A bus decorated with physically explicit anti-transgender messaging has been impoundedin Madrid, per a judge’s ruling. Hazte Oir (translation: Hear Yourself), a Catholic group, owns the bus which was set to tour Spain with slogans like, “Boys have penises, girls have vulvas. Do not be fooled.” But until the offending messages are removed for violating a civil code against public advertising, the bus will remain in police custody.
Marriage Equality Sought in the Philippines
Due to its strong Catholic culture, the Philippines is the only nation besides the Holy See to ban divorce. This prohibition, coupled with difficulty attaining annulments, has led many Filipinos into long-term partnerships, including bearing children, that are not recognized by the state. Against this situation, LGBT activists have joined causes with persons seeking legalized divorces to attain reforms in marriage law.
Ariel Guban, a gay Catholic man in a relationship, said he believes in the sanctity of marriage, but as “as a union defined by common respect, acceptance and love—all of which are what gay people desire and are capable of giving.” Beyond legal protections and financial stability, allowing same-gender marriages Guban said:
“‘I will [probably] be able to better understand the concept of marriage and die knowing that I have been married, loved and enjoyed life without the undying threat of discrimination. Marriage is for everybody. It is not and should not be limited by gender preference.'”
Despite Catholic Opposition, U.S. LGBT Envoy Kept On
President Donald Trump will retain the U.S. special envoy for LGBTI rights, Randy Berry. Retaining Berry’s office was opposed by right-wing Christian groups, including some Catholics, who hoped the Trump administration would vacate former President Obama’s efforts towards global LGBT equality.
Catholic Prime Minister Attends “Big Gay Out”
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English, a Catholic attended the nation’s largest pride celebration last month. English had been opposed laws proposing civil unions and marriage equality until changing his position in 2013. The pride celebration, known as the “Big Gay Out,” is now a mainstay on political calendars. English’s appearance comes after he softened his views on LGBT rights, and apologized for anti-equality votes. His National Party has moved to support equality in recent years as New Zealand voters became more supportive.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, March 11, 2017
New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers: Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv. Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader: Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS. For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.
In the heavily Catholic nation of Peru, a recent rise in progressive activism for LGBT equality was recently met with conservative groups organizing a “March for Heterosexual Pride,” according to an article on Towelroad.com. Similarly, in protest to a new sex education and gender equality curriculum, a new group called “Don’t Mess With My Children.” The group opposes what they call “gender ideology,” a term favored by many Catholic conservative bishops and Pope Francis.
2. The British Medical Association’s new set of staff guidelines encourages employees not to use the term “expectant mothers,” but instead should refer to “pregnant people,” according to The Telegraph. The purpose of the terminology change is to not offend transgender and intersex men who can or have been pregnant. Bishop Philip Egan, the Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, England, predicted that the new terminology would cause “great confusion and harm.”
3. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said that he did not think the predominantly Catholic nation would accept a change in the Constitution to allow for same-sex marriage, according to TheNews.pl. Duda, a member of the ruling Law and Justice party, which promotes traditional Polish values, family and Catholic traditions, stated in an interview: “I do not think that the political majority today would agree to any amendment to the Constitution in this area, water down this clause and open interpretation that marriage could also include other genders.” Poland is one of seven nations in the 28-member European Union which bans same-sex marriage, and one of six nations in the federation which does not allow civil unions.
4. The Senate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the U.S.A., has approved a religious liberty bill that would prevent the government from punishing religious organizations which do not allow for same-sex marriage, according to The Christian Times. The state’s House of Delegates also approved a similar bill. Both bills appear to be in response to the executive order issued by Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Catholic, that prohibits state contracts from being given to organizations which do not have an anti-discrimination policy protecting sexual orientation and gender identity. The Virginia Catholic Conference called the two bills “top priority” legislation.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 19, 2017
New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis,is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers: Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv. Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader: Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS. For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.
While much attention has been given to LGBT rights in the U.S following the election and the U.S. bishops’ meeting, there are several developments internationally to report. Today’s post includes four updates with links to news reports if you would like to read further.
Catholic School in Philippines Starts LGBT Group
A La Salle Brothers school in the Philippines approved BHIVE, an LGBT-oriented group at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, reported the Manila Standard. It is the first school in the Brothers system in that country to take such a step.
Carmelita Lazatin, the College’s Vice Chancellor for Lasallian Mission and Student Life explained that diversity “has always been one of its richest resources for learning and innovation,” and that BHIVE would help “explore the reach of the words ‘inclusive’ and ‘education.'”
John Carlo Lazo, a BHIVE leader, said this approval comes after a five-year process, but now hopes to open “new opportunities for conversation,” as well as providing a safe space for LGBT students. The school is located on several campuses in Manila.
Fiji Archbishop Calls for Respect of LGBT People
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva in Fiji affirmed the need to respect communities marginalized for their sexual or gender identity, reported The Fiji Times. Chong cited Pope Francis for addressing LGBTI people himself, saying “everyone is the same” and should therefore be respected.
In 2015, Chong, while commenting on pornography, said that the church must provide a”proper positive education on human sexuality,” which teaches that “sexuality is for the purpose of relationships, the physical side of our sexuality is secondary to the emotional relationship.” Chong said further:
” ‘Each person has to develop to be a mature sexual person, whether it’s through masculine or feminine and even homosexuals, they have their own sexual orientation which is a gift from God and through their sexual orientation, they relate to people.’ “
Zambian Bishops Impede HIV/AIDS Prevention
LGBT advocates in Zambia criticized both the nation’s prison system and Catholic officials for the promotion of abstinence as a solution to the higher than average rates of HIV infection found among prisoners, reported AllAfrica. Catholic officials stated that the distribution of condoms as a prevention measure would be considered as promoting homosexual activity.
Fr. Paul Samasumo, speaking for the Zambia Episcopal Conference, said the church supported a policy of using only abstinence education as a prevention method, and the prisons have done so.
Prevention efforts have also been hampered due to the criminalization of homosexuality, a holdover from British colonial rule. Being convicted of same-sex activity carries a punishment of up to 14 years in prison.
English Bishop Cautions Against ‘Ideology of Gender’ in Schools
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England wrote a letter to Catholic educators on how to handle gender identity questions in schools, framed by him as “the ideology of gender which underlies transgenderism.” He urged schools not to be “swayed or fall victim to the errors of our times.” It appears that his own understanding of trans realities and questions of gender seems limited.
For all the latest updates on Catholic LGBT issues, subscribe to our blog using the provided “Follow” box in the upper right hand corner of this page. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and news tips.
–Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 26, 2016
Here are some news items that you might find of interest:
Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, made headlines last month when he officiated at a same-gender wedding. Several church officials criticized him for the action. DelawareOnline.com reports that a small group of Catholics staged a protest at the Diocese of Wilmington’s (Delaware) chancery, calling on Bishop Francis Malooly to “repudiate Joe Biden or resign.” Biden is from Delaware.
A Bondings 2.0 blog post by Cristina Traina about Pope Francis’ comments on the “ideological colonization” of gender was picked up and re-distributed by Religion News Service. Traina revised the article for the new publication.
Diane DeBernardo, who has participated in several New Ways Ministry pilgrimages, was the subject of a National Catholic Reporter personality profile that examined, among other things, her involvement in starting her parish’s LGBT outreach ministry. She is also the sister of New Ways Ministry Executive Director Francis DeBernardo.
DignityUSA, an organization of LGBT Catholics, recently called on U.S. Senator Marco Rubio not to appear at an Orlando conference of anti-LGBT groups, which took place on the two-month anniversary of the Orlando nightclub massacre, reported Miami New Times.
Fr. Mike Tegeder, a Minnesota priest who was a strong supporter of LGBT rights, has passed away from lung cancer. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said he was “a vocal critic of former Archbishop John Nienstedt and the church’s attempts to block gay marriage, opposition that threatened Tegeder’s status as priest at his two Minneapolis churches, St. Frances Cabrini and Gichitwaa Kateri. He kept his bus driver’s license up to date in case he was dismissed from the priesthood.”
Pope Francis’ document Amoris Laetitia has dominated Catholic LGBT news since its publication on April 8th. Everyone, it seems, is weighing in about the 250+ page document. You can access Bonding 2.0’s coverage of the document and selected reactions here.
But there has been other news relevant to Catholic LGBT issues that should not be missed. Below, Bondings 2.0 offers a sampling of some of the more important items.
Listen to Fr. Tony Flannery and Other Priests, Says Irish Bishop
Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry said Ireland’s church leaders need to dialogue with priests who are advocating for church reform. This outreach should include Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery, who faced Vatican persecution in 2012, and the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland which he co-founded. McKeown said the bishops “have to be constantly reaching out” and “willing to go way beyond our comfort zone,” reported the National Catholic Reporter. Citing Pope Francis, the bishop added:
” ‘It takes time to listen and to talk and to build bridges and to have an openness to hear their story.”
Fr. Flannery, who has been barred from public ministry since 2012, in part because of his openness on LGBT issues, said this support was a first for the Irish hierarchy. He commented on an important topic that such outreach by the bishops might focus upon:
“My answer to that is simple. All I have ever looked for in relation to myself and others who are accused of ‘dissent’ is a process that is fair, just and transparent. . .The present CDF process is a scandal, and brings shame on our church.”
Bishops, Laity Remain Split Over Religious Freedom Bills
Virginia’s bishops expressed disappointment that Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Catholic, vetoed “license to discriminate” legislation passed by the legislature, reported the National Catholic Reporter.
According to a Virginia Catholic Conference statement, Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington and Bishop Francix DiLorenzo of Richmond said the law, which would have protected those who withheld services from same-gender couples, was about religious freedom . Vetoing the bill on live radio, Governor McAuliffe, himself a Catholic, described the bill as “nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize.”
Meanwhile, Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, who is also Catholic, rescinded an executive order protecting those persons involved with state business who discriminate against LGBT people and replaced it with a non-discrimination order, reported Buzzfeed.
Church Worker Faces Financial Burden in Legal Battle
Fired Canadian educator Jan Buterman is facing financial difficulties in his legal battle against the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, Edmonton, Alberta, reported Metro News.
Buterman sued the district for removing him as a substitute teacher after his gender transition more than eight years ago. He has been in court since, losing the latest round in appeals court, but Buterman has promised to press on and is exploring funding options. He explained why he will keep struggling:
“I’m not the only trans person who has lost a job in this province, far from it, but most people don’t have it in writing or don’t have access to legal council. . .Most trans people who run into this don’t have the means to address it.”
Bishop Says Same-Gender Marriages Can “Destroy Everything Christian”
In a recent interview, Bishop Emeritus Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska claimed that marriage equality would lead to efforts “to destroy everything Christian” and called the increasingly successful movement for LGBT rights “devastating,” reported the Lincoln Journal Star.
Gay Ambassador Nixed by Vatican is Reassigned to the UN
Laurent Stefanini, France’s one-time nominee as Ambassador to the Holy See, will take up a position at the United Nations instead by representing his nation in UNESCO, reported France 24. Stefanini’s nomination was seen to be rejected by the Vatican because it was never approved after being submitted January 2015. Many speculate this rejection was due to Stefanini’s identity as an openly gay man.
For all the latest updates on Catholic LGBT issues, subscribe to our blog using the provided box in the upper right hand corner of this page. Contact email@example.com with questions and news tips.
Here are some news items that you might find of interest:
1. Seton Hall University’s Derrick Gordon will become the first openly gay college basketball player to participate in March Madness, the NCAA’s Division I tournament, reported The Huffington Post. Gordon’s decision to transfer to Seton Hall as an openly gay athlete made news last year, happening at the same time that the University fired chaplain Fr. Warren Hall for his support of the “NOH8” campaign.
2. Italian bishops sharply criticized the film “Weekend,” a gay romantic drama from director Andrew Haigh, which premiered in early March. The church owns a sizable number of theaters in Italy, meaning the episcopal condemnation cut down the number of screens the film could appear on and hurt sales initially, reported Variety.
3. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, the former head of the Dominicans, said Catholics should be less concerned with what others are “doing in bed” and focus on being a help, not a hindrance to people finding God according to their own path. He firmly rejected marriage equality, however, reported Rappler. Radcliffe said in interview during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, hosted by the Philippines:
” ‘If you look at what I said, I never approved of gay marriage. I always said the community must be open to gay people, as Pope Francis said, as my own cardinal archbishop in England says. We must be open to welcome anybody. But I never said I believe in gay marriage.’ “
4. An advertisement for the Marian site at Lourdes welcomed couples for Valentine’s Day, including same-gender couples, reported La Depeche. The ad, sponsored by the Diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes, said the celebration is “open to all forms of couples, married, unmarried, homosexual. . .”, though same-gender couples will not receive a church blessing and none had pre-registered according to the report.
Here are some news items that you might find of interest:
1) A U.S. Marine was convicted of killing Jennifer Laude, a trans woman in the Philippines killed in 2014. Joseph Scott Pemberton, received lessened charges due to a successful “trans panic” defense. Laude’s murder drew international attention, in part because of Catholic leaders spoke out strongly against the crime. The local bishop provided Laude a funeral respectful of her gender identity, and top religious leaders publicly advocated for justice in what they acknowledged was an anti-trans hate crime.
2) Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, a conservative U.S. prelate who is now the new Vatican nuncio to Switzerland, has said bishops were “only making themselves unpopular” by opposing marriage equality. While stating that the church could never change its teaching, Gullickson said this reality “doesn’t mean that one hates those who are of a different opinion,” according to the National Catholic Reporter.
3) Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, eulogized David Bowie in The Tablet. Ravasi, who tweeted Bowie lyrics when news of the musician’s death broke, said Bowie, made “the souls of all those with a restless conscience vibrate.”
4) Laurie Goodstein’s New York Times July 2015 story about how LGBT Catholics to Pope Francis was nominated for a GLAAD Award for “Outstanding Newspaper Article.” Her piece featured quotations Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, Deb Word of Fortunate Families, Lui Masuo of Call to Action, and Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA.
5) The St. Vincent de Paul Society in Ireland folded a fund committee in Galway which incited controversy last year after granting €45,000 to Amach! LGBT Galway, a resource center in the city, reported TheIrish Times.
6) Gary Meier, an openly gay Catholic priest, published an open letter on The Huffington Post to gay men in the Catholic priesthood after the question of gay priests rose to prominence via an article last month in The Washington Post. Meier said he lived in the same “culture of silence and shame” that gay priests may currently exist in, but called on them to come out despite the fear and risks. You can read his letter here.