NEWS NOTES: November 28, 2015

News Notes

Here are some news items that you might find of interest:

1) Former Boy Scout leader Greg Bourke will not be allowed to return to his Louisville-based troop, barred by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz despite an appeal from Bourke and his supporters. Writing in the National Catholic Reporter, Patrick Whelan, the parent-leader of a Massachusetts Boy Scout troop said that when Catholic bishops respond negatively to the prospect of gay leaders, their reaction hurts youth rather than protecting them, as the bishops claim.

2) Bishop Vitus Huonder, the conservative head of the Chur diocese, Switzerland, has reinstated Fr. Wendelin Buchli as pastor, after he had originally dismissed the priest for blessing the union of a lesbian couple, according to Le News. The parishioners in the town of Burglen had protested the priest’s dismissal.  His reinstatement is conditional on making a promise never to bless a same-gender union again.

3) A Swedish priest who claimed that homosexuality was a “psychological disorder” capable of being “cured,” apologized after receiving intense criticism, according to TheLocal.se.

4) DignityUSA’s Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke penned a Huffington Post essay criticizing the recent U.S. bishops conference meeting, noting that the bishops revealed that they will continue a course that is negative towards the LGBT community, women, and the poor.

5) The prime minister of the small and predominantly Catholic European nation of Luxembourg will be legally marrying his partner, one year after marriage equality became legal there, according to EurActiv Xavier Bettel will marry Gauthier Destenay, a Belgian architect, becoming the first leader of a European Union nation to have a same-gender marriage, a sign, which some say, is indicative of the growing acceptance of the institution in European society.

6) The Catholic Theological Society of America honored theologian Patricia Beattie Jung during its annual conference this summer, according to the National Catholic Reporter. She received the Ann O’Hara Graff Memorial Award for her groundbreaking work on sexuality and heterosexism.  Jung was a plenary session speaker at New Ways Ministry’s Seventh National Symposium, in Baltimore, March 2012.

7) Representatives from 22 international Catholic Church reform organizations have sent Pope Francis an open letter on parish life, calling for more inclusive pastoral practices and diversity of leaders in parish decision-making, according to Windy City Times. In their letter, the group told the pope about the wonderful diversity already present in some parishes:  “There are women and men, married couples, divorced and remarried, homosexual and heterosexual partners, young and old, those in the center and those who have been pushed to the side…By their personal dedication, by the strength of their baptismal calling, they assist in relieving the priests of their increasing responsibilities in order to continue offering vital services to the people.”   New Ways Ministry is a signer of the letter.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

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