Vatican investigates gay-friendly Mexican bishop

Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo, Mexico has told a Mexican newspaper he has received “a series of questions” from the Vatican about his support for the San Elredo community, which holds positions on homosexuality that are contrary to Church teaching.

“There has been a call from the Vatican and I am ready to clear things up … I have to respond to a series of questions that Vatican City has sent me about my work with homosexuals,” Bishop Vera told the newspaper Zocalo.

He said the Vatican inquiry has come about “because a Catholic agency based in Peru, ACI Prensa, has made false claims that I promote homosexual relations.”

ACI Prensa is Catholic News Agency’s Spanish-language sister publication.

He accused ACI Prensa of distorting his work. “They allege that I am against the magisterium of the Church and unfortunately they are driven by prejudice and phobias against the homosexual community.”

The request for clarification from the Holy See, he insisted, “is because this Catholic news agency has said outrageous things.”

Bishop Vera told the newspaper, “In the Diocese of Saltillo, we have very clear objectives. We work with (the gay community) to help them recover their human dignity, which is frequently attacked at home and in society, and they are treated like scum.”

“I am not against the magisterium of the Church, nor do I promote dishonesty. It would go against my principles to promote depravity and immorality,” he said.

In response to the Vatican inquiry, the coordinator of the San Elredo community, Noe Ruiz, told Zocalo the group would be willing to leave the diocese in order to prevent the work of Bishop Vera from being hindered.

“If tomorrow they come tell Bishop Raul Vera, ‘You are endangering your work in Saltillo because of such a small community, a network of barely 600 people,’ it would not be worth the risk,” he said.

In March of this year, Bishop Vera published a statement on the diocesan website expressing support for the “sexual, family and religious diversity forum.” The event was aimed at “eradicating what some sectors of the Church believe about homosexuality” — especially the belief “that homosexual actions are contrary to God.”

Father Robert Coogan, the American priest who founded San Elredo, maintained that the group’s work is not contrary to the teachings of the Church.

He added: “How can a person with same-sex attraction have a fulfilling life? And the only answer the Catechism gives is to tell them to be celibate, and that is not enough.

http://tinyurl.com/444zngg

Michael O’Flaherty to Head Northern Irish Human Rights Commission

Michael O’Flaherty, who is still formally a Catholic priest and who was heavily involved in the creation of a radical gay rights document, is to take over as the head of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

O’Flaherty, who has not been attached to any diocese for some years but has never been formally laicised, was a leading figure in the drafting of the Yogyakarta Principles, which advocates, among other things, legalising gay adoption.

He is to take over from Professor Monica McWilliams in September.

O’Flaherty, who currently serves as Ireland’s UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) member, is also a Professor of Applied Human Rights at the University of Nottingham. In 2008 The Irish Catholic newspaper reported that the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs had undertaken “extensive lobbying” on his behalf to ensure that he was re-elected as a representative on the HRC.

The newspaper said that Professor O’Flaherty “campaigns on a radical gay rights agenda” and that he was a Galway priest, but had “not ministered in the Galway diocese for a number of years.” Subsequent to the Irish government’s lobbying, he was re-elected to the UN Committee on Human Rights.

Professor O’Flaherty, who is an academic at the University of Nottingham, will take up the post on September 19 and will be paid €87,500. Mr Paterson has also appointed an entirely new set of commissioners, with none of the existing commissioners being re-appointed.

They will be replaced by victims’ advocate Alan McBride, Singapore-born former Equality Commission member Paul Yam, former senior social worker Marion Reynolds, retired PSNI chief inspector Milton Kerr, NIPSA general secretary John Corey, former civil servant Christine Collins and Grania Young, director of the Chartered Institute of Housing in Northern Ireland.

Professor McWilliams said she was “delighted” by the choice of her successor and added “His outstanding reputation is a great reassurance for the future work of this commission.”

The Yogyakarta Principles, drafted in 2006, is a document that sets out sweeping and detailed recommendations about advancing homosexual and transsexual rights.

Among its many recommendations are the introduction of gay adoption, the right of prisoners to have “gender-reassignment treatments”, the use of schools to ensure that children are educated to have “understanding of and respect for … diverse sexual orientations and gender identities,” positive discrimination to favour gay individuals and the suggestion that freedom of expression may have to be limited to protect gay rights

Currently, the Principles have no legal status. However, according to C-Fam, a Catholic human rights body that monitors the UN and the EU, the lobbying effort of these three groups is an attempt to elevate them to the status of “soft law.” This would enable bodies charged with reviewing countries’ compliance with international treaties be referenced in more formal contexts, such as by the UN committees, which monitor the implementation of international treaties.

In turn this would allow homosexual rights’ groups to argue that domestic legislation on such issues should give way to new, evolving soft-law international norms, despite the absence of reference to such “norms” in actual hard-law treaties ratified by sovereign nations.

http://tinyurl.com/437q9tn

Pro-gay bishop under fire

An unidentified group of people hung blankets on the railing that surrounds the Cathedral of Saltillo, Mexico with a message for Bishop Raul Vera Lopez: “We want a Catholic bishop.”

Employees at the Cathedral of Saltillo said they do not know who hung up the blankets or who took them down. “We don’t have them, and nobody here took them down,” said one employee.

According to the Mexican daily Vanguardia, the bishop chose not to respond to the July 12 protests against his leadership in the Diocese of Saltillo, where he has promoted and supported the San Elredo homosexual community, despite its positions that are at odds with Church teaching on homosexuality.

The diocese’s office of communications said Bishop Vega may issue a statement once he has been fully informed of the incident.

In June of this year, Noe Ruiz, the coordinator of San Elredo, said the group planned to ask newly elected local officials in the State of Coahuila to establish policies that respect homosexuals.

Ruiz added that his group planned to propose that same-sex couples be allowed to adopt and receive social security benefits, and that civil unions between them be called “marriage.”

The Diocese of Saltillo

In March of this year, Bishop Vera published a statement on the diocesan website expressing support for the “sexual, family and religious diversity forum.”

The event was aimed at “eradicating what some sectors of the Church believe about homosexuality” — especially the belief “that homosexual actions are contrary to God.”

Ruiz told CNA the purpose of the forum was to show that “two men or two women can raise a child and live normally like everyone else.”

Pro-family groups in Saltillo, such as the Familias Mundi Association, disagreed with that argument.

“We do not agree with forming same-sex families because families come from marriage, and marriage is a vocation that occurs between two people of the opposite sex who complement one another.”

CNA also interviewed Fr. Leopoldo Sanchez, who until a few months ago was the spiritual director for Courage Latino in Mexico, a ministry for homosexuals who wish to live according to the Church’s teachings.

“The Church reminds us that the right path is the path of love, a love that is lived in chastity, and absolutely all Christians are called to this, regardless of whether they have same-sex attraction or not,” he said.

http://tinyurl.com/3hg4wrm

New Archbishop: Gay Marriage Stops Kids From Knowing Parents Love Them

The man who will become the new Archbishop of Philadelphia in September, Charles Chaput, came out swinging against same-​sex marriage equality today, suggesting that marriage between persons of the same gender is wrong because children need to know that their parents love them, and, somehow, same-​sex marriage denies children the knowledge that their parents love them. Chaput, the first Native American Archbishop, is heralded as an intellectual Evangelical leader. Chaput’s predecessor, Justin Rigali, and his predecessor, Anthony Bevilacqua have both been accused by a grand jury of covering up sexual abuse.

“As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father,” Chaput says, illogically, regarding same-​sex marriage. If a child grows up with two fathers or two mothers, how will they not know they are loved by their parents? Typical religious attempt to de-​legimitize same-​sex headed households.

“This is the issue of our time,” Chaput adds, speaking of “gay marriage,” in an interview published today in the National Catholic Reporter. “The church understands marriage as a unique relationship, with a unique definition, which is the faithful love of a man and a woman for each other, permanent, and for the sake of children. As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father. For us to redefine marriage as anything else undermines that notion. I think it’s very important that the church keep insisting on this.

“It’s also important to say that we’re not against gay people” Chaput says, towing the new line of religious rhetoric. Saying “we’re not against gay people,” while trying to de-​legimitize everything we do, including our relationships and our families, is ludicrous.

“What we’re doing here is promoting marriage and the meaning of marriage, not condemning others. The church does believe that human sexuality has a meaning in itself, that it’s about love and procreation. Any other sexual relationship is contrary to the Gospel, and so a relationship between two people of the same sex is not in line with the teachings of the church and the teachings of the Gospel, and is therefore wrong. That said, we should always respect people who do things contrary to the Gospel. We live in a society where different ways of life are accepted by the general community, and it’s important for us to live in a way that’s not hostile to people.

“We have a duty as Catholics, however, to speak clearly about God’s plan for human happiness. Part of that plan is traditional, faithful, Catholic/​Christian marriage.”

Once again, the Catholic Church is in direct contradiction with its congregants.

http://tinyurl.com/3jbp7cc

Philadelphia Cardinal Rigali resigns after abuse probe

The archbishop of the US city of Philadelphia has resigned, months after renewed accusations that the Catholic Church covered up child sex abuse.

Cardinal Justin Rigali had submitted his resignation in April 2010 upon turning 75, but Pope Benedict XVI did not act on it until now.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of the US city of Denver is to replace him.

US grand juries in 2005 and 2011 said the church protected abuser priests and left some in contact with children.
Time limits

Cardinal Rigali has been Philadelphia archbishop since 2003 and his retirement was expected this year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In 2005, a Philadelphia grand jury said Cardinal Rigali’s predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bevilacqua, and his predecessor, Cardinal John Krol, knew priests were sexually abusing children but transferred the priests among parishes.

Time limits prevented that panel from bringing charges, however.

The archdiocese reacted by saying the grand jury’s report was “discriminatory” and “sensationalised” and accused investigators of “bullying” Cardinal Bevilacqua during his testimony sessions.

Cardinal Bevilacqua, however, repeated “my heartfelt and sincere apologies” to abuse victims.
Priests suspended

Then, in February 2011 a second grand jury report said at least 37 priests were kept in assignments that exposed them to children despite “substantial evidence of abuse”.

Cardinal Rigali responded by suspending more than 20 priests.

His successor, Cardinal Chaput, 66, is known as a staunch conservative and a vigorous opponent of abortion rights.

Last year he defended the decision by a Catholic school in Denver, Colorado to expel two children of a lesbian couple.

http://tinyurl.com/3wr5xly