NEWS NOTES: March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015


Here are some items that may be of interest:

1.Police are investigating homophobic messages spray painted on the parking lot of a Canadian high school, a follow-up to hateful online comments dating back to last fall. The graffiti appeared the day after students at St. Anne Catholic High School in the Windsor-Essex Catholic School district wore t-shirts to support LGBT community members, reports The Windsor StarAdministrators promised to act in response, with the school district board expressing its own shock and disgust, according to CTV Windsor.

2. Cosmopolitan has covered the firing of LGBT church workers, profiling Christina Gambaro and Olivia Reichert who were fired from the teaching positions at Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, in 2014. You can read about their incident and more than 40 others by clicking  here.

3. Fired gay teacher Lonnie Billard told Buzzfeed he would no longer participate in the Catholic Church, which he called a “bigoted organization, and instead would seek another Christian church with his partner.  Billiard was fired from a Charlotte, North Carolina high school in 2014.

4. National Catholic Reporter columnist Heidi Schlumpf listed LGBT issues among the top five things that give her hope in 2015. She writes, in part:

“While there’s still work to be done, the work of past generations is truly paying off. While the institutional church is lagging on this issue, polls find that the majority of lay Catholics, especially younger Catholics, support gay marriage.”

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

NEWS NOTES: February 12, 2015

February 12, 2015

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

1. In the heavily Catholic nation of Poland, voters in the city of Slupsk have elected the country’s first openly gay mayor, reports  Robert Biedron won 57% of the vote in a run-off election.

2. After a four-year legislative debate, Chile has passed a law creating domestic partnerships that will include same-gender couples, reports The New York Times.  The Catholic hierarchy has had a heavy influence on Chilean politics.

3. The city of Rome, Italy, has created a registry for civil unions, including same-gender couples, reports  A follow-up story on the news website said that a Catholic official called the move “an ideological bluff. ”

4.The Catholic identity of St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas, was the focus of a recent article in the campus newspaper.  The following paragraphs were used to illustrate:

“Unlike the idea that many might have, even as they attend St. Edward’s, Catholicism does not reject anyone based on sexuality.

“St. Edward’s in particular makes this clear. In fact, St. Edward’s makes sure to keep and make their LGBTQ community feel welcomed.

“Dr. Alexandra Lynn Barron, a professor of the Freshman Studies program and previous advisor for the PRIDE Club on campus was concerned about the possibility of misunderstanding between students and the school on the subject of the university’s acceptance of LGBTQ students.

“ ‘Campus Ministry is a big supporter of PRIDE and our LGBTQ students. They’ve planned events with us including a vigil for queer youths around the country lost to suicide and they attend PRIDE events regularly,’ Barron said. ‘It’s true that sometimes the Catholic Church’s teachings can be challenging for some of us around queer issues, but on our campus we find ways to work together.’ “

5.  In a New York Times op-ed essay entitled,  “Can the Church Return to the Faithful?” transgender advocate Jennifer Finney Boylan laments the fact that almost all of her 25 Catholic adult cousins have left the church because of the institution’s all-too-often unwelcoming stance.

6.  A traditionalist Catholic missionary community has bought one of Paris’ well-known gay bars, and they plan to convert it to a church facility, reports London’s Independent newspaper.  The Texas Bar, in the heavily gay Toulon district, will serve as a facility for the nearby parish, Eglise Saint Francois de Paule.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,254 other followers