The Best of 2012 in Catholic LGBT News

December 31, 2012

Thumbs_upYesterday, we posted our list of the worst of 2012 in Catholic LGBT news.  Today, as promised, we end the year on a positive note by presenting our list of the BEST of the previous year.  Much good has happened in 2012, with Catholics at all levels of the church speaking out for justice and equality for LGBT people.

Thanks to the 286 of you who voted in our poll to determine the selection and ranking of these best news stories.  The percentage following each story is the percentage of people who chose this item as one of their top five.

The Top Ten

1. Catholic lay support aids marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. 23.08%

2. Priests in Minnesota and Maryland publicly counter the local hierarchy’s opposition to marriage equality. 14.69%  

3. Berlin’s Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki suggests that the church should treat gay and straight couples similarly9.09%  

4 & 5.  TIE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Bishop Richard Malone in Maine announces that the diocese will not take an active political role against the state’s marriage equality referendum. 8.39%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Surveys show increase in support for LGBT issues among Hispanics, especially Catholics. 8.39%

6. At New Ways Ministry’s Seventh National Symposium, Australia’s Bishop Geoffrey Robinson calls for the church hierarchy to re-think its sexual ethics teachings8.04% 

7 & 8. TIE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The University of Notre Dame gives official recognition to a gay-straight alliance after years of student activism. 5.24%                           Austrian Cardinal overturns a pastor’s decision to bar a gay man from serving on a parish council. 5.24%

9. Catholics in Media Associates gives its top award to TV’s Modern Family, a show featuring a gay family. 3.85%  

10. Maryland priest who denied communion to a lesbian woman at her mother’s funeral is removed from pastoral ministry. 3.5%  

Editor’s Note:  One item which we neglected to add to the list for voting was that Vice President Joe Biden, a  Catholic, endorsed marriage equality, paving the way for President Barack Obama to do the same.  Biden also referred to transgender equality as “the civil rights issue of our time.”  We feel these should deserve some mention on the list of the best Catholic news of 2012.  We regret that we didn’t include them for voting.  Mea maxima culpa.

Other items

Cardinal Francis George apologizes for comparing the LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan. 2.45%  

Ontario requires all schools, including state-supported Catholic schools, to institute gay-straight alliances. 2.1%  

Jesuit author James Martin endorses Spirit Day, a national program to end bullying of LGBT youth. 2.1% 

Pastor at Most Holy Redeemer parish in San Francisco reverses his earlier decision to ban drag queens from parish events. 1.75%

Students at Stonehill College, a Catholic campus in Massachusetts, win a new and improved non-discrimination policy. 1.4%  

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Happy Anniversary!

November 28, 2012

Today marks the first anniversary of Bondings 2.0!

One year ago today, I came to the New Ways Ministry office and typed the words “how to start a blog” into Google, and by the end of the day, I had a blog post. A few more days followed the same pattern of just taking a stab at writing, and before I knew it, I had not just blog posts, but an actual blog!

When I started, I didn’t know which direction the blog would go in other than that I wanted it to contain material that would interest people who follow Catholic LGBT issues.  Over the past year, we have kept to that direction with a  mixture of news stories, opinion pieces, personal reflections, and spirituality.

Our aim evolved into providing readers with important information, but also with a perspective designed to build up the Catholic Church and the growing movement of Catholics who support LGBT equality and justice.  For the past full year, we have posted something every single day, some times twice or three times a day, when the news was lively.  I mention this not as a point of pride, but as evidence to the fact of how important the relationship between the Catholic Church and LGBT issues is.  There has been something important to write every single day about this relationship, and it doesn’t look like things will be slowing down any time soon.

What does our blog contain?  In addition to daily updates of news, opinion, theological and spiritual reflections, we also have developed some occasional features:

  • ALL ARE WELCOME:  a series which focuses on Catholic gay-friendly faith communities
  • NEWS NOTES: an occasional feature which provides brief summaries of news articles with links to the original sources
  • QUOTE TO NOTE: an occasional feature which provides witty or insightful quotations from news articles
  • CATHOLIC LGBT CALENDAR: a listing of Catholic LGBT events around the U.S. and the globe
  • CAMPUS CHRONICLES: a series which focuses on Catholic LGBT issues on college campuses.

Some interesting data about the blog and our readers:

I started out as the sole contributor to this blog, but since its beginning, we have had a few guest contributors, and we have added a new regular contributor, Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry’s Coordinator of Young Adults and Social Media.   Bob covers general news stories, as well as news about LGBT issues on Catholic college campuses.

One year ago, I started out on this venture, not really knowing what I was doing.  (Some might justly argue that I still don’t know what I’m doing!)  I started out having fun, learning a new skill, and, building on some older skills.  I thought I was helping to build a resource of information and opinions for people interested in Catholic LGBT issues.

It seems, however, thanks to the magic of social media, that what has emerged is a community of people who are eager to share ideas and perspectives, passions and reflections.  I have benefited immensely by the experience of being a part of this community, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with all of the wonderful readers and commenters.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Cardinal Calls for Equality of Heterosexual and Homosexual Relationships

May 20, 2012

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki

So far I’ve only seen one news report in English about this item, but there are several in German that are floating around the web.  It is too good not to report, even though the information is rather sparse.

Berlin’s Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki told a major Catholic conference in Germany that relationships of same-gender couples should be treated equally with heterosexual couples. An article in The Local, an English news source in Germany reports:

“He told a crowd on Thursday that the church should view long-term, faithful homosexual relationships as they do heterosexual ones.

” ‘When two homosexuals take responsibility for one another, if they deal with each other in a faithful and long-term way, then you have to see it in the same way as heterosexual relationships,’ Woelki told an astonished crowd, according to a story in the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

“Woekli acknowledged that the church saw the relationship between a man and a woman as the basis for creation, but added that it was time to think further about the church’s attitude toward same sex relationships.”

Speaking at the 98th Katholikentag (Catholic), a conference of 60,000 Catholics in Mannheim, Woelki joins a growing chorus of episcopal voices who are calling for change in the hierarchy’s traditionally absolutist refusal to acknowledge the moral goodness of lesbian and gay relationships.

Last December, London’s Archbishop Vincent Nichols made headlines by supporting civil partnerships for lesbian and gay couples in the U.K.  That same month, Fr. Frank Brennan, a Jesuit legal scholar in Australia, also called for similar recognition of same-sex relationships.   In January, Bishop Paolo Urso of Ragusa, Italy, also called for recognition of civil partnerships in his country.

March of 2012 saw an explosion of questioning from prelates of the hierarchy’s ban on marriage equality. At New Ways Ministry’s Seventh National Symposium,Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Australia called for a total re-examination of Catholic sexual ethics to allow for, among other things, moral approval of same-sex relationships.  The Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, supported a bill that would legalize civil unions (albeit as a stopgap measure to prevent marriage equality).  Bishop Richard Malone of Portland, Maine, announced that the diocese would not take an active role in opposing the state’s upcoming referendum on marriage equality, as it had in 2009. In Italy, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan stated in his book, Credere e Cognoscere (Faith and Understanding), that “I do not agree with the positions of those in the Church who takes issue with civil unions.”  You can read excerpts, in Italian,  from the book here. An English translation of a different set of excerpts, thanks to the Queering the Church blog, can be found here.

While opposition to marriage equality from the hierarchy, especially in the United States, is still massive and strong, it is significant that these recent statements are all developing a similar theme of at least some recognition of the intrinsic value of lesbian and gay relationships, as well as the need for civil protection of them.  May this trend continue and grow.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 

 

 


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