Monday, July 20, 2015

We think it's a great list of quotes and resources, even if the ArchD of New Orleans no longer does.


 


After NWM posted a link to the archdiocesan lgbt ministry page...the page disappeared.  With this note:

Original file ‎ (1,712 × 2,050 pixels, file size: 656 KB, MIME type ...“The website and Facebook page for the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-Sex Orientation, also known as LGBT, have been deactivated. An unauthorized person was able to access the website and post information that contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church. We deeply regret that this has happened and are taking steps to secure the websites. Our mission is to represent accurately the teaching of the Bible and the Catholic Church and to provide ministry with integrity.
“We are very sorry that this misleading information has been posted and has caused confusion.”

FAQs

  1. Questions about LGBT and the Church
Questions about LGBT and the Church
  1. What is sexual orientation?
    • Sexual orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person…. [that is] easily distinguished from other components of sexuality including, biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female) and the social gender role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine or masculine behavior). American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, July 1998
    • Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality…. Psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or an emotional problem.American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, July 1998
    • A homosexual orientation produces a stronger emotional and sexual attraction toward members of the same sex, rather than those of the opposite sex. It does not totally rule out interest in, care for, and attraction toward members of the opposite sex. Having a homosexual orientation does not necessarily mean a person will engage in homosexual activity. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998

  2. Is sexual orientation a choice?
    • [H]uman beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. Sexual orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether or not to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.
      American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, July 1998
    • Some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation. US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, To Live In Christ Jesus, 1976
    • Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998
    • The number of people who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2358
    • Sexuality…is a fundamental dimension of every human being. It is reflected physiologically, psychologically, and relationally in a person’s gender identity as well as in one’s primary sexual orientation and behavior. For some young men and women, that means a discovery that one is homosexual… U.S. Catholic Conference, Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1990, p. 54

  3. What causes homosexuality?
    • [M]ost scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, it is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality… American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, July 1998
    • There seems to be no single cause of a homosexual orientation. A common opinion of experts is that there are multiple factors—genetic, hormonal, psychological—that may give rise to it. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998

  4. Why do some people discriminate against people with a homosexual orientation?
    • [F]alse, erroneous “myths” that foster discrimination against homosexual people:
    • Gay and lesbian people sustain certain common traits: e.g., certain “gay” names, voices, mannerisms and demeanors….
    • Homosexuality is caused by sinfulness….
    • Homosexuality is caused by mental illness….
    • Homosexuality is caused by an ingrained fear or dislike of the opposite sex.
    • Homosexuality is caused by recruitment: i.e., homosexuality- through-seduction….
    • All homosexual people are sexual addicts…
    • Homosexual people are unproductive and untrustworthy… Gerald D. Coleman, Homosexuality: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice [with Imprimatur], 1995, p. 133-4.
    • Over 35 years of objective, well-designed scientific research has shown that homosexuality, in and of itself, is not associated with mental disorders or emotional or social problems…. There is no evidence to suggest that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children. American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, July 1998

  5. Can a homosexual orientation be changed?
    • [H]omosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.
      American Psychological Association, Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality, July 1998
    • There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of “reparative therapy” as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation… American Psychiatric Association, Statement, Dec. 11, 1998
    • [We] oppose any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or “conversion” therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based on the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation. American Medical Association, Resolution, 2000
    • [I]t seems appropriate to understand sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual) as a deep-seated dimension of one’s personality and to recognize its relative stability in a person. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998
    • The United States Catholic Conference (USCC) talks of “those persons for whom homosexuality is a permanent, seemingly irreversible sexual orientation.” U.S. Catholic Conference, Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1990, p.54-55

  6. Is homosexuality a sin?
    • [H]omosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct…. must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained…. Their culpability will be judged with prudence.
      Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, 1975
    • Although the particular inclination of a homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”
      Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, #3
    • Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore, a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998
    • [H]omosexual acts cannot be fit objects for deliberate moral choice because they are always “disordered” in the scholastic or Thomistic sense [inconsistent with the end of the venereal act [intercourse], i.e., the begetting of children.]…. Archbishop John R. Quinn explains…: “[Objective disorder] is philosophical language. The inclination is a disorder because it is directed to an object [homosexual acts] that is disordered…. [T]he letter does not say that the homosexual person is disordered. The inclination, not the person, is described as disordered…. The document affirms the spiritual and human dignity of the homosexual person while placing a negative moral judgment on homosexual acts and a negative philosophical judgment on the homosexual inclination or orientation, which it clearly states is not a sin or moral evil.” Gerald D. Coleman, Homosexuality: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice [with Imprimatur], 1995 p.94.
    • I will say what the church teaches–that to be actively homosexual is wrong. But every one of us has to come to terms with church teaching and apply it to our own lives in light of our own conscience with the guidance of the church. I don’t make judgments about a gay person’s conscience any more than about the military man at a SAC air base or on a Trident submarine who would fire a nuclear weapon if ordered to. I think in some ways the church teaching on that is clearer than on homosexuality. Any act of war that would destroy an entire city indiscriminately is an abomination. That is what nuclear weapons are all about. Anybody who has the intention of using such weapons is, in my judgment, in a situation that is drastically evil. And yet I cannot judge another person’s conscience. If that person comes to communion, I cannot refuse. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, National Catholic Reporter, Nov. 4, 1994, p.6
    • In fact, circumstances may exist… which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual [engaged in homosexual activity] in a given instance. Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, #11
     
  7. Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?
    • The 1986 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Letter claims six scriptural passages say “homosexual behavior” is immoral (Gn 19:1-11; Lev 18:22, 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:9-10; Rom 1:26-27). But this is disputed by a number of biblical scholars and theologians.
    • Key points made by biblical scholars such as Derrick Bailey, Victor Paul Furnish, James P. Hanigan, Daniel Helminiak, H. Darrell Lance, and Robin Scroggs include:
      1. There are translation difficulties. For example, it was 1946 before the term “homosexual” first appeared in an English translation (1946 Revised Standard Version).
      2. Homosexuality is not a prominent biblical concern. The prophets, the gospels, and Jesus say nothing about homosexuality.
      3. These six scriptural texts are not in passages dealing with moral principles, but appear in contexts where the focus is something else. For example, most biblical scholars believe the primary sin of Sodom is inhospitality. Jesus implies that in Lk 10:8-12 (If not welcomed in town, wipe dust of feet in protest. “I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.”). None of the 21 later Hebrew Scripture references to Sodom even mention homosexual acts.
      4. The biblical writers had no concept of homosexual orientation. Scientists first began to understand homosexuality as an orientation in the mid-to-late 1800′s. To biblical writers same-sex sexual activity was probably considered the distorted acts of heterosexual people.
    • Summarized by Casey Lopata, Fortunate Families
      1. [T]he Bible takes no direct stand on the morality of homogenital acts as such nor on the morality of gay and lesbian relationships as we conceive them today…. That is all that can be said about biblical teaching on homosexuality. If people would still seek to know if gay and lesbian sex in itself is good or evil, if homogenital acts per se are right or wrong, they will have to look elsewhere for an answer. For the fact of the matter is simple enough. The Bible never addresses that question. More than that, the Bible seems deliberately unconcerned about it. Theologian Daniel Helminiak, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, April 2000, p.132-33
      2. While the Scriptures… yield at most a strong presumptive bias against homosexual acts, the texts alone… do not settle the issue of morality of homosexual behavior and relationships beyond all question. One is forced to agree, at least in a qualified way, with [Union Theological Seminary scripture scholar Robin] Scroggs’ conclusion that “Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today’s debate. They should no longer be used in… discussions about homosexuality… not because the Bible is not authoritative, but simply because it does not address the issues involved.” Duquesne moral theologian James P. Hanigan, The Test Case for Christian Social Ethics, 1987, summing up the conclusions of a number of scholars, p.41
     
  8. Does a person commit a sin if he or she engages in sexual activity outside of marriage?
    • Homosexual activity… as distinguished from homosexual orientation, is morally wrong. Like heterosexual persons, homosexuals are called to give witness to chastity, avoiding, with God’s grace, behavior which is wrong for them, just as nonmarital sexual relations are wrong for heterosexuals. Nonetheless because heterosexuals can usually look forward to marriage, and homosexuals…might not, the Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care. US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, To Live In Christ Jesus, 1976
    • In fact, circumstances may exist… which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual [engaged in homosexual activity] in a given instance. Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, #11
    • For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1857
    • Pastoral care does not consist simply in the rigid and automatic application of objective moral norms. It considers the individual in his (or her) actual situation, with all his (or her) strengths and weaknesses. The decision of conscience… can only be made after prudent consideration of the real situation as well as the moral norm… the pastoral counselling of homophile persons cannot ignore the objective morality of homosexual genital acts, but it is important to interpret them, to understand the pattern of life in which they take place, to appreciate the personal meaning which these acts have for different people… Catholic Bishops of England and Wales Catholic Social Welfare Commission, An Introduction to the Pastoral Care of Homosexual People, 1979
    • When one is dealing with people who are so predominately homosexual that they will be in serious personal and perhaps social trouble unless they attain a steady partnership within their homosexual lives, one can recommend them to seek such a partnership and one accepts this relationship as the best they can do in their present situation.
      Fr. Jan Visser, co-author of the 1975 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, quoted by Sean O’Riordan, C.Ss.R., in The ‘Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics’: A Discussion, James McManus, C.Ss.R., Sean O’Riordan, CSs.R., and Henry Stratton, The Clergy Review, London, June 1976, v. 61, no. 6, p. 233.
    • The pastor may distinguish between irresponsible, indiscriminate sexual activity and the permanent association between two homosexual persons, who feel incapable of enduring a solitary life devoid of sexual expression. This distinction may be borne in mind when offering pastoral advice and establishing the degree of responsibility….
      Catholic Bishops of England and Wales Catholic Social Welfare Commission, An Introduction to the Pastoral Care of Homosexual People, 1979

  9. What about conscience?
    • A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his [sic] conscience. If he were to deliberately act against it, he would condemn himself. Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1790
    • If a man (sic) is admonished by his own conscience—even an erroneous conscience, but one whose voice appears to him as unquestionable—he must always listen to it. What is not permissible is that he culpably indulge in error without trying to reach the truth. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, 1994, p. 191
    • Deep within a person’s conscience one discovers a law which one has not laid upon one’s self but which one must obey. Its voice, ever calling the person to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in that person’s heart at the right moment. . . . For one has in his or her heart a law inscribed by God. . . . One’s conscience is one’s most secret core and one’s sanctuary. There one is alone with God whose voice echoes in that person’s depths. Gaudium et spes, par 16; also Catholic Catechism, #1776
    • Above the pope as an expression of the binding claim of Church authority, stands one’s own conscience, which has to be obeyed first of all, if need be against the demands of Church authority. Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI); from a commentary on “Gaudium et Spes” (“The Church in the Modern World”); Published in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II (Vorgrimler, Herbert – Ed, Burns and Oats, 1969, p. 134

  10. Can an openly gay person be a faithful Catholic?
    • [Homosexual persons] have a right to respect, friendship and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community… [B]ecause heterosexuals can usually look forward to marriage, and homosexuals… might not, the Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care.
      US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, To Live In Christ Jesus, 1976
    • [A]ll homosexual persons have a right to be welcomed into the community, to hear the word of God, and to receive pastoral care. Homosexual persons living chaste lives should have opportunities to lead and serve the community…. Chastity means integrating one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, in the area of human sexuality, in a way that values and respects one’s own dignity and that of others. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998
    • To our homosexual brothers and sisters…. We are called to become one body, one spirit, in Christ. We need one another if we are to “…grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:15-16). Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998


   11.  Are civil rights for homosexual people special rights?
  • Homosexual [persons] have a right to respect, friendship and justice.
    US Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, To Live In Christ Jesus, 1976; and U.S. Catholic Conference, Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1990, p.55
  • The teaching of the church makes it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any form of injustice, oppression, or violence against them. It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination…. Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998
  • The number of people who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2358
  • We call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about homosexuality and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons. U.S. Catholic Conference, Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1990, p.55
  • Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Third Printing, Revised, June 1998
  • Seventeen states (CA, CT, HI IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NV, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA, and WI) and the District of Columbia have laws that forbid discrimination against gay and lesbian people in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations. Except for MD, NV, NH, WI, and NY in some cases, they also forbid discrimination based on gender identity. In other states, employers can legally fire persons who simply self-identify as gay, regardless of job performance. Human Rights Campaign web site


  12.  Can Church teaching on homosexuality ever change?
  • No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless it is clearly defined as such. Code of Canon Law, 1983, Canon 749 §3
  • We need to learn more about this reality. I think the church’s present disposition is based on a certain body of facts and experience that’s to be honored and I intend to honor it. But we need to continue learning from new facts and new experiences and I don’t know with enormous clarity what tomorrow’s church might say about the issue we’re talking about today. Bishop Matthew H. Clark, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Feb. 19, 1997
  • That development has occurred in the past is beyond dispute…. [T]hese five examples illustrate the development of moral values so that the impermissible becomes permissible (certain marriages, once classed as adulterous; lending with the intention to profit from the loan); the permissible becomes impermissible (slaveholding; the common use of the death penalty); and the obligatory becomes forbidden (the state repression of heresy). The developments depend, in part, on changes in social conditions. They also depend, in part, on change in perspective and theological analysis. For example, the developments on usury were facilitated by analyzing not the loan transaction but looking at the loan from the perspective of the lender. The developments on adultery were facilitated by discovering in the pope a power to dissolve certain marriages. The developments on the death penalty, religious liberty and slavery were facilitated by greater insight into the demands of human nature. In every instance, too, it may fairly be contended, the developments have reflected a deeper insight into the Gospel, a fuller realization of its message, a greater conformity to Christ. John T. Noonan Jr., “On the Development of Doctrine,” America, April 3, 1999
  • [T]he Church can combat the evil of prejudice against homosexuals by strongly proclaiming the gross evil of prejudicial attitudes and conduct toward lesbians and gays; by fostering legislation…to remove systemic prejudice; by making efforts to purify of all prejudice the manner in which it conveys its moral teaching on homosexuality; by encouraging empirical research on homosexuality and the ways to combat prejudice against lesbians and gays; and by fostering ongoing theological research and criticism, with regard to its own theological tradition on homosexuality, none of which is infallibly taught.
    Washington State Catholic Conference, The Prejudice Against Homosexuals and the Ministry of the Church, 1983, 2b
  •  
  •  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lgbt.arch-no.org/faqs&oq=cache:lgbt.arch-no.org/faqs&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.7767j0j1&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8
  •  https://newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/archdiocese-of-new-orleans-missing-lgbt-webpage-mystery-is-partially-solved-but-questions-remain/

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Catholics Across US Celebrate Win for Marriage Equality   

The ruling comes after historic victories in predominantly Catholic Ireland and Mexico.

June 26, 2015—Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic organizations committed to LGBT equality in the church and civil society, applauds the US Supreme Court’s ruling that states same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry.

Members of the Equally Blessed Coalition had this to say about the recent ruling:
"Call To Action is elated with today's Supreme Court outcome. Finally all loving and committed partners and families will be recognized fully and equally. Call To Action embraces a Church rooted in welcome, inclusivity, equality and justice for everyone. This decision reflects those Gospel values," said Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director of Call to Action.

“As Catholics, we celebrate the increase in justice that this ruling ushers in. We rejoice with all of the couples and families who will be able to access the legal protections that marriage will afford them. Mostly, we are thrilled that the Supreme Court has recognized that the love and commitment of same-sex couples is absolutely equal to that of other couples,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA.

“Fortunate Families celebrates with our LGBT children the opportunity to share in the same rights as their straight siblings. The Supreme Court decision brings legal stability to our children's lives and security to our grandchildren. We applaud this decision and continue our work in the Catholic tradition seeking social justice for all our children, and we look forward to the next hurdle, the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” Deb Word, President of Fortunate Families.

“New Ways Ministry applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for standing up for the American values of fairness and equality and the Catholic values of human dignity and family. This is a great day not only for lesbian and gay couples, but for all Americans, especially Catholics across the country who have worked tirelessly on state marriage equality campaigns to secure equality for their lesbian and gay friends and family members,” said Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day reflection!

At the celebration of the life of our friend and board member Michael Harmuth, his son Sean spoke.  Sean was quietly reflective, talking about Dad's influence on him growing up...and with apologies to Sean for not this exactly right, (instead, I have to give you the gist, since I don't have a copy of his words) I want to share a story he shared.
 Michael Harmuth
Sean: My first memories of my dad were at the beach.
We were little sitting in the sand digging...like kids do. The hole we were digging was getting pretty deep. Elizabeth was there, she wasn't worried, she kept digging.  The sides were pretty deep, I was beginning to worry, how would we get out?  Elizabeth just kept digging...and the hole we were sitting in kept getting deeper...
The two big hands reached down and pulled me out of the hole.  Dad, I was safe.  Dad.

When getting ready for the service and the slide show, I found a photo from that day.   Right before dad pulled me out, he stopped and took a photo.
The hole was about 2 inches deep.   (we all chuckled)

But the feeling was real, Sean said.  Dad made me feel safe.  And loved.  Dad always made me feel safe.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was thinking about Sean's reflection this morning.
Our daddy made us feel safe too.
Dad's job is to love, guide, discipline, provide and make us feel safe.
Some dad's are great at the job.
Some fall short with the best intentions.
Some just fail miserably.  

If you know a child of the last type of dad, go out of your way to guide and mentor...to love, and to make that child feel safe.   We can't fix all dads, but we can reach out to our children, All our children and help them to feel safe.   It's a frightening world out there! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michael tried very hard to help others understand how important it is for kids to feel safe.  I'll leave you with his words
http://www.fortunatefamilies.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/2013%20April%20Newsletter.pdf

Sunday, June 14, 2015

On Pilgrimage, What is “Normal” and Variation


As we approach the World Meeting of Families this September in Philadelphia I have been thinking of our LGBT Pilgrims who have agreed to journey to Philadelphia. They are doing their pilgrimage to serve as a witness to the Church and the world of how God is present to their experience, their committed relationships and their spirituality.


All this made me think of the Holy Family, who made at least two pilgrimages that we know of. The first was to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The second was to Jerusalem where Jesus “lost” himself on the way, to be found in the temple questioning his elders. What strikes me about the Holy Family is how non-traditional and prophetic this family is. First, Mary becomes pregnant without human intervention. Imagine in today’s world: Mary as a single mother teaching in a Catholic school trying to explain her pregnancy to diocesan officials. Second, her betrothed and future husband decides to marry her to avoid scandal. Would this have prevented Mary from being fired? Our tradition teaches that theirs was a loving but non sexual relationship, something that goes beyond the expected sexual complementarity and “binary” ideal of today’s Church teaching. Third, Mary gives birth to a child who is precocious, to say the least, prophetic and who remains single all his life (in a culture where marriage was the highest values).

I am currently reading Sr. Elizabeth’s A. Johnson’s “Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love”, which is an extended reflection on Darwin’s Origin of the Species. It was clear to Darwin that nature created variation again and again. The implication is that variation is perhaps God’s way of ensuring ongoing creation. But this is challenging. Right when we think we can nail down what is “normal” in creation, nature says, “Wait a minute, look at this variation I’ve come up with”. In nature variation is the norm. For Darwin, there is no “normal” or “abnormal”, just variation. Variation is a celebrated outcome of creation. God imbues creation with goodness. Variation is nature’s way of continuing the Spirit’s ongoing renewal of the earth and the human community. Variation leads to adaptability and resilience in creation.

Think of people who are born left handed. At one point in our history we defined left-handedness as abnormal and wrong. Today, we understand left-handedness as a variation that nature gives the human community. The same is true for LGBT persons; being LGBT is a different way of fully loving another person. If only those in the hierarchy would be inspired to change their language and delete from their vocabulary words such as “abnormal”, “disordered” and “depraved” our LGBT community would feel much more accepted and loved by the Church.

How does this apply to the Holy Family? God seems to be saying the same thing, “I have come up with a unique, prophetic variation on what it means to be family, a variation where there is unity but which goes beyond the “normal” expectations of complementarity and binary expression. And because God’s creation is good, this same prophetic impulse seems to be embedded in the way nature expresses itself. Variation is the name of the game. Our LGBT children are calling us to move beyond culturally exclusive words like “normal” ‘abnormal” “ordered, “disordered”, “deviant” and “depraved” to a more inclusive vocabulary.

Perhaps nature itself is calling us to reflect on the prophetic variation of being an LGBT person. Variation is anything but abnormal or deviant; embracing the LGBT person as “holy” and gifted allows our own cultural expressions to evolve and grow. Can nature and God be saying, “LGBT relationships have always been a human variation on what it means to love fully and completely”? Variation is not “bad or evil”, it is of God. It allows the human community to stretch and love more deeply. Nature seems to be saying about LGBT persons: “here is a love that goes beyond your traditional notions of binary and complementarity. Learn from it, embrace it”.

This September we have our LGBT pilgrims arriving in Philadelphia, some of whom are in committed loving relationships. They are there to proclaim that God is present to their commitment and love. Wouldn’t it be great if the hierarchy listened to their stories? They would see that our LGBT sons and daughters also show the love of God for humanity and creation in the way they love their partners. They might also understand that their unions are prophetic witnesses to the variety of ways a person can love fully. They might also acknowledge that these unions are as holy as any straight unions; and that, with straight people, LGBT people are called to embrace their own call to holiness. Let’s challenge the Bishops to embrace the notion of pilgrimage and decide to walk more closely with our LGBT children. Let’s continue to dream of deeper inclusion and acceptance.


Tony Garascia

Friday, June 5, 2015

After our application was rejected...the second time, we wrote this.


May 21, 2015

Most Reverend Vincenzo Paglia
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
00153 Roma, Piazza S Calisto, 16

Dear Archbishop Paglia,

I write to you on behalf of Fortunate Families, a group of Catholic parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children and their loved ones. Our mission is to support other parents as they struggle with their child being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We have parents across the country willing to listen, support and let parents know they are not alone in their love for their children and our Church.

We are pleased to be able to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia later this year. Because we could not be part of the program, we will be hosting two off-site meetings for Catholic parents of LGBT children. You and Pope Francis are most welcome to join us, and please pray for the success of our gatherings.

We had hoped that there would be a part of the World Meeting devoted to families who love and welcome their LGBT children regardless of the state of their relationships. We are concerned that the voices of those families will not be heard.

We attempted to secure a booth in the exhibit hall, applying first in September of 2014, and again early this year. After many attempts to confirm our exhibit space, we were finally told our application was rejected. No one at the World Meeting of Families has been willing to tell us why. We have repeatedly requested an explanation and reconsideration and were recently advised by their representative at the exhibition company to forward to her any information we wanted the committee to consider. I have attached the e-mail I sent to the committee.

Excellency, we ask you to review this e-mail and advise us how we may share our love and support at the World Meeting of Families. We believe our message is one often overlooked by clergy who seem more concerned about the possibility of civil same gender marriage than they are about the health and safety of our children. Fortunate Families does not seem to be welcome at this most wonderful gathering of families, and we don't know why! We have no intent of sharing anything outside of church teaching. We love our children, and understand that this love is often the only thing keeping a gay child from rejection, risky behavior and suicide.

For our children, grandchildren and our Church , please help us.
Catholic Families fostering respect, friendship and justice for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender loved ones.

Excellency, we hear Pope Francis challenge our church to reach out to the marginalized…
That is what our group does.
We hear Pope Francis say we must help parents of children who are gay…
That is what our group does.
We hear our church say, “All are welcome.”…
Yet, we are not.
We ask for your thoughts on this matter and seek your guidance and prayers. Any assistance you might provide would be most appreciated.
We continue to pray that the World Meeting of Families will reach out to all families. Even those on the margins. If we can be of any help to you in the future when addressing the issue of parents and families with LGBT children, please call on us anytime.
Thank you for your vision and outreach. Asking Your Excellency's blessing, I am,
Yours respectfully in Christ,


On behalf of the board of directors.
Deb Word, President


Text of our email sent to the World Meeting of Families exhibit space committee after rejection without explanation.  
To: exhibit@worldmeeting2015.org Subject: What I would like them to know.  
Date: Tue, 12 May 2015 07:38:14 -0500  
Without knowing the grounds for rejection - this is what we want them to know.  
  
Fortunate Families:  
We are Catholic parents with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children supporting others like us to affirm, celebrate and seek equality for our families. Our faith journey calls us to strive for justice for all our children.  
  
We want to share our message of unconditional love for our families...  
We would have handouts that explain that rejected gay kids commit suicide 8.9x more often than those who are not rejected.   
We would share handouts that share the same message the bishops wrote in Always our Children. We would share handouts that tell parents that there is a listening parent network, of parents across the country who are sharing the same journey, walking the same land mines with our kids...Parents who will listen to tears and anger and fear. Catholic Parents...CATHOLIC kids.  
  
We are really not a scary group.    
We are parents and grandparents... we know the pain of hearing that our children have been harassed or  denied because of their orientation- or Perceived orientation.    
Some of us know the pain of kids who have been bullied and assaulted.  
Some of us know the pain of the loss of a child to suicide.   
Some of us have housed children discarded by their own families.  
We can share that pain and that part of the journey with others who might just be hearing or figuring out that they have a gay child.  
  
Why are you afraid of us....we are just like you.... except, we have a gay child. And we love that child, and we aren't afraid of that child.  
And we love our church, and we don't think we have to choose church vs child.  
  
And our ministry is a blessing to the mother of a 9 yr old who wrote last week, worried that her child will be bullied in Catholic school and at the Catholic girl scout troop.  
And our ministry is a blessing to the mother of the transgender child who was weeping so deeply that it took 5 minutes to even understand what was causing her pain.  
And our ministry is a blessing to those who think they have to leave their beloved church...  
  
We are parents and grandparents who use our personal funds to travel, our personal vacation time to reach out, our personal stories to help others begin the journey of healing.  

We are not frightening people.  Our church has nothing to fear from the parents and grandparents who make up the board of Fortunate Families.  
  
We would like the committee to reconsider our application.  
We would like to talk to a member of that committee if possible.  To allay fears, and to confirm our intent bears no ill will.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

And NO is the final answer-unless something/someone intervenes

Mary Beth Yount
030 – “No” means NO, not “You’re an idiot!”
5/27/15

To: Deb Word
Hi Deb,

Thank you for your follow-up. We appreciate your perspective but we must stand by the decision related to your exhibitor application.

Blessings,
Mary Beth