02Feb “We need to stop sending mixed messages on important issues.”

“We need to stop sending mixed messages on important issues.”

Association of Catholic Priests

Friday 2 February 2018

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) regrets both the removal of pictures of same-sex couples from World Meeting of Families (WMOF) booklets circulated to Irish parishes and the barring of the former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, from a conference to be held in the Vatican on “Why Women Matter.”

While it is unclear by whose direction the booklet was amended, it runs directly counter to the effort to extend the definition of family to include same-sex couples and to welcome them, as all Catholics are welcomed, to participate in the WMOF.

This decision has significantly damaged the recent tentative efforts ­ by Pope Francis and others ­ to welcome back and encourage LGBT Catholics and to begin the process of undoing the insensitive treatment they have received in the past. The crude nature of their effective exclusion from the WMOF is embarrassing in the extreme.

Equally embarrassing is the effort to silence the voice of those who seek to convince our Church that women “have the expertise, skills and gifts to play a full leadership role in the Church” as is also the implied dismissal of Mary McAleese.

While both decisions are clearly part of the fall-out from the present struggle in our Church ­ between those who support the reform programme of Pope Francis and those who seek to block it ­ it is unacceptable that individuals and associations can exert such undue influence and be allowed to do so much damage.

Our Church is paying a high price in pandering to such extremes. In our efforts to reform the Church, we simply cannot afford such mixed signals.

44 Responses

  1. Frances Burke

    I welcome the above statement by the ACP and I also welcome Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s statement earlier today in relation to the Vatican’s treatment of President McAleese.
    All these ‘own goals’ are totally off putting to the general public and it is about time that the Church heirarcy started singing from the same hymn sheet (to pardon the pun)

    • Mary Vallely

      Good to read this statement from the ACP and also the recent statements from WAC. Both actions, the removal of the same sex images from the WMoF booklet and the barring of Mary McAleese and two others are simply unjust. We need to speak out against injustice. How can we call ourselves Christ followers if we let this go without protesting? There is the danger of becoming indifferent and God forgive us if we allow ourselves to slip into this soul-destroying state of not seeming to care.

      • Mary Burke

        Some media outlets have suggested that Drimnagh, Dublin-born, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a former member of the Legionaries of Christ, was responsible for the banning of Mrs McAleese.

        If it’s true it’s doubly disappointing. First of all, because Rev Farrell is an appointee of Pope Francis.

        Secondly, it’s demoralising to see one Irish person being blocked from speaking at an international event by another Irish person.

        Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s statement that the decision was taken without consultation of him or his office is a clear articulation of unhappiness at the decision.

        • Paddy Ferry

          I completely agree with Frances and both Marys. Definitely a sad state of affairs but one we must raise our voices in protest against.
          I was never quite sure of the idea of Farrell being a Francis type bishop –he is, after all, a member of the notorious Legion of Christ, unless I am mistaken.

          • iggy o'donovan

            For folks who have been at the diplomatic game and all it entails for so long it beggars belief that the Vatican can so often come across as so inept. It is so baffling from a simple public relations point of view that they would commit such a gaffe on International Womans Day by snubbing former President McAleese. For people who can be pragmatists when it suits how can they be guilty of such crass stupidity shooting themselves in the foot like this.? Are they past the point where any reform is possible in spite of Francis’s best intentions.? The Irish bishops face a real possibility that the Family gig in August will be a flop if this is the message coming from Rome. . Did they not read the signs of the times in the equality referendum two years ago? I have no doubt the conference in Rome on March 8th will be a huge success even though it has to be held outside the elegant surroundings of the Vatican. Elegant no doubt but is it not elegant imbecility?

            • Anne

              Whoever is responsible for this latest insult to Mary McAleese has to to living in a parallel universe. They are alienating more and more people and doing tremendous damage to the Catholic Church’s image.

              • Paddy Ferry

                This piece from NCR explains how Mary will now be the keynote speaker but with the conference now relocated outside the Vatican.

                https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-rejects-three-women-speakers-voices-faith-conference

                • Conor

                  It is right that the pictures of same sex couples were removed and that mary mcaleese was banned. Gay people should be welcomed back to the church on the basis that they are converted. We can not send mixed messages by placing pictures of same sex couples in the magazine when it goes against all the teachings of God and of the Catholic church. It is the people who need to change and conform to the church. If they don’t like it then they can leave. But they can not expect the church to change to suit their sinful desires. We can not play God for a fool.

                  • Mary Vallely

                    God is no fool, Conor @8. Each one of us is made in the image of God and he gave us an example of how to treat one another in the life of His son, Jesus. As we know Jesus sought to seek out the company of all those regarded as lesser mortals in the period in which he lived, women, cripples, tax collectors… Could you imagine him ever banning one of them from his presence!

                    The barring of the three women from speaking at the Vatican shows the fear and deep misogynistic streak at the heart of institutional Catholicism. It’s particularly sad when the decision was made by an Irishman but not really surprising. I wonder sometimes if the fact that we live on an island that the water which surrounds us helps keep us in an infantile position as if we were being rocked in a cradle, listening to the lapping of the waters, and protected from having to think for ourselves and able to pull the blanket over our heads if we want to avoid uncomfortable conversations. “That’s an Irish lullaby!”

                    The hypocrisy in the Church is not just sad, but iniquitous. We know that there are many families in irregular relationships, many priests who are not just gay (does it matter?!!) but actively gay and the idea that this WMoF is going to put on one big holy and glossy show to the world without reflecting the actual reality of life here in Ireland in 2018 is just a joke. Where is the welcome for those who do not fit the norm, those who are different, those who struggle more than most for acceptance? Where do we see reflected the love and respect for each other which is at the root of our Christian belief? Would Jesus have shut the doors on anyone like Mary McAleese, a loving mother, fervent Christ follower, never mind a theologian well able to articulate her thoughts, to argue, to listen to and engage with an audience. To my mind it is still those two evils of hypocrisy and misogyny that are the greatest obstacles to holding us back.

                    We are supposed to be working at eradicating poverty and homelessness, all the IMPORTANT issues, not wasting most of our time on matters of sexuality but I could not let Conor’s comment pass without responding. Absolutely no disrespect intended to someone whose opinion is very different from my own and I am sure as honestly held. Do you not think that these two recent actions have caused enormous hurt to many people and will have done huge damage to the reputation and image of the Church? Worst of all however is the fact that many more will run away from the Church as they do not see the love and compassion of God reflected there.

                    • Joe O'Leary

                      “It is the people who need to change and conform to the church. If they don’t like it then they can leave.”

                      An admirable motto for the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, one of whose great defenders Germain Grisez has just passed on.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germain_Grisez

                      • Joe O'Leary

                        After all the church has got on quite well without women for hundreds of years, so what is to prevent it getting on equally well without any people at all?

                        • Paddy Ferry

                          Mary@9, really excellent, especially para.3. I just could not bring myself to respond to Conor.

                          • Frances Burke

                            I agree with you Paddy. I couldn’t respond to Conor either.

                            Sure what role have women had in the Catholic Church anyway only to do a bit Mass going and tidying up and passing on the faith. Haven’t we been happy for thousands of years to let the men call the shots. Sure aren’t women only about 2/3rds of the congregation in Church. Sure we would hardly be missed if we stopped going.

                            • Kevin Walters

                              Mary Vallely @ 9

                              As you are aware Mary I am in agreement with many of your concerns in regards to misogyny.
                              Also, no I could not imagine Him barring any one from His presence who sort Him out, but in doing so would they listen to His voice (Teaching), would they form a trusting relationship with Him and if so what would form the basis of that relationship, as in family, so we are not wasting our time when we apply (Seek) His will with regards to family relationships.

                              Jesus is adamant in his opposition to divorce as the marriage bond forms a natural bond with God that incorporates the ongoing inherent Birth-right of each and every new born individual the love of a male and female parent, does not the teaching given by Jesus form the bed rock of our sexual morality, that we should all adhere to, for the common good of all of mankind?

                              How often do we see, hear and read of children and mothers who were separated from each other often at birth, and then spend a lifetime trying to reconnect.
                              Same sex partners cannot create a biological bond that incorporates the Birth-right that each and every one is entitled to, and this fundamental right has to be upheld vigorously by the Church.

                              For Christians to have a trusting relationship with others, we ‘firstly’ must form a relationship with Gods unchanging Mind, we do this when we acknowledge and try to live in accord to His inviolate Word (Will); as this forms the basis of our Christian conscience.

                              Would Jesus have shut the doors on anyone? I believe the answer is no, but He would expect you to acknowledge in humility your state of being before Him, you would not try to justify your fallen nature in regards to our Fathers Will

                              “Worst of all however is the fact that many more will run away from the Church as they do not see the love and compassion of God reflected there”

                              I believe that our Lord Himself has given the Church the means to show the true face of Jesus Christ, a merciful face that is capable of embracing all of her children, in their brokenness, while encouraging us to grow spiritually.

                              kevin your brother
                              In Christ

                              • Barry

                                Well said Conor. Very surprising that the ACP would come out with something like this.
                                Mrs McAleese clearly doesn’t agree with Catholic teaching and in not allowing her to speak at the Vatican is the correct course of action.Good on the Irish Priest for preventing her from speaking.Seldom does anyone get applause when they stand up for Gods laws

                                • Kenny

                                  I completely agree Conor. People should all be respected, but to say same sex relationships are *the same as,*man and woman is clearly not truth.

                                  • Michael Maginn

                                    PHOENIX PARK
                                    January 2018

                                    Two women of my acquaintance,
                                    living together.

                                    I have no interest
                                    in their sexual orientation
                                    or any knowledge of the same.

                                    But I know this: for several years
                                    they have generously welcomed
                                    a succession of vulnerable children
                                    into their home.

                                    Will this family
                                    be welcomed at Phoenix Park,
                                    or relegated to the dark?
                                    ——————–
                                    On February 2, 2018, the Association of Catholic Priests issued a statement of regret that previously included pictures of same-sex couples had been removed from World Meeting of Family booklets distributed to Irish parishes in an amended edition. The main event for the Meeting will be held at Phoenix Park Dublin, August 2018.

                                    • Lloyd Allan MacPherson

                                      Kevin @ 14 a question for you. Do you think sexuality is a “choice” that people make or is it something they feel in their hearts for others?

                                      Upholding rights is the most important thing the church does and I guess I’m concerned that some people think that Jesus’s teachings did not form a basis of doing all we can to uncover what these rights are in today’s day and age. Think, the ten commandments original version of adultery did not include the prohibition of sex with slaves.

                                      • Joe O'Leary

                                        The fundies are out in force. Indonesia is going down the tubes: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/01/31/indonesia-is-set-to-ban-gay-sex/

                                        But Ireland was there not so long ago.

                                        The Legionary fundies in the Vatican cannot forgive Mary McAleese for her role in securing for Irish gays the right to marry. And of course those most het up about that are in all likelihood gay themselves.

                                        “People should all be respected, but to say same sex relationships are *the same as,* man and woman is clearly not truth.” Biological fundamentalism here — “equal” is not the same as “the same”. There are lots of gay couples who are every bit as loving as straight ones, and all should have the right to try to form such relationships. I wonder does the “respect” here exist only in outer space, and whether the one advertising his respect has any friends among gay couples?

                                        “Mrs McAleese clearly doesn’t agree with Catholic teaching and in not allowing her to speak at the Vatican is the correct course of action.” Oddly enough a right-wing female theologian in on the International Theological Commission; she disagrees with Pope Francis’s teaching in Amoris Laetitia and insinuates he is heretical. It’s a set of unintelligent hang-ups that call the shots about who’s welcome and who’s not. The deep realities of orthodoxy have nothing to do with it.

                                        “Good on the Irish Priest for preventing her from speaking.” Yup, silence that woman! As if we had not enough poisonous silence in Ireland (and in Australia too).

                                        “Would Jesus have shut the doors on anyone? I believe the answer is no, but He would expect you to acknowledge in humility your state of being before Him, you would not try to justify your fallen nature in regards to our Father’s Will.”

                                        The story of the Centurion and his pais (boyfriend) gives much food for thought on this.

                                        “Same sex partners cannot create a biological bond that incorporates the Birth-right that each and every one is entitled to, and this fundamental right has to be upheld vigorously by the Church.”

                                        So by this logic any couple in which the woman is past the age of child-bearing is a second class couple, or should not even be allowed to wed?

                                        Conor, Kevin, Barry, and Kenny clearly have not thought out the situations and rights of the people they are pontificating about. They relay on knee-jerk fundamentalistic pieties. This is a failure in honesty and humanity.

                                        • Sandra mc Sheaffrey

                                          Thanks, Mary Vallely @ 8. These words come to me: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Presuming the First Person is God, who is/are the “you” ? Some? Or all?

                                          • mjt

                                            Sandra mc Sheaffrey@20 That “some” might be “many”? Well,it has been since the present translation was imposed, rather than your “all”.

                                            • Anne

                                              The Vatican has not succeeded in silencing Mary McAleese . She is now the keynote speaker , the Conference is going ahead at a nearbyvenue and no amount of money could pay for all the publicity their refusal have given her and will continue to get now that the spotlight is on her.

                                              • Paddy Ferry

                                                Brilliant Joe@19, all brilliant but I especially like the sentence “And of course those most het up about that are in all likelihood gay themselves.” How very, very true.

                                                • Joe O'Leary

                                                  Let’s hope she gives a great speech, like this one: http://entertainment.ie/trending/news/Watch-Mary-McAleese-gives-impassioned-speech-calling-for-Yes-vote-in-marriage-equality-referendum/365122.htm

                                                  • iggy o'donovan

                                                    Joe @24. Yes I think you are on to something. Mrs McAleese made one or two vital interventions in the marriage-equality referendum. Her role was pivotal I believe. Hence the Roman retribution which has backfired spectacularly. If the line up for the August gathering in Dublin is as “inclusive” as we are lead to believe then would not McAleese be a superb speaker to be invited along.

                                                    • Lloyd Allan MacPherson

                                                      I think the next title we see from the ACP is “We need to start sending messages on all important issues.” I love the fact that the world meeting of families is shaping up to be centred around addressing “sexuality” thanks to organisers but we should equally be promoting Sean McDonagh’s work on the environment within our communities.

                                                      The topic of “sexuality” is usually a feeding frenzy on this site and others. The environment gets little feedback and is seen as political when this is talking about the lives of living and breathing individuals in today’society – people who are taken from us early because of pollution and systemic living conditions that are promoted by government and business owner alike.

                                                      The kids have already been educated beyond our understanding on sexuality. If the Catholic Church is being built on that generation who distinguishes love on a binary level, it is doomed. If parents can’t “adult-up” at this time and address pollution, care for the environment and the poor, we are all doomed.

                                                      • Kevin Walters

                                                        Joe O’Leary @ 19

                                                        “The story of the Centurion and his pais (boyfriend) gives much food for thought on this”…

                                                        Jesus did not impose any preconceived idea of judgement on any one he cured or helped, rather He looked for faith as in belief in the Goodness of God.

                                                        “So by this logic any couple in which the woman is past the age of child-bearing is a second class couple, or should not even be allowed to wed?”

                                                        God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him’”

                                                        And could be described as a yearning given by God, of mutual male and female compatibility

                                                        kevin your brother
                                                        In Christ

                                                        • Margaret Hickey

                                                          Lloyd @18 sexuality is a choice. If it wasn’t then infidelity would be completely blameless.
                                                          Iggy @25, Mary McA. did indeed make critical interventions during the marriage referendum, facilitated by a subservient and partial media who gave her uncontested airwave space not like the ‘No’ campaigners who had to defend their positions against truculent moderators (so called) and even more truculent opponents who were protected from hard questions. Expect to see a re run of the pattern over the next few months. Oh yes and some clergymen got the same media space, free run, no opposition as long as they were on the ‘ yes’ side of the debate. Anyone who thinks clericalism died with Sixties priests needs a reality check.

                                                          • Joe O'Leary

                                                            Gays and lesbians have not received this “yearning” for the other sex, as you know. The God of the Yahwist shows a motherly concern that the man would not be alone, and having first tried the animals as possible companions for him, he comes up with the woman as the “help meet for him” (KJV), “a helper as his partner” (NRSV). This language of companionship is used also of covenants of same-sex friendship as between Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan. The topic here is companionship, not procreation (which the Yahwist does not mention at all!). Why ruin the deeply human utterances of this biblical source by making them sound restrictive and disapproving?

                                                            • Joe O'Leary

                                                              “sexuality is a choice. If it wasn’t then infidelity would be completely blameless.” Do we need to clarify that “sexuality” was used by Lloyd in the sense of sexual orientation or sexual desire, not in the sense of sexual acts?

                                                              “Mary McA. did indeed make critical interventions during the marriage referendum, facilitated by a subservient and partial media who gave her uncontested airwave space not like the ‘No’ campaigners who had to defend their positions against truculent moderators (so called) and even more truculent opponents who were protected from hard questions.”

                                                              Surely the No side made their case over and over again, so that its weaknesses were manifest? The real impact was made by the gay men and women who went from door to door to show people the human faces of those affected by the vote. The No side had nothing comparable to offer.

                                                              ” Expect to see a re run of the pattern over the next few months. Oh yes and some clergymen got the same media space, free run, no opposition as long as they were on the ‘ yes’ side of the debate. Anyone who thinks clericalism died with Sixties priests needs a reality check.”

                                                              Clericalism is shown in the abortion debate by the cautious silence of the clergy, and even of moral theologians, on the subject. I wonder will ACP make a statement.

                                                              • Michael B

                                                                From childhood I still look to the brightly coloured picture of little children sitting around the feet of Jesus ; their little faces of all colours in transfixed gazes of innocent goodness. They share the shade of the tree. In childhood for me this was a safe place to be. Now in my seventies I know in certainty where lies safety from the arguments of the day. If I have learned anything over the years it is that there is no right or wrong in these discussions ; only opinions of those seeking truth and those seeking promulgation of their own “truth.” I know that the only truth can be found by joining the little children of my childhood. There are no labels. There are no gays or straights. There are no saints or scholars, no politics or theology. There are are but children at rest in the Teacher. There is no judgement of the marginalised. I am the marginalised. I am safe there.

                                                                • Margaret Hickey

                                                                  Joe@30 I understood Lloyd to refer to sexuality in both senses, orientation and conduct. His defence infers both. As you appear to be on the same side as me in the forthcoming referendum I think you will experience the same hostility and bias that was my experience in the 2015 campaign. Am at a loss to know how you can appear to defend the media when every major publication was stacked 10-1 with comment that favoured ‘Yes’. And you had the ‘clebs’ from Bono to Daniel O Donnell throwing their halos into the ring. I take your point about the stories of gay people on the doorsteps. However, the point in the discussion was Mary McAleese’s impact and from my perspective, as a spokesperson in the campaign, she had a free run.

                                                                  • Kevin Walters

                                                                    Joe O’Leary @29

                                                                    Continuation from my post @ 27

                                                                    Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him’”

                                                                    And could be described as a yearning given by God, of mutual compatibility

                                                                    “At last!” the man exclaimed
                                                                    “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”

                                                                    So For this reason a man will leave his father and mother (continuing the creative process) and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh”. (The Truth of this statement can be seen in any offspring they may be blessed with) And this visual Truth defines marriage as OPEN to the Creative process in their sexual union, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh”
                                                                    His Words of Truth, the essence of Love

                                                                    “What God has joined together let no man put asunder”

                                                                    This is not mere regulation it is His Will incorporated into the Church’s ongoing teaching of Sexual morality, as it draws us into harmony with His Love for the benefit of all mankind; to teach anything over wise (Not hold Inviolate, alter ‘one iota,’) is to diminish our Fathers Word (Will) before mankind and steal from innocent children, each ones individual birth right, the love, of two biological parents male and female.

                                                                    kevin your brother
                                                                    In Christ

                                                                    • Joe O'Leary

                                                                      Kevin, there are logical gulfs between the biblical texts and what you seek to derive from them.

                                                                      No one denies that heterosexual procreative marriage is a wonderful thing.

                                                                      But as far as I know this has never led the Church or society to treat the marriage of the elderly as of a lesser dignity and worrh.

                                                                      There have even been times at which major theologians saw a sexless or Josephite marriage as realizing more purely the essence of marriage.

                                                                      Therefore the texts you quote in no way provide a basis for refusing or downgrading same-sex marriage.

                                                                      (For the historical details I’d ask people for more information — the history of marriage is very complex and varied, especially within Catholic thinking and practice.)

                                                                      • Eddie Finnegan

                                                                        The predominant media take (US, UK, Irish including I.T. and this thread) on Kevin Farrell’s messy diktat as to which consenting adult females can meet where leads me to wonder not so much Why Women Matter as why some women seem to matter so much more than others. It was inevitable, I suppose, that a cardinal prefect’s proscription of a former president with a high profile and worldwide track record, a pontifical licence and budding doctorate in canon law, a clutch of university positions longer than your arm, a very supportive hubby and a very happily married son, would overshadow Farrell’s even greater snub to a strangely triple-zedded young Polish theologian and an equally un-Irish sounding lesbian feminist from a faraway sub-Saharan land of which we know little.

                                                                        Zuzanna Radzik and Ssenfuka Joanita Warry each got about half-a-line, and in most media not even the dignity of their names, while whole pages, blogs, letters and articles were devoted to the insult to Mary and her protest letter to Pope Francis. Sarah MacDonald, fair enough, managed a two-sentence quote from Ms Radzik in last week’s TABLET – but a quote so brief and unremarkable on the role of women in the Church that it was hardly representative of Radzik and might have come from Pope Pius XII himself, let alone her Krakow compatriot or Popes Benedict or Francis.

                                                                        Good luck to Mary with her letter to Francis – even hand-delivered letters apparently do not always evoke a response – but he may well reply along the lines of: “My dear Lady, you do know that for me you women are really the strawberry on the cake in these matters. I’ve spoken to Prefect Kevin and he tells me that after 18 months he still has a vacancy for a 3rd Under-secretary for his dicastery. Would you be interested in taking up this job before next August?”

                                                                        We may (nearly) all be fans of Mary McAleese on this site and few of us would quibble with Gabriel Daly’s Irish Times letter yesterday; her 2015 referendum speech to which Joe@24 linked may well have given the Curia the sort of ammo they needed – but Mary will survive well past Kevin Farrell’s sell-by date.
                                                                        Survival for a real frontline feminist and LGBTIQ activist in countries such as Uganda, the Sudans, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Cardinal Sarah’s Guinea-Conakry may be much less assured. For Ssenfuka Joanita Warry of FARUG (Freedom & Roam Uganda) election to the 9-person board of GNRC (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics) at its second annual assembly in Munich two months ago means not just wider recognition of her NGO ‘Sexual Minorities of Uganda’ (SMUG), an umbrella organisation of about 19 Ugandan groups, but some measure of protection afforded by global exposure and possibly a miniscule chance of acknowledgement by, and dialogue with hierarchy members such as Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala. Lwanga, unlike some of his bishop colleagues, was at least a fairly consistent opponent of the more extreme death sentence proposals for the 2009-2015 ‘Kill-the-Gays’ Bill which eventually became the Anti-Homosexuality Act without the death sentence but with more severe prison penalties. Participation in the Voices of Faith conference inside the Vatican might have given Ms Warry the extra credibility that Archbishop Lwanga and the Uganda Bishops’ Conference could not so easily ignore, though they still defend the Anti-Homosexuality Act

                                                                        Ms Warry’s predecessor at SMUG, the teacher David Kato, did not survive the virulent campaign whipped up by members and even the Speaker of Parliament, inspired by US religious right exporters of crap, and finally by the local tabloid ‘Rolling Stone’ in its October 2010 campaign to expose ‘100 Homos’ with photos, telephone numbers and the demand: “HANG THEM!” Kato’s successful court case stopped the campaign but made him even more a marked man. In November at a UN-hosted panel discussion between main proponents of the Bill and supposed defenders of human rights, David Kato’s attempt to argue for tolerance was howled down and giggled at by those he thought his natural allies, so-called Human Rights Activists! Less than two months later he was murdered. The police decided it was an ordinary burglary killing or the action of a casual rent-boy. The local Anglican pastor, on finding out as he was about to lead the funeral that David was a gay man and activist whose family and colleagues had come to give him a dignified send-off, vociferously refused even to bless the coffin but harangued the mourners: “Repent! Even the animals know the difference between the male and the female. You face the fate of the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

                                                                        Uganda is not the only African country whose Christian leaders and official Human Rights Commissions apply for funding from UN, US, EU, UK and Ireland’s taxpayers and churchgoers, but then cherry-pick which human rights they will promote or defend, and which they can ignore or scoff at. CAVEAT DONOR!
                                                                        The current issue of ‘PoliticoSL’ has an article by Kemo Cham on the convenient silence of Sierra Leone’s Human Rights Commission and the worse than silence from church and mosque authorities – something with which, no doubt, Ssenfuka Warry and her Ugandan colleagues would be all too familiar.
                                                                        http://www.politicosl.com/articles/sierra-leone-human-rights-defenders-stay-silent-lgbtq-discrimination

                                                                        Champions of women’s and schoolgirls’ rights and defenders of LGBT minorities are scarce on the ground in many African countries. Where local Catholic bishops and pastors are adept at mouthing the currently favoured line on minority rights, yet in practice prefer to look over their shoulders towards the supposedly ‘traditional cultural’ attitudes other evangelical, pentecostalist or ‘spirit church’ groups, or the local muslim majority are cleaving to, there is a crying need for courageous activists such as Joanita Warry to call them out. Where such activists exist, they need all the support more comfortably located Catholic groups can give them.

                                                                        Rather than pursuing this insular “we need to talk about Kevin (& Mary)” commentary, perhaps we need to explore what lies behind Kevin Farrell’s need to “go native” as soon as he has his feet under the Curial top table. The Vatican and its dicastery departments are no longer looking over their shoulders to flatter burnt-out old Ireland or other old Western European supply chains. I wonder what our new Igbo Nuncio in Cabra has to say about all this. On second thoughts, whatever he has to say will be for curial rather than curious ears. Probably not for the ACP website or the Irish Times!

                                                                        • Kevin Walters

                                                                          Joe O’Leary @ 34

                                                                          “No one denies that heterosexual procreative marriage is a wonderful thing”

                                                                          It is more than that it is the bed from where the image of God is continually created.

                                                                          “But as far as I know this has never led the Church or society to treat the marriage of the elderly as of a lesser dignity and worth”

                                                                          Of course not, dignity and worth are bestowed upon all who uphold God’s Will, as they teach others to do the same.

                                                                          “There have even been times at which major theologians saw a sexless or Josephite marriage as realizing more purely the essence of marriage”

                                                                          I would need to study this teaching to give you my own interpretation on this subject matter perhaps at some future time, God willing; I will be able to respond to this subject matter.

                                                                          “Therefore the texts you quote in no way provide a basis for refusing or downgrading same-sex marriage”

                                                                          It does if you ‘believe’ that the Word/Truth was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, as His Word, Teaching defines marriage in been open to the life creating process.

                                                                          “Kevin, there are logical gulfs between the biblical texts and what you seek to derive from them”

                                                                          Please demonstrate in context to the Word made flesh.

                                                                          “(For the historical details I’d ask people for more information — the history of marriage is very complex and varied, especially within Catholic thinking and practice.)”

                                                                          Joe, from a historical point of view it could be said, that the ‘divine spark’ within man struggled up from the proverbial mud so to say, which he fell into at the ‘Fall’, we see this constant struggle in the early Hebrews, ‘searches of the heart’, as in the understanding the Light of God, and can be seen in Abraham, as he sees/believes the ‘spiritual reality of Creation’ as in all things been the Will of One God.

                                                                          This onward spiritual journey home, that is one of spiritual enlightenment , individual and collectively by the early Hebrews, in their fallen nature, is a constant battle between the then known light of “Truth” and earthly ignorance; as in an eye for an eye, to “do not resist the evil doer”
                                                                          Psalm110.
                                                                          ‘Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool’.
                                                                          This spiritual insight comes from God, in earthly ignorance this could be understood as justification for the suppression of a Godless people.
                                                                          But to dwell/sit in the full reality of the enlightening light of Truth, is to wait patiently, while the justice of God unfolds….

                                                                          Please consider reading the linked post before continuing
                                                                          https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2018/01/mass-is-flabby-and-possibly-obese/#comment-92891

                                                                          This same battle/struggle is still been played out today within the Church, even though the Word/TRUTH/Flame has already come to broken mankind, drawing/enticing the divine spark within man, to return to its original source from which it was separated at the Fall. Now the lamp/Truth of spiritual enlightenment is held before us, for us to follow, as we see the full reality of our ‘base’ nature, as He hangs there on the Cross.

                                                                          The full revelation of Truth /Word made flesh defines marriage in been open (Unimpeded) to the life creating process and this process can only take place between a Male and a Female
                                                                          Any other use of the sexual act, outside of this context is sinful, self-justification before His inviolate Word, has no place within a Christian heart.

                                                                          Joe, I see the Sheppard (Those taking on the mantle of Jesus Christ) of tomorrow, bowing down in humility (Brokenness) before the Inviolate Word (Will) of God, as in ‘not one iota’, no debates will be needed only the manifestation of humility by all who would walk the ‘Way.’ His way of leading us and others too walk in humility, in our fallen nature, before His guiding light/Truth, home to our Fathers House in heaven
                                                                          .
                                                                          “Learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart”

                                                                          kevin your brother
                                                                          In Christ

                                                                          • Margaret Hickey

                                                                            Joe @30and 34,’marriage in the history of the church is complex and varied’. It has alwlays been between a man and a woman. That is an unchanging feature and the one that matters most. The one that gives children their biological lineage and identity in full. The current case of a lesbian couple seeking registration of the non-biological ‘mother’as parent hardly finds a template in nature. Human sexual ethics can only learn so much from the barnyard but in this instance there might be something of value to study. ‘Mothers and Fathers’ is the order in the natural world. Not two mothers or two fathers with the missing biological parent wiped from the script. This is part and parcel of the equation of same sex marriage with heterosexual marriage. While these new social and familial constructs might still happen without same sex marriage, same sex marriage canonizes them constitutionally,gives them social sanction and puts the righs of children in this context almost beyond discussion.

                                                                            • Joe O'Leary

                                                                              Marriage “has always been between a man and a woman. That is an unchanging feature and the one that matters most.”

                                                                              Well, there is this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-Sex_Unions_in_Pre-Modern_Europe (And that’s only Europe — the wider historical record might show many example of same-sex unions blessed by society). In any case, because something is new does not mean it is wrong. Consider how we scrapped “illegitimacy” despite centuries of using the word “bastard” freely; and many other cases spring to mind.

                                                                              In the Yahwist’s narrative in Genesis 2 what “matters most” is companionship with a significant other. For most that means a companion of the opposite sex but for many it means a companion of the same sex.

                                                                              ” The current case of a lesbian couple seeking registration of the non-biological ‘mother’ as parent hardly finds a template in nature.”

                                                                              Marriage is a contract, a social institution, which often has little basis in nature, as in the case of marriages of the elderly or the sterile (not to mentiion Josephist marriages). Precisely because of this societal, institutional, contractual nature of marriage it is unjust to deny its benefits to people without good reason. Biologiistic arguments, tested in recent debate, have failed to provide such reason.

                                                                              ” Human sexual ethics can only learn so much from the barnyard but in this instance there might be something of value to study.”

                                                                              Quite so: the barnyard is instructive but not determinative.

                                                                              ” ‘Mothers and Fathers’ is the order in the natural world. Not two mothers or two fathers with the missing biological parent wiped from the script.”

                                                                              No one is wiping them out from the script, but there are several scripts in which married couples are not parents and same-sex unions fit those scripts neatly.

                                                                              “This is part and parcel of the equation of same sex marriage with heterosexual marriage.”

                                                                              Equality is not equation. Men and women are equal, but that does not entail that men are equated with women.

                                                                              ” While these new social and familial constructs might still happen without same sex marriage, same sex marriage canonizes them constitutionally,gives them social sanction and puts the rights of children in this context almost beyond discussion.”

                                                                              I agree that homoparentality should not override children’s rights and I would like to see it limited it to adoption (or to caring for the previous child of one of the partners); I am against surrogate motherhood and sperm donation.

                                                                              • Lloyd Allan MacPherson

                                                                                Well it’s time to move on to more important things like municipal strategy on how to keep homelessness and poverty out of our neighbourhoods. Cooperative establishment of self-sustaining municipal associations and parish collectives. The work to be done is exhausting but like this thread will take roughly 4 hours a week to invest for things in a community to thrive – everyone together – if everyone is observing what is priority and needs to be accomplished by society as a whole – it can be accomplished in 7 years with the right tools in place. This prioritisation is key to children these days. The ones we have here now and not ones that have yet to arrive. We owe it to them to now buckle down and put our imaginations to work.

                                                                                Proceed with caution but still proceed.

                                                                                • Margaret Hickey

                                                                                  Joe @38 I see we agree on the fudamental point of childrens’ rights to know and be raised by their own parents. You believe marriage is a thing apart from parental aspirations( which it was establsihed to serve). I do not. I believe most gay couples who want to marry envisage becoming parents. Our Constitution has now enshrined that as a right. Marriage I repeat, in the Christian tradition is always,has always been between one man and one woman.
                                                                                  Regarding Catholics, clerical and lay, who plough a progressive/subversive (depends how you see it) furrow, the following article by G.Wiegel on FT
                                                                                  (FEB) might prove food for thought.MEN WITHOUT CONVICTION, CHURCHES WITHOUT PEOPLE( can be accessed online)
                                                                                  Reminds me of the Groucho Marx quip,’ wouldn’t join any club that would have me for a member’. People want to be challenged and encouraged to raise their spiritual sights when they go to chruch.

                                                                                  • Kevin Walters

                                                                                    The link given in my post @ 36 is incorrect and should be

                                                                                    https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2018/01/mass-is-flabby-and-possibly-obese/#comment-92875

                                                                                    kevin your brother
                                                                                    In Christ

                                                                                    • Margaret Hickey

                                                                                      Joe@38, absolutely take your point about companionship and its value but it has never been institutionalized either by Christ or the Church- or civil society up to the adoption of ‘civil partnership’ in the 21st century.

                                                                                      • Joe O'Leary

                                                                                        Margaret, I thought Weigel’s article was very poor.

                                                                                        “most gay couples who want to marry envisage becoming parents. Our Constitution has now enshrined that as a right.”

                                                                                        I suppose the constitution recognizes the rights of gay couples to be seen as parents of their adoptees or of the offspring of one of the couple. Why not? This does not cover surrogacy since apparently the birth mother is regarded as the legal mother in Irish law.

                                                                                        http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/birth_family_relationships/adoption_and_fostering/surrogacy.html

                                                                                        https://www.coparents.co.uk/sperm-donors-laws-in-ireland.php

                                                                                        • Margaret Hickey

                                                                                          Joe @43 the ’15 Referendum changed the marriage/family paradigm. Every second (at least) same sex married couple I have heard interviewed talk about plans to have children just as a heterosexual would do.

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