NEWS NOTES: December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014

News NotesHere are some items that you might find of interest:

1) New data from Carl Bialik and the FiveThirtyEight blog suggests Catholics are more progressive than their Protestant peers when it comes to LGBT issues, reports Crux.

2) Robbie Rogers, one of the first openly gay soccer players and a Catholic, will have his life told on a new ABC sitcom called “Men in Shorts.” Last year, Rogers spoke deeply about his faith and sexuality, and the integration of the two.

3)Former Jesuit Benjamin Brenkert, who previously wrote to Pope Francis about his decision to leave the Society, suggested the media’s coverage of last October’s synod did not critically analyze the pope or bishops when it came to LGBT issues. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia was also displeased with the media, harshly criticizing them in the weeks after the synod.

4) Alternatively, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC said the synod was a “free and open process” that came to a “real consensus,” according to Catholic News Service.

5) The Los Angeles Times profiled responses to the synod, including New Ways Ministry director Francis DeBernardo who said of the final report: “I really think this isn’t the last statement…This is the first statement.”

6) Openly gay Catholic priest Fr. Gary Meier, whose coming out made headlines in 2013 before he took leave from active ministry, has launched a nonprofit called Rising Voices of Faith to highlight LGBT people’s voices. The Advocate has further details.

7) National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson spoke with the Rochester City Paper recently about the state of the church, the deep need to include LGBT people and women, and her perspective on Pope Francis.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

NEWS NOTES: July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

News NotesHere are some items that you might find of interest:

1) LGBT Catholics in Chicago have been remembering the life and ministry of Jerry McEnany, the founder of that city’s Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach over 25 years ago.  A newspaper account of McEnany’s legacy described him as “a gay man who played a pivotal role in trying to bridge a gap between hierarchical harshness and doctrinal hostility to LGBTs among the faithful and a Church instinct for pastoral respect, compassion, and sensitivity in ministry with them.”

2) A transgender woman is suing Seton Medical Center, Daly City, California, because they denied her request for breast augmentation.  Charlene Hastings, who has already had gender reassignment surgery, stated, “I honestly believe that God has plans for me to have this surgery.”

3) Brian Cahill, former executive director of San Francisco Catholic Charities, published an essay on DignityUSA’s website in which he rebuts Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s arguments at last month’s March for Marriage in Washington, DC.

4) When an Indiana judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional according to the federal constitution, the Roman Catholic bishops of the state issued a statement which affirmed marriage between one man and one woman.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


NEWS NOTES: July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014

News NotesHere are some items you might find of interest:

1) Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired archbishop of Westminster (London) criticized England’s Equality Act for forcing Catholic social service agencies to stop adoptions because they were not allowed to discriminate against same-gender couples. The cardinal would like a religious exemption to the law, which would allow church organizations to deny services to lesbian and gay people . Adoption law has become a battleground issue in England and Scotland since marriage equality became legal in those nations.

2) Fired gay teacher Ken Bencomo‘s case against St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, California is moving ahead. A judge ruled against claims by the school that Bencomo could be fired under the so-called “ministerial exemption,” and will allow the lawsuit to proceed. Bencomo was fired when news of his marriage became public last year.

3) Cardinal Nicholas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic criticized gay US Ambassador James Brewster again after Brewster and his husband appeared in a video for June’s Pride celebrations in that Caribbean nation. The cardinal, who previously used an anti-gay slur to describe the ambassador and encouraged anti-LGBT protests, said Brewster should “take his gay pride elsewhere.” You can read more about the cardinal’s comments here.

4) Activists from the group Femen are on trial for a February 2013 protest at the Cathedral of Notre Dame where they banged on church bells in protest of the bishops’ opposition to LGBT rights. Prosecutors are seeking fines of more than $2,000 from each of the nine women on trial. Femen had made headlines  because of its members’ topless demonstrations against Catholic leaders.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

NEWS NOTES: June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014

News NotesHere are some items you might find of interest:

1) Most Holy Redeemer Catholic parish, a largely gay congregation in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, has new pastoral leadership.  A National Catholic Reporter article states that Precious Blood Father Jack McClure is the new pastor, and Precious Blood Father Matthew Link will be the associate pastor.   The Precious Blood Fathers have had a ministry of dialogue, reconciliation and justice with LGBT people since 2007.

2) The Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, has filed a motion to dismiss a suit against them brought by a gay couple charging discrimination, according to The Worcester Telegram.  The newspaper reports that the couple alleges the diocese refused to sell a mansion property to them “because the men were gay and church officials feared they might hold same-sex weddings on the property.”   You can read previous Bondings 2.0 coverage of this case here and here.

3) The parliament of Slovakia has amended the nation’s constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, reports MetroWeekly.  62% of Slovakians are Catholics, the largest of any religious group in this heavily religious nation.

4) Canada’s Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) rejected a resolution which would have opposed the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association’s (OECTA) involvement in Toronto’s World Pride Parade on June 29th, reports   Other school boards have shown similar support for the OECTA’s decision to participate in the parade.  You can read about these other decisions here and here.

5) A leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the largest Protestant party in the country, has wants to court Catholics to join their organization because he thinks they will be attracted by the party’s opposition to same-gender marriage, among other conservative positions. The Belfast Telegraph reports that Health Minister Edwin Poots, who was joined by other party leaders in stating that Catholics might want to switch political allegiances, said “The doctrines of their church largely coincide with the DUP. So conservative Protestantism and conservative Catholicism have an awful lot in common.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

News Notes: June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

News NotesHere are some items that you may find of interest:

1) Carlos Bruce, the Peruvian legislator behind that nation’s civil unions bill, has come out nine months after Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima insinuated as much in a radio interview. Bruce is the first openly gay legislator in the highly conservative Catholic nation, and has faced criticism for seeking to advance LGBT rights.

2) Mark Zmuda, the gay vice principal whose firing from a Seattle Catholic high school last December prompted sustained nationwide protests, has been hired by the Mercer Island School District in Washington State. He will be an assistant high school principal and athletic director.  Zmuda’s lawsuit against his former employer and the Archdiocese of Seattle on wrongful termination grounds can go forward in court, a judge ruled recently.

3) America magazine recently profiled prominent theologian and priest James Alison, whose scholarship includes four books on a more positive approach to homosexuality. Alison has previously endorsed marriage equality in the United Kingdom and Bondings 2.0 covered an extensive interview with him on LGBT issues..  You can access the America article by clicking here.

4) Catholic bishops are fighting the flurry of legal advances for marriage equality. Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan has responded to a federal judge’s ruling that the state cannot enforce the state’s ban on same-gender marriages by calling it “unfortunate and regrettable.” In Virginia, the state’s Catholic conference filed a legal brief  supporting that state’s ban against same-gender marriage.  A federal appeals court case will be considering whether or not to overturn the ban.

5) A controversial series of photographs, titled “Sí, Quiero,” (Yes, I love)  which depict gay couples kissing inside Rome’s Catholic churches will be shown in New York City. The Vatican threatened to sue artist Gonzalo Orquin last year, which forced the photographs to be covered, but now the artist is saying: ” ‘Pope Francis said he is not one to judge others, and that (at) the church are all welcome…Then what does the church seek to do? Condemn all as usual? Or embrace everyone as Jesus did?’ “

6) LGBT Catholics in Chicago celebrated the life of Jerry McEnany, founder of the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach (AGLO) and leader of Dignity/Chicago, in May. McEnany fought for civil LGBT rights, opposing Church officials at times, but will be most remembered for his groundbreaking efforts with AGLO, an organization recognized by the Archdiocese of Chicago which offers pastoral care to this day.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

NEWS NOTES: April 19, 2014

April 19, 2014

NewsHere are some items that you might find of interest:

1)  The Montana Standard reported that Shaela Evenson, a lesbian teacher who was fired from a Butte, Montana Catholic school because she became pregnant while unmarried, has given birth to a baby boy.  Both the school superintendent and Evenson’s lawyer agree that it was the pregnancy and marital status, not sexual orientation, which was the cause of the firing.  Evenson, who lives with her partner Marilyn Tobin, has filed a discrimination case with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

2) Michael Coren, a columnist for Canada’s The Toronto Sun reported that the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association has decided to march in Toronto’s World Pride parade in June.  The organization 45,000 teachers.

3) The Boston Globe reported that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a brief against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester in the discrimination suit brought against them by a married gay couple who said the diocese refused to sell them a real estate property because of the couple’s sexual orientation.

4) Insight Newspaper reported that Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of Monrovia, Liberia, has told Catholics in that African nation not to support same-sex marriage.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

NEWS NOTES: April 18, 2014

April 18, 2014

NewsHere are some follow-up news items to previous posts:

1)  The Tablet reported that Conor Burns, a Catholic member of the British Parliament, said he does not feel welcome to receive communion in his diocese because his bishop  had suggested that Catholic Members of Parliament who voted for last year’s marriage equality law should not be allowed to receive communion.  Though Bishop Philip Egan had suggested banning these Catholic politicians from communion, the Catholic Conference of England said they have no plans to follow such a policy, according to Gay Star News.

2)  Following a heated meeting of parents who were upset that a nun with an anti-gay message was allowed to speak at an assembly at Charlotte Catholic High School, North Carolina, Bishop Peter Jugis of the Charlotte Diocese has written a letter “to express my support and encouragement for all the parents, students, staff and faculty at the high school.”   A copy of his letter is available on the WSOC-TV website, which reported this development. 

2)  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that Ken Bencomo, who was fired from his teaching position at St. Lucy’s Priory H.S. in Glendora, California, for marrying his husband, is suing the school for ” wrongful termination in violation of public policy, violation of the state Labor Code and breach of contract.”

3) Though publicly-identified LGBT groups were not allowed to march in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade last month, the central Massachusetts city of Holyoke welcomed Mass Equality, the state’s LGBT rights organization to march in its parade in honor of the Irish saint, reported WGGB-TV.  The Holyoke High School Gay/Straight Alliance, also marched.  Mayor Alex Morse said it was the first time in memory that LGBT groups participated in the parade.

4) reported that Christopher Karas, a Catholic high school student in Mississauga, Canada, who had been told earlier this year that he could not use a quotation from Harvey Milk on a school poster advertising the students’ gay/straight alliance,  has now filed a complaint with Ontario’s human rights tribunal, accusing the school of systemic homophobia.  His complaint extends beyond the incident with the poster, and includes a history of incidents that Karas said he has experienced at the school.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry





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