Can you help to make “A Better Life” for LGBT Christiants?

Twitter message receieved, from  Matt Lynn@MattLynn :

@queering_church May I ask 3 mins to share my struggle for LGBT equality? I’d sincerely appreciate it:

When gay Christians come out, to family or in church, experiences vary greatly.

I’ve been lucky: my own family, friends and employer were immensely supportive, as I knew they would be. Later, in assorted Catholic parishes, I’ve experienced nothing but good will, and in my present parish, a great deal of encouragement for my gay activism.

For some, it’s more difficult, especially in the more evangelical denominations. Matthew Vines met with resistance from his congregation and disappointment from his parents. They however remained supportive, and Matthew and his father embarked on a joint program of close study of the bible, which gave them to confidence to deal adequately with opposition – and led to first, a powerfuland effective video on homosexuality and the bible, and later to the Reformation Project.

Others have an even harder time, all too often ending in attempted or completed suicide, after meeting rejection from church, family and employer. “A Better Life” is the title of a proposed documentary film that tells the story of one such gay Christian whose coming out experience hit the depths – but has come through to tell the story, of how a better life is indeed possible, for all.


A Handy Guide to (Medieval) Sexual Sin

The simplest response to the regular claim that Catholic teaching is “constant and unchanging”, is this useful flowchart, based on the medieval penitentials, and originally published in Brundage’s book, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe .

Medieval sexual sin

We are all familiar with the standard Catholic formulation that sexual intercourse is only permitted with a person of the opposite sex, in marriage, and open to procreation. If that seems harsh to those who are gay, or loving and committed couples who are not yet married, or to married couples wanting to delay child – rearing, it’s far less repressive than the restrictions that were once imposed.

As the chart shows, these also excluded a prohibition on sexual intercourse during the solemn seasons of Lent and Advent, and also during Easter week and Whitsun (Pentecost) week, on feast days, fast days, Sundays, Fridays, Or Saturdays. Those restrictions alone leave fewer than one third of the days in the year when intercourse is permissible, for anyone. Family circumstances could impose further restrictions. Sex was also prohibited with wives who were menstruating, pregnant, or nursing.

Even during the appropriate times when marital intercourse was permitted, there where further restrictions on how it was to be conducted:

Only in darkness, fully clothed, in the missionary position, without “lewd kissing” and ideally without taking pleasure from the act.

Oddest of all the restrictions (but one easily managed) was the prohibition on doing it in church.


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Prominent English Religious Leaders “Rejoice” in Gay Marriage

As England and Wales geared up for the start of same – sex weddings as of midnight early today, the Cutting Edge Consortium and the LGBTI Anglican Coalition  held a press conference and issued a joint press release yesterday (Friday 28th), announcing that a range of religious leaders from diverse faith backgrounds had signed a letter of support for the dawn of marriage equality in England and Wales:

gay marriage, uk

We rejoice that from tomorrow same-sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales.

As persons of faith, we welcome this further development in our marriage law, which has evolved over the centuries in response to changes in society and in scientific knowledge.

We acknowledge that some (though not all) of the faith organisations to which we belong do not share our joy, and continue to express opposition in principle to such marriages. We look forward to the time, sooner rather than later, when all people of faith will feel able to welcome this development.

Martin Pendergast, chair of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, has released a statement in support, on behalf of CSCS:

The Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality(CSCS) welcomes the support for same-sex marriage expressed by a number of religious leaders from different faith communities in a statement issued today, 28 March 2014. CSCS would also like to highlight the growing acceptance of same-sex unions, including their religious celebration, by grass-roots believers, congregations, and organisations from a variety of faith traditions.

Irish Bishops Acknowledge Catholic “Disconnect” on Marriage, Family

The Irish bishops initially declined to publish any findings for the Irish responses to the global consultation on marriage and family, but have now reversed that decision. The summary of results that they have now released mirrors those from elsewhere that have been published – there is a major disconnect between the teaching as presented by the Church, and the lived experience of Catholics in the real world.

The Church’s teaching on marriage and family life is disconnected from the real-life experience of many Irish Catholics, the country’s bishops have acknowledged.

Giving a summary of the responses to the Vatican questionnaire, the Irish Bishops Conference said it is not experienced by many Catholics as “realistic, compassionate or life-enhancing”.

Many respondents expressed “particular difficulties” with the teachings on extra-marital sex and cohabitation by unmarried couples, divorce and remarriage, family planning, assisted human reproduction and homosexuality. Some found the Church’s position on these issues left them feeling “guilty and excluded,” the bishops said.

via The Tablet – News.

Michigan Judge Approves Gay Marriage / Adoption – For the Sake of the Children!

Just in – the Michigan plaintiffs wanting to marry and jointly adopt their existing three children have won their case.

 In less than a year since the Supreme Court decision striking down one section of Doma, by my count that’s ten states in which courts have ruled against all or part of their state bans on gay marriage: New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, Olahoma, Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee – and now Michigan.
De Boer - Rowse and family
This one is much more important than just the latest in the line of victories: It’s all about family, and the best interests of the children.

Italian Bishop: Celebrate the Richness of (Sexual) Diversity!

There is now a steadily expanding list of Catholic cardinals and bishops who have expressed some measure of support, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, for some form of civil unions or other legal recognition of same – sex couples. There will be many more who are privately coming around to this way of thinking without speaking up publicly, or who (like Pope Francis), believe that the issue needs more study before taking a position.

Archbishop Italo Castellani

Archbishop Italo Castellani

One notable exception to the standard cautious and guarded approval, has come from Archbishop Italo Castellani, of Lucca, Italy, who has described diversity as “richness” to which the church must open up (and the context makes clear that he was referring to sexual diversity). Unlike so many of his episcopal colleagues, he has been influenced in his thinking by the findings of science, and spells out the fundamental fact that this diversity is observable in nature.

Early in March, Archbishop Casetellani participated in a round table chat with a group of Italian journalists, moderated by a celebrated Vaticanist, broadcaster Raffaele Luise. Part of the discussion touched on same – sex couples.

The evening concluded with a debate in depth on the matter of homosexuality. Both Luise and the archbishop praise, in substance, the opening of the Church regarding gays and de facto couples. Particularly for Luise, it is necessary on this theme, “a cultural revolution, that contemplates the fact that homosexuality is not a deviancy, but a human attitude, and not just that, considering that almost 500 natural species display homosexuality.” “The new paradigm – says bishop Castellani – is that every diversity is richness. In my life as a parish priest, I saw and lived so many situations [and he describes a few]; and I am convinced that the time has come for Christians to open up to diversity.”

via Lucca in diretta, (English translation at Rorate Caeli).


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