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 SooToday.com.   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) TheSpec.com 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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NEWS NOTES: April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014

NewsHere are some items that you might find of interest:

1) The Catholic island nation of Malta passed legislation approving civil unions for same-gender couples, according to Gay Star News.  Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, a Maltese Catholic bishop, who had at one time spoke favorably about same-gender relationships, was one of the prime spokesperson’s for the local Catholic hierarchy opposing the new law.

2) Catholics in Spain are strongly in support of that nation’s marriage equality law, which was enacted in 2005, according to a new survey.  West-Info.eu  reported on the survey which also noted that in two Catholic nations where same-gender marriage is not legal, the majority of believers oppose such a policy:  in Italy, 66%;  in Poland, 78%.

Mother Teresa

3) Mother Teresa is featured on the website for the United Nations’ Free and Equal program which supports non-discrimination for LGBT people around the globe.  When one clicks on her image on the homepage, one is brought to a photo of Mother Teresa under the headline “Mother Teresa Helps Us to Remember What’s Important.”   Superimposed over her photo is a quote from the universally-revered champion of the poor:  “What can you do to promote world peace?  Go home and love your family.”  The photo with the quotation can be shared on Facebook and other social media platforms.

4) The National Catholic Reporter noted that the Vatican has appointed a bishop to investigate the sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal Keith O’Brien, formerly the primate of Scotland, who resigned last year when he acknowledged sexual liaisons with men who became priests in his diocese.  O’Brien made headlines for speaking out strongly against marriage equality in Scotland.  The bishop who will be leading the investigation is Maltese Bishop Charles Scicluna, mentioned in the first news note above.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 


NEWS NOTES: March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014

News NotesHappy St. Joseph’s Day! Here are some items you may find of interest:

1) Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a former Maryknoll priest, expelled for supporting women’s ordination, published an ad in The Boston Globe recently which called on Pope Francis to advance the role of women and LGBT people in the Church. He wrote, in part:

“Let’s face it. Being gay is not a problem with our all-loving God who created everyone of equal worth and dignity. The problem is with Church leaders who view homosexuals as lesser than heterosexuals.”

Bourgeois also asked Catholics to write to the pope and local Church leaders asking them to reverse the teaching on homosexuality and recognize same-gender marriages. You can read the full letter here.

2) Cardinal Fernando Sebastian Aguilar of Spain, who was recently appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis, is being investigated by Spanish authorities for “inciting hate and discrimination.” The New Civil Rights Movement reports that Aguilar’s interview with a newspaper in which he stated “homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality” and  that it should be corrected as much as possible. There is no update on whether charges will be filed against the cardinal.

3) The Scottish Catholic Education Service, which oversees that country’s 366 parochial schools, is protesting new government guidelines about sexual education. The drafted guidelines would require religious schools to teach about homosexuality and contraception equivalent to what and how these topics are taught in public schools, reports the Scottish Express.

4) St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Washington, DC hosted the second annual memorial for Deoni JaParker Jones, a transgender women murdered nearby in 2012. More than 100 people, including the mayor and city council members, were in attendance at the event organized by Jones’ family. Washington Blade reports that a new foundation working to end anti-LGBT violence was announced that evening.

5) Catholic television network EWTN will boycott planned coverage of the Divine Mercy Conference in Dublin after Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, the former head of the Dominicans, was announced as a keynote speaker. EWTN has criticized Radcliffe’s pastoral outreach and vocal support of LGBT people, which one network host said was “at sharp variance to Catholic teaching.” The criticism included his participation in the Soho Masses sponsored by the London archdiocese, as well as Radcliffe’s view that same-gender committed relationships should “be cherished.” Last December, he also called for “new ways of being church.”  The full story is available at The Independent.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


NEWS NOTES: January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014

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

1) At the end of 2013, Bishop Casimiro Lopez Llorente of the Segorbe-Castellon Diocese, Spain, wrote a pastoral letter entitled The Good News of Marriage and the Family, in which he denounced same-gender marriage. He claimed that same-gender marriage, which has been legal in Spain since 2005 has been “weakening the lasting love between spouses, maternal and paternal love, familial love, the significant increase in children with severe disturbances of personality and the development of a climate that often ends in violence,”  according to On Top magazine.

2) Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, China, eliminated all negative messages about same-gender couples from his Christmas message in 2013, though he was extremely strident against gay and lesbian couples in his 2012 message.  Columnist Alex Lo of the South China Morning Post believes the change in tone is due to Pope Francis’ more accepting attitude toward sexual minorities.

3) The Boy Scouts of America’s new policy of accepting gay youth as members went into effect on January 1st, and the organization reports that there has been no mass exodus of members or sponsoring organizations, which include hundreds of Catholic parishes.  The Sheboygan Press explains the details of the new policy.

4) Irish Redemptorist Father Tony Flannery,  who attracted the ire of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) because of his progressive views, including support of gay and lesbian couples, said that though he is hopeful about the papacy of Pope Francis, he recognizes that the CDF’s ban on his public ministry as a priest will likely not be lifted.   Flannery, who foundered Ireland’s Association of Catholic priests, is beginning a speaking tour in that country, according to The Irish Times.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


News Notes: January 9, 2013

January 9, 2014

News NotesHere are some stories you may find of interest:

1) Croatians overwhelmingly voted to constitutionally ban marriage equality in early December, with backing largely coming from Catholic leaders. In response, the government released a law legalizing same-gender partnerships and granting them equal rights, aside from adoption. It is expected to pass Parliament, and many have questioned whether the anti-marriage referendum is truly indicative of where heavily-Catholic Croatians really stand on LGBT matters.

2) Pennsylvanians working for an LGBT non-discrimination law have a new ally in their Catholic governor, Tom Corbett, who has promised to sign any bill passed by the state’s legislature. That said, Corbett remains opposed to equal marriage rights for same-gender couples. The governor has continued defending the state’s marriage equality ban in a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn it, even after the state’s Attorney General refused to do so.

3) Portugal’s bishops have been criticized by Rumos Novos, an association for LGBT Catholics in that nation, after releasing a letter which called same-gender relationships “sinful.” Rumos Novos claims the Portuguese Episcopal Conference published the letter to foster anti-gay attitudes at a time when Pope Francis is seeking to open the Church up, and more concretely, solicit input for next fall’s Synod on Marriage and Family Life.

4) Gay soccer star Robbie Rogers, who is also a devout Catholic, is set to release a book this year about his life titled Coming Out To Play. Rogers has previously spoken about how his faith impacts his identities as a professional athlete and a gay man, and it will be interesting to see what appears in this book.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


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