Gay rights groups laud new Catholic tone

Gay rights groups laud new Catholic tone

Gay rights groups are cautiously cheering a shift in tone from the Catholic Church toward homosexuals, encouraged that Pope Francis’ famous “Who am I to judge?” position has filtered down to bishops debating family issues at a Vatican meeting this week.

There is no discussion that church doctrine on homosexuality will change or that the Vatican will soon endorse gay marriage or even gay unions. It will not, as the Vatican’s top canon lawyer made clear Thursday.

But for the first time, a Vatican meeting is discussing gay and lesbian issues and how to provide better spiritual care to Catholic homosexuals. Day after day, bishops have spoken of the need to change the church’s language about gays from words of moral condemnation and judgment to words of welcome and respect.

“I think what we’re seeing is a crack in the ice that we have been waiting for, for a very long time,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group. “It’s a sign of a first step.”

Church teaching holds that gay acts are “intrinsically disordered,” sinful and a “serious depravity,” and that homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered.” At the same time, it says homosexuals themselves must be treated with respect and compassion and not suffer discrimination.

“I know scores of people who have left the Catholic Church because of those words,” DeBernardo said.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI penned some of the Vatican’s key documents on gays when he headed the Vatican’s orthodoxy office; a 1986 letter of his to bishops on providing pastoral care to gays insisted that any church program must clearly state “that homosexual activity is immoral.” His 2003 document opposing recognition of same-sex unions made clear that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

The Vatican’s top canon lawyer, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, said Thursday that the Catholic Church would “never” accept gay marriage or even bless a gay union. “Look, you can talk about everything, you can say everything, but you also have to be honest and say that for us – and not just the Catholic Church but for human culture in general – marriage is between a man and woman,” he told reporters.

“It’s something else to say that everyone makes his or her choice, that we don’t judge and that they might be great people even with this condition, but it’s different to say that the union itself is blessed or a good thing.”

Despite that unbending position, there’s no doubting that a shift in tone has occurred.

Earlier this year, the head of the Nigerian bishops’ conference, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, wrote to the Nigerian president praising his “courageous and wise decision” to sign the country’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which criminalized homosexuality.

Kaigama told reporters this week that Nigeria’s Catholic Church had supported the legislation merely as a defense of traditional marriage between man and woman.

While the Nigerian church didn’t speak out against the criminalization of homosexuality, he insisted: “We were not supporting criminalizing of different sexual orientation. … We would defend any person with homosexual orientation who has been harassed, who has been imprisoned or punished.”

Michael Brinkschroeder, co-president of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, which represents 42 organizations in 22 countries, welcomed Kaigama’s clarification. “That is good news for people in Nigeria,” he said.

Brinkschroeder said it was clear that the synod won’t change doctrine, but that the “Francis effect” appeared to be trickling down to local bishops. Many had “lost their fear” and are freer now to engage in dialogue with gays in a way they couldn’t under the last two popes, he said.

“With Benedict vanished from the scene, Francis has given signals for bishops to start pastoral work and dialogue,” he said.

Francis famously said “Who am I to judge?” when asked in 2013 about rumors that a top priestly adviser had a gay lover.

DeBernardo, of New Ways Ministry, said the next step is for gays to be at the table offering their testimony to bishops. No openly gay Catholics have addressed the closed-door synod, but two Catholic heterosexual couples have spoken about experiences of devout Catholics welcoming gays or trying to provide pastoral care for them. DeBernardo said he was “euphoric” that some bishops had said language such as “intrinsically disordered” was wholly ineffective in bringing people closer to the church.

“I think the change in language starts a chain reaction: A change in language will bring a change in pastoral practice which will bring about a change in teaching,” he said.

Not so fast, say conservative Catholics.

Hard-line Cardinal Raymond Burke, who heads the Vatican’s high court, insisted that gay sex was and will remain “intrinsically disordered” and that the church has to protect children from thinking otherwise. He was responding to testimony from an Australian Catholic couple who told the synod about friends who welcomed their gay son and his partner to a Christmas party which their grandchildren would attend.

“That particular form of relationship should not be imposed upon family members, and especially upon impressionable children,” Burke told the conservative LifeSiteNews. “And I urge parents or grandparents — whoever it may be — to be very, very prudent in this matter and not to scandalize their children or grandchildren.”

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  1. maxonex
    October 12, 07:39 Reply

    Well, I don’t care…we’re not some broken people who need to be catered for…
    You know the concept of understanding people’s perspective all depends on the person in question.. The truth is, anyone can understand only if they want to… But the truth is that most people don’t. So they go like-“I just can’t understand “, They just listen to judge.. Not understand.. So they should all go to hell for all I care.
    I hate bigots. Especially religious ones.

    If the biblical rapture happens today, they’ll just be as damned as every sinner on earth…
    I’ve gone thru hell in my life just because some fools decided that being born in some way is bad …. And have somehow managed to decieve entire continents… For centuries… This is crazy….
    I’ll never let the words or actions of the “ignorant” deter me from having the happiness I deserve… Since they don’t understand, I don’t care to explain no more…I’ve done that in the past…
    I don’t need church to live a happy life and go to heaven… You should go where you’re fully accepted… And not some half baked shit… Like you’re seeking for attention and acceptance…mtchew…

    • maxonex
      October 12, 07:48 Reply

      Lemme just add, I love Pope Francis BTW….he has done more in a yr than most have done in their entire tenure…

    • Samaurai
      October 12, 07:57 Reply

      Max dear, calm down. I understand how this situation irks you. But still, public opinion has an influence on our private lives, no matter how how negligible that influence might be. So the Church’s shifting positions will go a long way in pushing public opinion in our favour.

      Do not blame them for not understanding us. But they’re making a step towards gaining that understanding. It all starts with welcoming us with open arms. Then from there, it shifts to trying to understand why we’re wired the way we are. And from there other good things will come.
      The movement has already started. So just be patient with them. If you were in their shoes, it will also take you a lot of time to wrap your head around the whole thing. So rise above your anger, sweetheart, and give them time to understand.

      • pinkpanthertb
        October 12, 08:10 Reply

        True, Samaurai. While I am resentful of anyone’s opinion of me dictating my life, it bears recognizing the fact that when the public opinion favours you, it helps make things easier. I don’t care for the church, but I won’t sneeze at their attempts to accept me for who I am.

      • Max
        October 12, 13:21 Reply

        @Pinky, can you edit ppls comments??? My comment above just got edited for a typo….and the correction I made in a second comment seems to have gone…

      • Max
        October 12, 17:44 Reply

        Omg @Pinky. Didn’t know you wield such power here…

    • Dominic
      October 12, 11:37 Reply

      Religion and homosexuality again….*cat walks away*

  2. Rapu'm
    October 12, 09:28 Reply

    I am getting increasingly irritated by this, to be honest.

    But here:

    This is one cleric’s talk about sexuality that I at least listen to. Google him if you like. At least I sense some honesty in his tone. These people saying “who am I to judge” without really addressing the issue (I don’t mean wed gay people in your church, although I won’t say no if you do) are condescending, simple. I’m not impressed.

  3. Khaleesi
    October 12, 09:48 Reply

    a dear friend has for months been worried about ‘my soul’ and every Sunday, he harasses me to go to church. I always reply that my time is precious and I honestly cant justify the time it would take to dress up, go to church and spend 2 or 3hrs listening to things I largely dont give a hoot about. life is too short and time too precious to fritter away in such a manner. well, I was actually considering going to church today just to please my dear friend and get him off my back for a few weeks … but then, this post reminded me of one of the several reasons why I shoved religion into the trash bin.
    however hard and long you search, you will not get any approval of gays from the church, all you will get is vague pussyfooting and opaque meaningless gestures which do nothing to improve your life.
    eg the Nigerian Catholic bishops conference supported the obnoxious anti-gay bill and yet its President/Chairman/Head/#whateveridontgiveafuck recently claimed that they support protection of gays — how can one man speak from both sides of his mouth at the same time as well as attempt to blow hot and cold at the same time? you vocally supported that obnoxious law, you saw how obnoxious it was, but you were too bigoted and narrowminded to speak out and then few months down the line for reasons best known to you, you attempt to do a 180° turnaround, whatever! ! y’all r just a bunch of deceitful hypocrites leading hypocrites and fools. keep your deceitful crap pistols aimed at them #notinterested#
    its not by coincidence that in propserous and enlightened parts of the globe, religion has been exposed for what it is, a massive scam of unprecedented proportions which is dying a slow,tortuous ,painful, agonizing but inevitable death preceded by uncontrollable spasms (child abuse and other scandals+more to come).
    for gays seeking the approval of the church and its marital institution, why do you even need a hetero-dominated ceremony with heavy religious influences to validate/approve of your relationships? says a lot about your sense of self-worth!!
    I wouldn’t trade the clarity of mind and purpose that comes when u tear yourself away from the opium pipes and allow the fresh air of mental acuity to disperse the opiate fumes from your brain
    **rips of scarf and church gown and replaces with sexy bum shorts and high heeled platform shoes, heads to the mall to check out the men***

    • shuga chocolata
      October 12, 10:38 Reply

      Hahahaahha @khalessi who are you really??? Please remember to put on a sheer top with velvet wrapper with toothbrush and hair just incase you wanna pass the night over there.

      • Max
        October 12, 10:47 Reply

        @Khaleesi, somehow you always manage to say what I have in mind…although in a more evil manner…
        I wouldn’t trade the kind of clarity I have now for anything…
        I would’ve been a bigoted naive bitch if I wasn’t on this side of the war…

  4. king
    October 12, 12:36 Reply

    Dear Khaleesi & all those that seem to be in a war with God…..I feel you and truly how you must be pained. I had earlier decided I wasn’t gonna pen anything down here but by God how would I try to unveil what I KNOW….(which is different from whatever can be told to the ear)!… that someone else would at least taste it to even TEST it if it’s real or not!
    I have tasted of God’s love and you all know that yes am as gay as they come but truly I really can’t keep quiet. I KNOW that there is a PEACE that passes all UNDERSTANDING that’s really not a gift of this world and yes you just can’t get it through any physical means but ONLY THROUGH JESUS and spiritually! Please mark my words carefully ONLY through HIM and not any body else. He doesn’t say change yourself first before coming to church….he says believe in me to UPGRADE every part of U that needs ME! you just have to believe in something earnestly and seriously coz truly there is NO FENCE! I know your heart and I know you LOVE GOD but somehow you have believed that he has already JUDGED you and the judgement was bad…..WRONG…..HE has YES but he says no more condemnation for KHALEESI ….oh YES really he does and so if anyone says anything opposite he really isn’t coming from God. All what has been said here about the Catholic Church is so true cause if one MUST believe in GOD he must believe the word of God but don’t let your sexuality determine your spirituality coz they are two opposites….only because of the fact that your spirituality (and yes even if you call it OPIUM piping) is real!

    See you are first a SPIRIT that has a SOUL and lives in a BODY!!! Why do I know that….its cause when one dies his body doesn’t disappear…..its his SPIRIT that leaves this rhelm….oh for crying out loud even you must wonder where that spirit goes too right??? good….well ROMANS 10:9 says if YOU ONLY COULD BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED FOR YOU AND CONFESS HIM AS LORD OF YOUR LIFE… will be SAVED!!! Truly you must love heaven coz that’s how and where you were fashioned for!

    I have done this and have TASTED that it’s true…now has it stopped my love for the cakes and dicks……heaven NO!!! but I let him lead me day to day and have learnt a lot coz I trust HIM and KNOW him and I know he and only he can do all what he says he can!!! And am not gonna hate him coz I love men heavens gonna love him even more and more and more
    …(..oh God ave said so much more than I thot was gonna say!!!! .)….But please GO to church one day for yourself and FIND OUT BIKO…..dont stay out of the house coz from where your standing you see a haze..go inside and SEE FOR YOURSELF PLS!!! #mymiteandcent!

    • s_sensei
      October 12, 12:57 Reply

      Oh really? Well, I accepted buddha as my personal lord and savior and the peace I feel far surpasses yours. So its my word against yours. Na which we go take?

      • Max
        October 12, 13:19 Reply

        Love you for that comment. @Sensei..

      • king
        October 12, 13:22 Reply

        OK if it’s Buddha by God biko go on…. its just that the Bible says that “there’s a way that seems right to the man but in the end is DESTRUCTION!!!

        If Buddha gives you the same peace am talking bout and is no lie oh please go on but just get ready to go to his own “heaven”…. ….aint going with u sha…dats for shur!!!!

        • pinkpanthertb
          October 12, 14:22 Reply

          I’m sorry I have to ask. Is a mere declaration that you follow Christ guarantee that you’ll make heaven? Sometimes this your piousness begs for a huge roll of my eyes from here to Israel, king.

      • king
        October 12, 20:32 Reply

        Well that’s what the “good book” says and we all know that I, king, didn’t write it so there….but to answer your quest pinky….yep…that’s what’s in there…you see it was believed b4 that you would have to confess all your sins first to win God’s favour and of course try to make yourself HOLY first but that’s not substantiated by the BOOK…so what Jesus did for us on that cross was to tear down the reason for the enemity between Man and God and guess what…..he SUCCEEDED!! so now all you need to do is accept Jesus as Lord cause HE died FOR YOU and everyday trust him to make you a better person shikena…’s now all about God reaching out to us and not so much as man to God…like in a marriage one says I do but waits for the other to say I do too right??? if the 2nd one doesn’t say it, is there a marriage??? So you see…….HE has said to you Pinky “I do” pinky luv what do you say????

  5. iduke
    October 12, 17:25 Reply

    My uncle once said the way to heaven /paradise. No one knows. King talks from his belief. Rmr ur belief makes u. Christian Muslim Buddha krishna stars crosses or even wood no one knows the way to heaven. Whichever u choose let ur heart be at peace. I love khal’s resolution ‘cos she’s at peace with her choice. The greatest commandment from the good book says love God, and love ur neighbour. I believe we are all doing this. Bishops imams or priests can’t keep u from ur spirituality. The only thing that can keep u away is u. Besides this is a gathering of brethren so daily we come to “church “. Altho the sermon is quite raunchy but we get better at being us. It’s time we get better at being at peace too. Truth be told. Many ppl have this war in them. And bigotry wouldn’t help solve the issue

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