Fired Polish priest: ‘no gay lobby in Vatican’

Fired Polish priest: 'no gay lobby in Vatican'
Krzysztof Charamsa, left, with his partner.

Krzysztof Charamsa told a private Italian television channel that he has “never met a gay lobby in the Vatican”, referring to rumours of a network of homosexual priests.

“I met homosexual priests, often isolated like me… but no gay lobby,” said Charamsa, adding that he also met gay priests who were “homophobes” and had “hatred for themselves and others”.

“But I also met several fantastic homosexuals who are some of the best ministers in the Church,” he said in an interview due to be broadcast Sunday.

Charamsa said he wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking him to convey his spirit of openness to bishops at the synod, where Church leaders discussed marriage and family teachings.

The pontiff has in the past spoken about homosexuality and the “gay lobby”.

In 2013 he famously said “Who am I to judge?” when asked about homosexuals in the Church, and the rumoured network of gay Vatican leaders.

Since 2005, the Church has forbidden the ordination of priests with homosexual tendencies. But this rule is applied in different ways, with many bishops turning a blind eye as long as priests remain celibate.

Charamsa, who was fired from his post at the Vatican, says he has stayed faithful to his vow of celibacy because he has “never touched a woman”.

Complete Article HERE!

History made as South African Church Votes to Bless Same-sex marriage and Ordain Gay Ministers

YES! for Gay People in Dutch Reformed Church – NG Kerk  – There were Tears of joy after the announcement.

By Melanie Nathan

History was made in South Africa today, when the synod of  what was once probably the most conservative church on the planet, the Dutch Reformed Church, (NG Kerk/ DRC) in an overwhelming majority,  voted in favor of ordaining gay ministers and blessing same sex unions.Dutch Reformed Church Theological College

Translating from the Afrikaans language I was able to determine this:

The DRC’s general synod chose to move forward with regard to the church’s position on gay relationships. Two proposals before the Synod were received as follows: Dr. Andre Bartlett  with 102 votes against the 88 votes received by Dr. Chris van Wyk’s  proposal. Van Wyk’s proposal asked that further research on the matter occur  before a decision was to be made. But it was decided that the time  to keep researching and not make a decision, is over.

“I was flabbergasted, but I think it’s a great step forward for the restoration of the dignity of our church’s gay members,” Bartlett said after the announcement of the vote.

Bartlett’s proposal noted that heterosexual and homosexual couples in a relationship of “personal faith obedience to the Lord,” must be allowed to fully participate in all the privileges of the church.

Dutch Reformed ChurchIt was however stated that there would be no forcing of the issue.  Because some in the Church continue to believe marriage should be between a man and woman, an element of discretion is still given to the church councils to formulate their own practices and rules.  It was stated that no one should be forced to conduct gay marriages, because there is such a diverse amount of views within the church about it.  (Source Netwerk 24)

This new ruling where the Church in essence now approves same-sex marriage and the ordaining of gay ministers may be the saving grace for the Church’s sliding popularity.

This is the Church that once all but controlled a country which thrived on discrimination.  It may even be described the as the religious wing of Apartheid.  Drawing on an old article in the Mail Guardian,  “The Slow and Steady Death of the NG Church…”  Charles Leonard back in 2010 paints this picture:

“It was once described as the National Party (The Afrikaner Apartheid party) at prayer. But the Dutch Reformed Church numbers are dwindling. Charles Leonard finds out why.

It was during the one beautiful Afrikaans hymn that I closed my eyes and I was instantly transported about 40 years back to the platteland Dutch Reformed Church in which I was brought up.

I am a teenager in my dark green suit sitting close to my mom on the brown benches. My dad is sitting in the elders’ benches next to the pulpit. The grey-faced, toga-clad dominee’s droning voice and the airless church are dragging heavily on my eyelids. Not even the mint imperials my mom is feeding me are helping to keep me awake. At least the occasional singing brings variety, although the congregation lags a bit behind the histrionics of the organist.

That formerly omnipotent Afrikaner church I grew up in is in trouble. Officially it lost 20 000 members last year, even though the real numbers are likely to be much higher. It had always turned away people with different ideologies, skin colours, and sexual preferences. Now, it seems, we are witnessing the book of Exodus’s “jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”.

Three, four decades ago Afrikaners could hardly get a job without a reference from their dominee. But, at some point that all changed.

“The church lost its grip over people,” says Jean Oosthuizen, the progressive news editor of the Die Kerkbode (The Church Messenger), which once acted as National Party praise singer and the Dutch Reformed Church’s Pravda during the apartheid days. He says many lost faith in the church because of its actions in the past.

“The Afrikaans churches’ support for apartheid is now costing them a lot. Many people feel cheated and want to know, if the church lied to them about apartheid, what else it is lying about?”

They never had a proud record when it came to inclusiveness. They discriminated against women, who were not allowed on their pulpits, and black people, who were not allowed in their white churches. And, as Oosthuizen points out, women are still not allowed to preach in the Gereformeerde Kerk (Reformed Church), and the Hervormde Kerk (Restructured Church) is still arguing over whether apartheid was a sin. These days, almost all the Afrikaans churches seem to discriminate against gay people, except perhaps one.”

Soon after the end of Apartheid, South Africa enacted an all inclusive constitution which prohibits discrimination based on gender, gender identity and sexuality, protecting all LGBTI people. It seems that this is one Church that is catching up with the times, albeit 20 years into the New South Africa. There are other Churches in the country which still have a long way to go.

My comment: As a South African who grew up knowing a lot about this Church and its impact on South Africa, during the Apartheid era, understanding everything it stood for, in a million years I would not have imagined this day being possible.  I hope it stands as worldwide example of an evolution toward progress and how faith can and should embrace all.  If more faith based organizations are able to accomplish this, we will see a dramatic decline in homophobia around the world.”

Complete Article HERE!

Synod on the Family 2015: A Reflection from the Paulist Fathers

Synod on the Family 2015

SYNOD ON THE FAMILY: A Reflection from the Paulist Fathers

The joy and the hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ.
– Gaudium et Spes, Preface, [1]

If Christ is to be for us a savior, we must find him here, now, and where we are, in this age of ours also;
otherwise he is no Christ, no Savior, no Immanuel, no “God with us.”
– Servant of God Issac T. Hecker, Founder of the Paulist Fathers

These two quotations, one from Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, the other from Servant of God Issac Hecker, reflect the missionary vision of the Paulist community today. As we approach the second session of the “Vatican Synod on the Family” in October 2015, amidst the chorus of voices being raised, we Paulists, wish to contribute our voice.


Founded in 1858, by five Catholic converts from various Protestant traditions, the Paulists have always sought a more inclusive community of God’s children. We have demonstrated time and again the value of hospitality, inclusion, and a special degree of understanding for those on their own unique journeys.1 Phrases like “meeting people where they are,” “walking the journey with someone,” and “being a wounded healer” resonate with our Paulist way of living the Gospel. We Paulists echo and applaud Pope Francis and the spirit of mercy, compassion, and outreach that he so readily incarnates and preaches. The old adage “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” represents a truth about human nature. So regarding the upcoming part II of the “Synod on the Family” the Paulists stand foresquare and humbly with those who counsel “mercy.” As Pope Francis so poignantly phrases it:

The Church needs to be a field hospital and we need to set out to heal wounds, just as the good Samaritan did. Some people’s wounds result from neglect, others are wounded because they have been forsaken by the church itself; some people are suffering terribly. [2]

In this statement we Paulists will propose areas for consideration that arise from our pastoral experience. Nevertheless, we know that these areas come under the supreme issue of the family today—how its life and love form the human basis of faith. We pray that the Synod will find the language to re-articulate to the faithful today their essential role, through the human dynamics of family, in passing faith from one generation to another. We likewise pray that the Synod will envision ways in which modern families can come to see themselves more clearly as disciples who live the joy of the Gospel. The greatest challenge for church today is to encourage and equip families to accept, and live out, their fundamental role as the first and best teachers of faith.


1: A More Inclusive Notion of “Family”

First and foremost, we think the very definition of “family” ought to be as broad as possible, allowing for traditional as well as contemporary models and cultural differences. While “families” are and rightly ought to be the core building blocks in society, the fact is that real families (i.e., household communities) come in all sizes, shapes, and configurations. [3] The concept of ‘one-size-fits-all’ family ministry seems inadequate, outdated and insufficient. It seems to us that the Synod on the Family ought to listen to the peoples of the world – old and young, married and single, parents and children, those together as well as those estranged or divorced, straight as well as the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning community (LGBTQ). What are their joys and hopes? What are their griefs and anguishes? How might we, as the followers of Christ, help them the most? How can we help the human family and individual human families move forward – humanely, personally, interpersonally and spiritually? [4]

2: Theological, Spiritual, & Pastoral Education at All Stages

In the United States and Canada, the Catholic Church and its many publishing outlets (including Paulist Press) have been at the forefront in offering educational and pastoral services. The vast majority of parishes and dioceses have created frequently-available series and programs to assist engaged couples of any age in preparing for their covenant marriages together. We applaud these valiant efforts and encourage similar frequent programmatic opportunities in all countries, dioceses, and parishes across the globe.

It is also commendable that so many parochial high schools and Catholic colleges and universities offer courses on dating, sexuality, marriage, parenting, and the like. In addition, campus ministry programs and Newman Centers offer similar opportunities for relational and marital education as well as one-to-one counseling and marriage preparation. Less prolific, but no less needed, are educational and counseling opportunities across the lifespan of one’s married or family life. Each stage of a married relationship or of a family’s evolution has its own particular learnings and pitfalls. We encourage national bishop conferences, dioceses, parishes, and catechetical publishers to foster an even richer menu of programs and aids for marriages and family life.

3: Ministry to Separated & Divorced Catholics

Just as our Holy Father Pope Francis tends toward a more gentle and decidedly pastoral approach, we Paulists consistently have welcomed and offered pastoral care to individuals in a variety of relationships, even those that may be more complex or conflicted than the ideal norm: interfaith marriages, pregnancy issues, ethnic or family ostracism or tensions, divorced, remarried, with or without annulments. Our first instinct is not to judge or condemn, but rather to view each individual and couple as our sisters and brothers. Much like Jesus in his encounter with the woman caught in the very act of adultery, our first pastoral utterance tends to be “neither do I condemn you.” [5]

How can we better walk with these people? If there is a solution–pastorally, psychologically, sacramentally, canonically–can we search for it together? Often the wisest and best counsel comes from those who have “been there.” We have been enriched by those women and men who have lived through and learned from painful marriages, separations, and civil divorce. We recommend to the Synod that fostering ministry to Catholics and others who are separated and divorced is pastorally necessary and can be healing ministry for all involved.

4: The Rightful Value and Use of Canon Law

When a recently separated or divorced person or newly single parent comes to the attention of a priest or parish minister, he or she is in pain, hurting, perhaps feeling guilty, often feeling overwhelmed. At this first stage, psychological counseling, spiritual support, and pastoral care are far more helpful than pulling down the Code of Canon Law from one’s bookshelf. The ministry of canon law supplements the primary mission of accepting people in their pain and promoting their healing.

Once Canon Law becomes more useful and pastorally appropriate for a given counselee, our application of Church law and the annulment process ought to be as expeditious and sensitive as possible. The tribunal practices and pastoral care approaches adopted by many U.S. dioceses across the post-Vatican II decades are to be commended and are recommended for wider use and application around the world, but even these practices can be cumbersome. Since “the law was made for humanity, not humanity for the law,” we applaud Pope Francis’ recent efforts to revise canonical procedures that will respond more readily to the situations of people who seek reconciliation in their lives and with the church and urge them to continue on this path. [6]

5: The So-Called “Internal Forum” or “Pastoral Solution”

In the post-Vatican II era there has emerged something called “the Internal Forum Solution.” [7] Initially it emerged and was proposed as a way to resolve questions of sacramental participation and access to communion for those in pastoral distress: knowing something was wrong with their prior marriage, they still were unable to attain a legal annulment and eagerly wanted to receive the sacraments. Provided no public scandal ensue, this “internal forum” or confessional-like practice (a discernment between the individual’s conscience and a local pastor or clergy person) seemed like a sufficient solution. Subsequently, some have suggested extending this extra-canonical solution for other hardship cases of divorced Catholics seeking access to communion, anointing of the sick, or other sacraments. Nevertheless, this pastoral practice has been discouraged in more recent years.

It is our recommendation that, in addition to fostering a greater pastoral use of canon law to assist separated and divorced persons who have remarried without a decree of nullity, the Church should foster the further use of this additional, extra-canonical approach known as “the internal forum” or “pastoral solution.” Erring on the side of graced mercy and pastoral care in doubtful cases would be a great gift to the faithful who yearn for the Eucharist, reflective of the attitude of Christ.

6: Access to Communion or Other Sacraments for the Divorced

When it comes to access to sacraments for such persons, we Paulists, consistent with our tradition, tend to side with those who emphasize that Jesus came as a healer, a physician for those who are ill and in need of care and nourishment. [8] We urge the Synod to consider St. John XXIII’s admonition that the “medicine of mercy,” the Eucharist, is to be freely dispensed. [9] Pope Francis points out that the Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. Medicine and food are meant to heal and nourish. We trust the power of the sacrament to do its healing work. We recommend finding ways to welcome more people to the Eucharist, not to exclude them. [10] Once someone has been fed, they then have the sustenance to accept Christ’s way of life more fully in their lives.

7: The Orthodox View of “the Death of the Marriage”
A Possible Alternative

In some of the Orthodox churches and more recently in the writings of some Catholic moral theologians one finds that the concept of marriage “till death do us part” may not only refer to the physical death of one or the other spouse, but also might refer to the death of the marriage relationship itself. Might spousal- or child-abuse, untreated addictions, or similar extreme hardship situations indicate that the bond, the human interpersonal commitment, has snapped, been torn asunder and, in effect, died? [11] We urge the Synod to consider the pastoral remedies in our sister Orthodox Churches for those divorced and remarried.

8: Ministry to Married Couples and Those Divorced: A Summary Thought

Our underlying or overarching Gospel concern, derived from our 157 years of ministry with hurting and broken families, is that the Church can and should serve as a balm for their wounds, as the tender touch of mercy more than judgment. First and foremost, we find Jesus’ challenge to the crowd in the case of an adulterous woman to be cogent: “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” [12] It is telling that Jesus himself, who is without sin, chose not to cast stones either. We all say before receiving the Eucharist, “Lord I am not worthy . . . . say but the word and my soul shall be healed.” [13]

9: LGBTQ Persons and Gay Commitments: A Pastoral Thought or Two

We Paulists find ourselves in the 21st century being called to open our hearts and our church doors to those of the LGBTQ communities. Lesbian women, gay men, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as those still questioning face many challenges: to figure out and accept their own sexual identities, to share their experience with family and loved ones, and to find their place in our society and in the Church. In a traditional theology or philosophy classroom, distinctions concerning human nature, sexual orientation and gender roles seem to be more or less easily mapped out. However, in modern medicine, recent genetics and gender studies, the halls of psychiatry and psychological counseling, in recent jurisprudence, as well as in the interpersonal lives and complexity of real LGBTQ people, these distinctions are less clear, less absolute, and undoubtedly in need of further study and theological discernment.

Despite public opinion surveys, which indicate a great acceptance of LGBTQ persons, data indicates that the number one cause of suicide among young men in North America is feeling hated and ostracized for “being gay” or even misperceived as gay. Facing one’s own sexual inclinations and homosexual or bisexual orientation can be so frightening, so shame-producing in one’s ethnic or cultural tradition that one would rather be dead. [14]

We as a Church must endevour to proclaim that every person has unique dignity in the eyes of God. This is one of the reasons so many have been touched by Pope Francis’ seemingly pastoral comment about gay persons, made during a plane interview returning from his first trip abroad, “Who are we to judge?” This past Lent, gay and transgendered inmates in a jail near Naples were invited to share lunch with Pope Francis. He seems to be echoing in his words and actions the quotation from Gaudium et Spes with which we began this reflection. Pope Francis is calling us to go to those on the periphery and proclaim to them that they are loved and valuable in God’s sight.

It has been our pastoral and personal experience, that members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community are people of good will, deep faith, with an abiding sense of their own Catholicity who have probed the depths of their consciences in their desire for the sacraments. [15] We urge those gathered for the Synod to consider the personal needs, sexual experience, and covenant commitment of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers with the utmost pastoral care and sensitivity.


It may be a bit presumptuous for us to propose that this reflection is somehow uniquely Paulist in its content or flavor. Indeed we consider it a reflection of the Gospel and Christ’s way of life for all people and all times. We realize that there are many other important issues that impact the family such as poverty, immigration, the role of women, and sex trafficking. Still, we feel called to speak on these issues from our pastoral experience. Surely the election of Pope Francis, his modeling of mercy and compassion, and the forthcoming Jubilee “Year of Mercy” all parallel the tenor and content of this reflection. While what we have written here may in some sense be distinctively Paulist, surely it is not uniquely so. Let’s reach out graciously, in gratitude, compassion, and hope. ‘All are welcome’ in this Church, this multi-faceted, grace-filled, and still mysterious Family of God: As we sing it, we strive to live it.

We conclude with the words of our founder Servant of God Isaac Hecker, which seem so poignantly and prophetically apropos:

If Christ is to be for us a savior, we must find him here, now and where we are, in this age of ours also; otherwise he is no Christ, no Savior, no Immanuel, no “God with us.”

Complete Article HERE!

Slovenian Catholic church backs referendum on repeal of gay marriage law

Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore wants the people of Slovenia to vote on whether to repeal a law allowing gay people to legally marry because he thinks they will vote how the church wants them to

Archbishop Zore
Archbishop Zore believes the people with vote in line with their faith if given the chance


One of the leading Catholic voices in Slovenia has backed the campaign for a referendum on same-sex marriage in the hope that the right can be stripped away.

Lawmakers passed a bill that legalized same-sex marriage in Slovenia in March, making it the first Central European country to do so, but opponents initiated the process of implementing a referendum to repeal the law and the issue ended up in court.

Slovenia’s Constitutional Court has been weighing the legality of a referendum as the country’s constitution expressly prohibits popular votes on laws eliminating an unconstitutionality in the field of human rights.

The court is expect to publish a decision on the matter sometime after September and in the meantime opponents continue to push for the referendum.

If the court decides a referendum is constitutional then same-sex marriage should stand as the law of the land.

Speaking to Demokracija, Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislav Zore said it should be up to the Slovenian people to decide the issue.

Zore said the belief that marriage was only between a man and a woman was one of the ‘fundamental truths of our faith,’ and that people in the majority Catholic country should be able to have their voices heard.

Complete Article HERE!