Pope Francis’ earlier announcement that he would take a  nonjudgmental approach to homosexuality.

Homophobic American Cardinal Raymond Burke [pictured below] who chairs the Vatican’s highest court of canon law - and in 2010 said that discrimination against LGBT people is “perfectly just and good” - has been one of the most outspoken critics of the report. He said “the document lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium” and accused the bishops leading the meeting of advancing “positions which many Synod Fathers do not accept.”

BurkeFollowing the conservative backlash, Vatican leaders stressed that “welcoming homosexual persons” is not an official declaration of the synod. The less inclusive phrase “providing for homosexual persons” has now been substituted.

Notably, the revision is in English translation only - the published Italian, Spanish and French translations have not been changed and still use language meaning "welcoming homosexual persons."

Watch Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi discuss the new translation, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Vatican Caves To Conservative Bishops, Backtracks On 'Welcoming' Gay People - VIDEO" »


NYC Cardinal Dolan Says Pro-Gay Document from Vatican 'Needs Some Major Reworking': VIDEO

Dolan

NYC Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, spoke to CBS This Morning about the Vatican document released Monday that appeared to show a marked change in the Catholic Church's attitude toward gay people. The document caused such a stir that yesterday Catholic leaders backtracked, calling it a "working document," a sentiment echoed by Dolan in his interview Wednesday morning.

The document "needs some major reworking," Dolan said.

Added Dolan:

"All of this is almost like antipasto to help the holy father arrive at a fresh new way to teach the timeless teaching on marriage and family...I know there is remarkable unanimity and enthusiasm in backing the holy father’s attempt to present the teachings of the church in fresh, exciting and engaging new ways, but there might be some good, deep discussion on the way that is being expressed.”

Watch Dolan's interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Dolan, who claims to not be "anti-anybody", has equated same-sex marriage to incest, denied LGBT Catholics entry to mass, and insisted LGBT individuals are entitled to friendship, not marriage. In 2012 he vehemently opposed same-sex marriage legislation in New York state, calling it a "communist threat" and has since complained that he felt burned by lawmakers. In May Dolan issued a memo to LGBT Catholics urging them to "pray, fast, and sacrifice" over the Supreme Court's upcoming decisions on marriage.

Last December Dolan said the Church had been "out-marketed" in its fight against gay marriage and in March he said that Pope Francis is not for civil unions and that the thought made him uncomfortable.

Continue reading "NYC Cardinal Dolan Says Pro-Gay Document from Vatican 'Needs Some Major Reworking': VIDEO" »


Vatican Backtracks On Positive Comments About Gays Following Conservative Backlash

It appears there have been some aftershocks to yesterday's pastoral earthquake. Despite a groundbreaking report issued yesterday from the Vatican which declared unheard-of support for gay persons, saying gay people have unique “gifts and qualities” to offer their parishes, the Catholic Church is today backtracking on the report as a result of the ire expressed by more conservative members of the clergy. CNN reports: 

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d5bb66970c-250wiIn response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a "working document," not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create "the impression of a positive evaluation" of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.

But gay rights groups say that's precisely the impression the Vatican gave Monday when it said:

"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

Such statements seem to be in line with the more merciful approach the church has taken toward gays and lesbians under Pope Francis. In 2013, Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge" gay people?

On Monday morning, just before the Vatican released its positive report on gays, Francis preached that laws that do not lead people to Jesus are "dead," and that Christ did "strange things" such as hanging out with sinners and tax collectors.

Monday’s report also said of same-sex relationships, “it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners” and said bishops must grasp the "positive reality of civil weddings" where heterosexual co-habitation (i.e. “living in sin”) is concerned. 

Despite the backtrack, some gay rights advocates still herald Monday’s report and believe today’s retread isn’t a devastating a setback:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd263b67970b-250wi"I actually don't think this is as much of a backtrack as we usually see!" said Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the gay rights group Dignity USA.

"I think that response to this report was swift and intense, and I'm sure many bishops want to be sure people aren't reading more into it than is there," she continued. "However, it is undeniable that there has never been any Vatican document that made positive, respectful statements about same-sex relationships, so that is an undeniable breakthrough."

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, echoed that sentiment.

"Regardless of the fact that this is a working document, it is still significant in that it reveals a strong current of affirmative attitudes at high levels in the church towards lesbians and gay people," he said.


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" »


Queer Nation: Why is HRC Blasting Vatican While Pushing for ENDA with Terrible Religious Exemption?

Earlier this week we reported that the Human Rights Campaign had 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.

Pope_griffinThe activist group Queer Nation sent out a press release yesterday calling HRC out for hypocrisy on the issue of religious discrimination because it is pushing for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which contains a terrible religious exemption.

Here's the full release from Queer Nation:

At the same time it is criticizing Roman Catholic schools for their anti-LGBT discrimination, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is lobbying in Congress for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that has a religious exemption that would allow that discrimination under federal law.

"All discrimination is immoral and HRC is right to object to what these schools are doing," said Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation. "So why is HRC spending millions in Congress to promote ENDA when that legislation has a religious exemption that will let Roman Catholic schools and other religiously-affiliated institutions fire LGBT people and perhaps even pro-LGBT people?"

In a May 27 press release announcing it had delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of nine Roman Catholic school teachers who were fired from their jobs for being LGBT or pro-LGBT, HRC called such discrimination "draconian laws" that are "designed to force LGBT people back into the closet and silence straight allies."

HRC noted that the firings were part of "a frightening trend" at Roman Catholic schools across America of including teacher contract clauses that bar LGBT people and pro-LGBT activities by teachers at these schools. In April, HRC collected over 30,000 signatures in a petition asking the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to remove the clause from its teacher contract, the press release noted.

"HRC can't have it both ways," Kidd said. "It can't criticize Roman Catholic schools for discriminating against LGBT Americans and then seek to make that discrimination legal under federal law. ENDA is a lousy bill and it should be scrapped. What the LGBT community needs is comprehensive federal civil rights legislation."

Queer Nation has been campaigning for a comprehensive federal civil rights law that bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and federally-funded programs. The direct action group is using the hashtags #deadenda and #endaisnotequal.

ENDA's religious exemption is expansive and goes beyond the more limited exemption in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Five leading LGBT legal groups are not supporting the current version of ENDA, which only bans employment discrimination, because of its religious exemption. Lorri Jean, the head of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, recently said that the exemption must be removed.

Matt Foreman, the former head of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and Cathy Marino-Thomas, the former board chair of Marriage Equality USA, have opposed ENDA and called for comprehensive federal civil rights legislation.


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