Synod should reflect on possibly allowing female deacons, says archbishop

Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, arrives for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the family celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 4. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, arrives for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the family celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica Oct. 4.

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, said the synod should reflect on the possibility of allowing for female deacons as it seeks ways to open up more opportunities for women in church life.

Where possible, qualified women should be given higher positions and decision-making authority within church structures and new opportunities in ministry, he told Catholic News Service Oct. 6.

Discussing a number of proposals he offered the synod fathers to think about, he said, “I think we should really start looking seriously at the possibility of ordaining women deacons because the diaconate in the church’s tradition has been defined as not being ordered toward priesthood but toward ministry.”

Currently, the Catholic Church permits only men to be ordained as deacons. Deacons can preach and preside at baptisms, funerals and weddings, but may not celebrate Mass or hear confessions.

Speaking to participants at the Synod of Bishops on the family Oct. 6, Archbishop Durocher said he dedicated his three-minute intervention to the role of women in the church — one of the many themes highlighted in the synod’s working document.

The working document, which is guiding the first three weeks of the synod’s discussions, proposed giving women greater responsibility in the church, particularly through involving them in “the decision-making process, their participation — not simply in a formal way — in the governing of some institutions; and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.”



Archbishop Durocher, who recently ended his term as president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNS that much of his brief talk was focused on the lingering problem of violence against women, including domestic violence. He said the World Health Organization estimates that 30 percent of women worldwide experience violence by their partner.

He reminded the synod fathers that in the apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” in 1981, St. John Paul II basically told the church that “we have to make a concerted and clear effort to make sure that there is no more degradation of women in our world, particularly in marriage. And I said, ‘Well, here we are 30 years later and we’re still facing these kinds of numbers.’”

He said he recommended one thing they could do to address this problem was, “as a synod, clearly state that you cannot justify the domination of men over women — certainly not violence — through biblical interpretation,” particularly incorrect interpretations of St. Paul’s call for women to be submissive to their husbands.

In his presentation the archbishop also noted that Pope Benedict XVI had talked about the question of new ministries for women in the church. “It’s a just question to ask. Shouldn’t we be opening up new venues for ministry of women in the church?” he said.

In addition to the possibility of allowing for women deacons, he said he also proposed that women be hired for “decision-making jobs” that could be opened to women in the Roman Curia, diocesan chanceries and large-scale church initiatives and events.

Another thing, he said, “would be to look at the possibility of allowing married couples — men and women, who have been properly trained and accompanied — to speak during Sunday homilies so that they can testify, give witness to the relationship between God’s word and their own marriage life and their own life as families.”

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Ferment on gay rights well underway before synod even opens

By Inés San Martín

Formally speaking, the second edition of the Synod of Bishops on the family is just starting up today. Judging by the flurry of activity in Rome, however, with activists and advocacy groups of every stripe pushing their agenda, it feels like the debate is already well underway.

So, too, are the tensions this synod seems destined to release.

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On Saturday at noon in Rome, for instance, a Polish priest named Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a minor Vatican official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave a press conference to announce he’s gay and happily in love with a man called Edward.

In statements to the Polish media on Friday, Charamsa said gay Catholics were “persecuted by the Church” and that the Church doesn’t have the moral authority to deny gay people their right “to love and get married.”

As he was giving his news conference, a Vatican spokesman released a statement calling his actions “irresponsible.”

“Notwithstanding the respect due to the events and personal situations,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, Charamsa’s outspokenness “appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure.”

Lombardi also said that Charamsa will no longer work in the Vatican.

In the synod’s working document, homosexuality is addressed in three basic points:

  • There are no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.
  • Every person, regardless of his/her sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his/her human dignity and received with sensitivity and great care in both the Church and society.
  • It’s equally unacceptable for international organizations to link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of same-sex marriage.

Some see that language as too progressive, others as not going far enough, and both sides have organized conferences in Rome this week to make their perspectives known.

On Friday, the Dominican-run Pontifical University St. Tomas of Aquinas, better known as the Angelicum, was home to the “Living the Truth in Love” conference, featuring two prominent cardinals: Australian George Pell, tapped by Francis as his financial czar, and Robert Sarah of Guinea, who heads the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Since they each head a Vatican office, both prelates will participate in the synod.

The second took place on Saturday and was organized by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, held at the Centre for Pilgrims Santa Teresa Couderc.

The event had no synod delegates, but the five-hour meeting included the presence of Mexican Bishop Raul Vera, former Irish president Mary McAleese, and a session called “Catholic LGBT Pastoral Projects, Snapshots from Chile, USA, UK, Kenya, Italy, and Thailand.”

Living the Truth in Love

Intended to support traditional Church teaching on homosexuality, and issuing an invitation to chastity both for members of the LGBT and heterosexual Catholics, the “Living the Truth in Love” conference was sponsored by Courage International and Ignatius Press. Beyond the two cardinals, it featured three celibate gay people, two men and a woman, who said they had been “accompanied back to the faith” by Courage.

Pell said he expects the synod to hold the line.

“I expect from the synod confirmation that the teaching of Christ and the Church is based on love, compassion, forgiveness, and that the love of God is channeled through the Ten Commandments,” he said while talking to members of the press.

“I would expect that the teaching of the Church will be re-stated beautifully, sympathetically, and that it’ll reinforce the image that the Church is there for all people, and that we’re reaching out to help them in a way that is effective in the long term,” Pell said.

Those who shared their experiences at the conference agreed.

“We can’t sacrifice Christ’s teachings to the pressures of society and culture,” said Rilene Simpson. “It’s important that we find ways to minister to people, but always bringing them closer to Christ and his teachings.”

Simpson was introduced to the gay life early on, she said, by a chorus member.

“That relationship didn’t work out, but it made me question if I was a lesbian,” she said. She then cruised several gay bars until she met Margo, who would become her stable partner. They were a couple for 25 years, even having a “commitment ceremony” on their 15th anniversary.

She said she’s been “back to the Church” and living a chaste life for the past six years.

“I think it’s important that Catholic people who experience same-sex attraction know that there are other people out there who’ve figured out that the gay life doesn’t really work that well,” she told Crux. “There’s a lot of drama and trauma.”

In his opening remarks, Sarah agreed with Pell on the need to protect the Church’s teaching, promising a “united front” from the African prelates.

Sarah, who recently published a book called “God or Nothing” that’s being translated into eight different languages, criticized the advances of “gender theory,” a concept that Pope Francis has described as “an error of the human mind” and compared to nuclear weapons.

In a nutshell, gender theory presupposes that one’s gender should be a matter of personal choice.

“The Church excludes the dubious interpretation grounded on the vision of the world according which sexual identity can be infinitely adapted to new and diverse options,” Sarah said.

Paul Darrow said he began exploring his homosexuality when he was 12, and by the age of 15 he was already a well-known and highly pursued young boy in the beaches of Miami. He soon became a model, traveling all around Europe and the United States.

“I was sleeping with up to 20 men a night,” he told Crux. “I felt like I had the world by its tail.”

Darrow said he’s been living what he describes as “a fully chaste life, away from men, porn, and everything else,” for the past five years, yet his process of returning to the Church begun seven years ago when, late at night while watching TV, he and his partner were mocking a nun.

“I eventually realized that I wasn’t only mocking her for what she was saying, but also for her looks, and her stroke: she had a patch in one eye, and half of her face was falling down,” he said.

He was describing the conservative Mother Angelica, from EWTN.

“Eventually, I started tuning in to listen to what she had to say. She talked about that which I needed the most: truth and love,” he said.

For a while, he had to hide his new-found faith, “because I was still living a gay life, all my friends were gay, and if they knew I was watching a Catholic channel they’d think I’d lost it.”

Asked about what motivated him to come to Rome and share his testimony, Darrow said he “feels obligated, moral and spiritually, to share the joy and happiness that I have with others.”

Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

The rival conference on homosexuality took place on Saturday and was sponsored by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. It’s billed as bringing “LGBT voices to the synod,” and is intended to foster “inclusion, dignity, and equality for LGBT people, their parents, and families in the Catholic Church.”

Sister Jeannine Gramick of the Sisters of Loretto, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, was part of the panel of Snapshots of Pastoral life. She’s been ministering to LGBT people since 1971, and has also been “an advocate, a public voice for those who are afraid to express themselves, like that gay priest who spoke today.”

In the late 1990s she was the target of a Vatican investigation that triggered an order from the Sisters of Notre Dame, her congregation at the time, to stop speaking publicly on homosexuality. She refused and eventually transferred to the Loretto sisters.

Regarding the synod, Gramick told Crux that her “highest expectations would be that gay and lesbian people would be included totally into the Church, and that would include welcome to all the sacraments, including marriage.”

She believes that even though the Catholic Church does teach about the dignity of the person, the message is sometimes muddled because of what the “official Church” says about sexual activity and the ethics of sexual activities.

She wants the Church to not look at the ethics of a sexual relationship from a point of view of the acts, but of that of the person: “love, commitment, care; that’s what makes a relationship an ethical one.”

“The important teaching of the Church is the social teaching. The sexual teaching is a teaching, but it’s subject to revision,” sister Gramick said. To her, the Church’s teaching on marriage tied to procreation and love is “inconsistent” because Catholicism also blesses heterosexual unions that can’t procreate, such as couples that are too old to have children.

Also among those speaking at the conference was Mexican Bishop Jose Raul Vera, who in 2010 was reprimanded by the Vatican for asking the priests in his diocese to welcome gays and lesbians.

Talking to the press, Vera said the Church needs a “change in language” when referring to the LGBT community because as it is, it “brings people to define a homosexual as a sinner, degenerate and promiscuous. I think we have to temper our language.”

Asked if he was in favor of same-sex marriage, he said that’s something for the Church to decide.

He has little faith regarding serious changes in the Church’s approach to the LGBT community as a direct result of the synod, but believes that in time, things could change.

“Francis is talking about existential peripheries, going out to meet the people who are being persecuted and damaged,” the bishop said.

Dario de Gregorio is a member of an Italian LGBT group for Christian people. He’s a Catholic, married another man in Canada, and is one of the organizers of the conference.

He told Crux that when it comes to the faithful, he’s always felt welcomed, but is often uncomfortable with the hierarchy. He hopes to see a change in the Church: “a respect, not only for people, because it’s already there, but also for their relationships.”

“The Church is completely welcoming me as a homosexual,” de Gregorio said. “It’s not accepting me as an active homosexual.” He’s in a long term, committed relationship, however, he said, “we’re sinners with no possibility, because we can’t repent.”

Asked about Pope Francis, de Gregorio defined him as “a traditional conservative who speaks the language of the Gospel, which is one of love and acceptance, building bridges and not walls.”

“He’s leading an enormous entity, with numerous voices, and he can’t hear it apart, because if he embraces an extreme position, he risks dividing the Church, so I understand him.”

Complete Article HERE!


‘Let The Little Homo Sue’: City Commissioner Slams Gay High School Student Suspended Over Dance Date

UPDATE…first posted HERE and HERE!

The high school student suspended after wanting to bring a same-sex date to his high school’s dance has a new critic: an elected official.


WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee
Remember Lance Sanderson, the Christian Brothers High School student who was suspended Monday after asking if he could bring a same-sex date to his school’s Homecoming dance? 

Lance didn’t do anything wrong, and after being denied his request, he didn’t even attend the dance, but administrators in his private Memphis, Tennessee school suspended him anyway.

One local elected official took to Facebook to denounce Lance, and the entire LGBT community.

Clark Plunk, the Lakeland, Tennessee Commissioner, on his Facebook page, according to WMC Action News 5, dared Lance to sue the school, calling him a “little homo,” calling all gay people “vicious spiteful people,” and saying gay people are “a threat to our values, our Christian values,” and “mean, cruel spiteful people with an axe to grind.”

Below is Plunk’s full Facebook comment, exactly as reported by Towleroad:

It’s a Christian school so i you don’t like the rules don’t go there. As usual you have one person trying to change the rules just for himself. I’m told by the alumni the gay kid is looking for publicity. I hate the term gay. It makes them sound like they are happy and ‘Gay’ And they want to call people that criticize them homophobes to make them sound mean. As a whole, gays are mean, cruel spiteful people with an axe to grind.

The kids love the school a hate their school is in the limelight over a gay kid and his gay boyfriend….This is not about a homo and his rights it’s about a school that is loved by thousands and their memories and their right to keep their history and Christian values intact.

I would say let the little homo sue all he wants. The alumni of CBHS will meet him dollar for dollar and lawyer for lawyer. This is a threat to our values, our Christian values. Everyone shudders when the homosexuals say the word sue. They are vicious spiteful people.

Plunk told WREG, “I stand by what I said, maybe I didn’t say it the right way.”

On his own Facebook page, Lance took the high road.

I have been shown a few intolerant comments that were made against myself and other LGBT people,” the teen writes. “I have nothing but forgiveness for the people who wrote or agree with these comments.”

“I recognize that we all have different beliefs and were taught from varying viewpoints. I hope that individuals and the community as a whole will use this as an opportunity to learn about other people’s beliefs. I know that through education and acceptance, we will move forward as a stronger community,” Lance added.

The Executive Director of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center spoke out against Commissioner Plunk’s attack.

So it’s one thing to attack an 18-year-old high school student, Will Batts told WMC News. “That’s a problem in and of itself. But the comments themselves are talking about all of us. All of us in the LGBT community.”

Batts reminds the Commissioner that he “has people in his community that are LGBT. People that he serves, pay his salary, and he’s making these hurtful, just dangerous comments.”

He adds, “we know there are plenty of studies that show that this type of speech is what causes harm to young people.”

Plunk’s Facebook page contains this quote: “Be kind to each person you meet because each person is carrying their own special burden.”



A Giant mistake: Priest arrested over claims he pointed musket at 8-year-old boy because of football rivalry

File Under:  WTF?


A New Jersey priest has been arrested over claims he pointed a musket at an 8-year-old boy because of a football rivalry.

Father Kevin Carter allegedly threatened the child because he was planning to root for the Dallas Cowboys instead of his beloved New York Giants.

The 54-year-old priest of St. Margaret of Cortona Roman Catholic Church in Little Ferry was arrested Friday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, say authorities.

The priest allegedly approached the boy before Mass services at the church on Sunday, Sept. 13, and asked to see him in one of the rectory rooms, reported NBC 4 New York.

Father Kevin Carter was arrested for allegedly threatening an 8-year-old boy with a musket before Mass on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

Father Kevin Carter was arrested for allegedly threatening an 8-year-old boy with a musket before Mass on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

Prosecutors said the priest allegedly pointed the Civil War-style musket at the boy as he stood against the wall.

“As he raised his weapon and pointed it at the boy, he said, ‘I’m going to shoot you’,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.

A search of the room turned up the weapon that was allegedly used as well as gunpowder, ammunition and other associated items for the gun, authorities said.

“The young boy was apparently a fan of a particular football team, the priest was not. So perhaps we have indication it started out as that,” said Molinelli.

“There’s no such thing as joking around with a weapon when you’re dealing with an 8-year-old kid,” he added.

Big Blue lost to the Cowboys 27-26 later that Sunday afternoon.

A parishioner who witnessed the incident contacted Newark Archdiocese officials on Sept. 25, and the Archdiocese in turn contacted the prosecutor’s office on Sept. 28.

The prosecutor’s office began investigating along with Little Ferry police and interviewed the priest at the rectory on Friday.

The priest was jailed on $15,000 bail and was still in custody at Little Ferry Police headquarters Friday night.

The Archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Carter was ordained in Newark in November 1986 and has been at St. Margaret of Cortona since February 2013.

St. Margaret's of Cortona Church in Little Ferry, N.J.

St. Margaret’s of Cortona Church in Little Ferry, N.J.

Complete Article HERE!


Vatican sacks priest after he comes out as gay


Monsignor Krzystof Charamsa smiles as he leaves at the end of his news conference in downtown Rome October 3, 2015.

The Vatican dismissed a priest from his post in a Holy See office on Saturday after he told a newspaper he was gay and urged the Catholic Church to change its stance on homosexuality.

Monsignor Krzystof Charamsa was removed from his position at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal arm where he had worked since 2003, a statement said.

Charamsa, 43, and a Polish theologian, announced he was gay and had a partner in a long interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper on Saturday.

He later held a news conference with his partner, a Spanish man, and gay activists at a Rome restaurant. They had planned a demonstration in front of the Vatican but changed the venue several hours before it was due to have started.

The Vatican said Charamsa’s dismissal had nothing to do with his comments on his personal situation, which it said “merit respect”.

But it said giving the interview and the planned demonstration was “grave and irresponsible” given their timing on the eve of a synod of bishops who will discuss family issues, including how to reach out to gays.

It said his actions would subject the synod, which Pope Francis is due to open on Sunday, to “undue media pressure”.

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa with his boyfriend, Eduardo

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa with his boyfriend, Eduardo

The issue of homosexuality and the Church has dominated the aftermath of the pope’s visit to the United States last week.

In Saturday’s interview, Charamsa said his partner had helped him come to terms with his sexuality and knew he would have to give up the priesthood, although the Vatican statement made no reference to this outcome.

“It’s time for the Church to open its eyes about gay Catholics and to understand that the solution it proposes to them — total abstinence from a life of love — is inhuman,” he was quoted as saying.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin but that homosexual acts are.

The Vatican has been embarrassed by controversy over the pope’s meeting with Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who went to jail in September for refusing to honor a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and issue same-sex marriage licences.

The Vatican said on Friday that “the only real audience” the pope had during his visit to Washington was with a small group that included a gay couple.
Complete Article HERE!