‘Coming Out Day’ Still Celebrated at Catholic Colleges



A number of Catholic colleges and universities across the country are sponsoring or are allowing events on campus in the next week to mark “National Coming Out Day,” a day to celebrate “coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally.” According to the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign, which actively works against the Catholic Church on issues of human sexuality, October 11 marks the 28th anniversary of the celebration.

“Coming out” refers to the phrase “coming out of the closet,” used to express when one publicly declares their attraction outober-events-georgetownto members of the same sex. These sexual attractions are referred to in our current culture in terms of “identities” that define an individual. “Coming Out Day” celebrations serve to lead persons to embrace and be proud of those “identities,” which are rooted in sexual attractions and lifestyles considered either disordered or immoral by the Church.

Same-sex attraction is not a sin, but is referred to as “disordered” and a “trial” for those experiencing those attractions in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church does teach that same-sex sexual activity is a mortal sin, as is all sexual activity outside the confines of marriage, as understood by the Church.

Despite the mandate of Catholic institutions of higher education to teach and lead students to the truth in Christ, many Catholic colleges continue to support “Coming Out Day” celebrations while completely avoiding events to help students understand Church teaching on sexuality, chastity and gender.

“Events like ‘Coming Out Day’ run the risk of equating a person’s identity with his or her sexual attractions, which, although they form a significant part of a person’s experience, are only one factor in the whole complex reality of what it means to be a human being,” said Father Philip Bochanski, newly appointed executive director of Courage International, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society last year. “Promoting events that reduce a person’s identity to his or her sexual attractions betrays our Catholic faith in the dignity of the human person, and does a disservice to those it claims to defend.”

‘Coming Out’ at Georgetown

Georgetown University, America’s oldest Catholic college, is sponsoring a “Coming Out Day” celebration along with events during the entire month of October leading students to celebrate and embrace LGBTQ “identities.” Last year the Newman Society reported on the expansion of the university’s “OUTober” events to focus more on “transgender” students who wish to be recognized as a gender that differs from their biological sex. This year the focus is on “honoring our histories” according to the university’s LGBTQ Resource Center website.

“Coming Out Day” in Red Square, Georgetown’s “free speech” zone, kicks off the OUTober events on October 7. “Come join us on our annual Coming Out Day, featuring a door through which students ‘come out’ as proud LGBTQ Hoyas and Allies,” the event description reads. “Be sure to pick up and wear your ‘I AM’ t-shirt throughout the day to promote visibility and awareness.”


Georgetown’s “I AM” campaign encourages students and faculty to tell their personal stories of embracing their same-sex attraction and gender identity confusion. Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center produced a series of videos with students, faculty and staff giving their testimonies.

The listed partners for the OUTober events include Georgetown’s Campus Ministry and Department of Theology. None of the event descriptions include mention of Catholic teaching on human sexuality and chastity.

In their 2006 guidelines on ministering to those with same-sex attraction, the U.S. bishops stated: “Love and truth go together. … The Church cannot support organizations or individuals whose work contradicts, is ambiguous about, or neglects her teaching on sexuality.” The document reaffirmed a 1986 letter to bishops issued by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that stated: “[W]e wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral.”

Coming Out’ at Other Catholic Colleges

The student group PRIDE at the University of San Diego (USD) is scheduled to hold a “National Coming Out Day” celebration which aims to “encourage the USD community to ‘come out’ as LGBTQ and Ally and embrace our many identities.” Peter Marlow, associate vice president of university communications at USD, told the Newman Society that the event is not sponsored by the university and the university is committed to embodying the Church’s teachings on marriage and human sexuality. But the event is being promoted using university resources on the USD website.

Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., is celebrating “Coming Out Day” on October 11. The university’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies developed a series of events to promote October as “LGBTQ+ History Month.”

The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., is holding a “Coming Out Coffee House” on October 20, described as “An open mic space for LGBTQIA individuals to tell their coming out stories.”

Sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Center, “National Coming Out Day” will be celebrated at the University of San Francisco with “a quick interactive game” and an “interactive collaborative art piece.” “There are so many words to describe the different identities around gender and sexuality within ourselves, but are they enough? Do we even know all what all these words mean?” the event description reads.

The student club PRIDE at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus is commemorating “LGBT History Month” with a “Coming Out Week.” A representative of the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs told the Newman Society that events during the week will include an opportunity to speak at a coffee shop, a door through which people can “come out” as LGBT or as allies, and a trivia night.

Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., which embraces the label of “one of the most LGBT friendly Catholic campuses in the country,” held a “Coming Out Week LGBTQIA Bingo” on October 3.

Fr. Bochanski told the Newman Society last year that silence from Catholic colleges on the issues of chastity and sexual morality not only confuses students “but makes it more difficult for them to hear and live by the truth of the Gospel, which is that chastity sets a person free to love authentically.”

“Catholic institutions should defend the rights and dignity of those who experience same-sex attractions by promoting the whole teaching of the Church: that these brothers and sisters of ours ought to be welcomed with respect and compassion, and ought to receive every support we can give them to live virtuous, chaste lives,” he said.

Complete Article HERE!


“The world is tired of dishonest charmers, fashionable priests and leaders of pointless crusades”

In his address to new bishops attending their annual formation course, the Pope urged them to make mercy pastoral, to do their utmost to reach out to God’s people and be close to fragile families. In the seminaries, he advised them to aim for quality not quantity and not to trust those who retreat into a rigid way of thinking

Francis to newly-appointed bishops: “The world is tired of dishonest charmers, fashionable priests and leaders of pointless crusades”

Francis to newly-appointed bishops: “The world is tired of dishonest charmers, fashionable priests and leaders of pointless crusades”

By iacvopo scaramuzzi

“The world is tired of dishonest charmers… And, I dare say, ‘fashionable’ priests and bishops. People sense this, the people of God have this sense and they refuse and distance themselves when they recognise narcissists, manipulators, defenders of their own causes, leaders of pointless crusades.” Pope Francis addressed a long speech to newly appointed bishops attending a training course in Rome, touching on a number of aspects relating to their ministry. He started with the importance of making mercy pastoral, in other words “accessible, tangible and possible to find,” “mercy” being “the essence of what God offers the world”. Bishops, Francis said, must be capable of seducing and attracting men and women of our time to God, without “complaints”, “leav[ing] no stone unturned in order to reach them, and spare no effort in recovering them”. Bishops must also be capable of initiating their Churches (“Today we ask for too much fruit from trees that have not been sufficiently cultivated”). Francis then asked them to take special care of “the structures of initiation of your Churches, especially the seminaries”, focusing on the “quality of the discipleship” rather than on the “quantity” of seminarians. The Pope beseeched bishops “to act with great prudence and responsibility in welcoming candidates or incardinating priests in your local Churches”. Francis also invited bishops to be close to their clergy, who were placed along their path “by chance” as well as families with their “fragility”.

“Ask God, who is full of mercy, what the secret is for making his mercy pastoral in your dioceses,” Francis said in his speech to the 154 new bishops (16 from missionary territories) who took part in the annual training course jointly organised by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. “Mercy must form and inform the pastoral structures of your Churches. … Do not be afraid of proposing mercy as the essence of what God offers the world because there is no greater thing the heart can aspire to. As my venerable and wise predecessor taught, ‘it is mercy that puts an end to evil,” Francis said quoting Benedict XVI, adding two rhetorical questions: “Can our insecurities and mistrust perchance inspire tenderness and consolation in the midst of solitude and abandonment?”

To make mercy “accessible, tangible and possible to find,” the Pope recalled first and foremost that “a remote and indifferent god can even be ignored, but one does not so easily resist a God Who is so close, and wounded out of love. Goodness, beauty, truth, love – this is what we can offer to this begging world, even if it is in half-broken bowls. However, it is not about attracting to oneself. The world is tired of dishonest charmers. And, I dare say, ‘fashionable’ priests and bishops. People sense this, the people of God have this sense and they refuse and distance themselves when they recognise narcissists, manipulators, defenders of their own causes, leaders of pointless crusades. Rather, seek to follow God, Who already introduces Himself before your arrival. … God never gives up! Instead we, accustomed to surrender, who often give in, preferring to allow ourselves to be convinced that truly they were able to eliminate him and invent bitter discourses to justify the idleness that blocks us in the immobile sound of vain complaints. It is horrible when a bishop complains.”

Secondly, the Pope said it is essential to “initiate” those who are entrusted to pastors: “Please, I ask you to have no other perspective from which to look upon your faithful other than that of their uniqueness; leave no stone unturned in order to reach them, and spare no effort in recovering them. Be bishops capable of initiating your Churches in this abyss of love. Today,” Francis underlined, “we ask for too much fruit from trees that have not been sufficiently cultivated. The sense of initiation has been lost, and yet the truly essential things in life may be reached solely through initiation. Think of the educational crisis, the transmission of both content and values, emotional illiteracy, vocational paths, discernment in families, the search for peace: all these require initiation and journeys guided with perseverance, patience and constancy, the signs that distinguish the good shepherd from the hireling”.

Francis focused his attention especially on the formation of future priests: “I urge you to take special care of the structures of initiation of your Churches, especially the seminaries. Do not allow yourselves to be tempted by numbers, by the quantity of vocations. Seek instead the quality of the discipleship. Do not deprive seminarians of your firm and loving fatherly touch. Let them grow until they are free to be with God “as calm and peaceful as a child weaning in its mother’s arm”, not prisoners of their own whims, overcome by fragility but free to embrace all that God asks of them, even when this is not as pleasant as the maternal womb was at the start. Beware also of seminarians who retreat into a rigid way of thinking – there is always something ugly beneath the surface”. “I also beg you to act with great prudence and responsibility in welcoming candidates or incardinating priests in your local Churches. Remember that from the very beginning the relationship between a local Church and her priests is inseparable, and a vagrant clergy in transit from one place to another is never accepted”.

Finally, quoting the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Pope said bishops should be “capable of accompanying”: “Be bishops with a heart wounded by a mercy like this, tireless in the humble task of accompanying the man that God, ‘by chance’, has placed in your way.” Francis had another request for bishops: “Accompany first, and with patient care, your clergy” and “reserve special accompaniment for all families, rejoicing with their generous love and encouraging the immense good they bestow in this world. Be watchful, above all, of those that are most wounded. Do not pass over their fragility.”

“I am pleased to welcome you and to share with you some thoughts that spring to the Successor of Peter’s mind when he has before him those who have been “fished” from God’s heart, to lead his Holy People,” the Pope had started by saying. “May God save you from rendering this thrill fruitless, from taming it and emptying it of its ‘destabilising” power”. Let yourselves be destabilised, it’s good for bishops,” Francis said. “Many people these days mask and conceal themselves. They like to construct personalities and invent profiles. … They are unable to bear the thrill of knowing that they are known by Someone Who is greater and Who does not despise our littleness, Who is more Holy and does not reproach our weakness, Who is truly good and is not scandalised by our wounds. May it not be so for you,” he concluded, “let that thrill run through you, do not remove it or silence it”.

Complete Article HERE!


Gay clergy urge greater inclusion in Church of England


Fourteen Church of England clergy in same-sex marriages have called on bishops to do more to include gay people in the life of the Church.

In a letter to the Sunday Times, they said they wanted to eventually see gay couples allowed to marry in Church.

Some of the clergy signing the letter were revealing they were gay and married for the first time publicly.

Their letter comes after Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain said on Friday he was gay and in a relationship.

Publication comes in the run-up to a College of Bishops meeting from 12 to 15 September which will discuss issues of episcopal ministry and mission.

The clergy said bishops should be bold, and allow gay people to “celebrate without fear and in openness”, though they said that now is not yet the time to change the church’s official understanding of marriage.

The letter reads: “But many in our parishes have already made that move and it is time to respect that a diversity of theology within the Church now exists and that there is more than one understanding of what a faithful Christian may believe on these issues.

“As you meet to discuss, we seek from you a clear lead that offers a way forward to greater inclusion that will enable those parishes that wish to do so to celebrate the love that we have found in our wives and husbands.

“We hope for an outcome that will enable those who wish to do so to publicly celebrate where we see God at work in the lives of our congregations without fear and in openness.”

 The Bishop of Grantham became a suffragan in the Lincoln diocese in November last year

The Bishop of Grantham became a suffragan in the Lincoln diocese in November last year

Bishop Chamberlain revealed he was gay in an interview with the Guardian, in which he said he understood and lived by the Church guidelines, which say gay clergy must remain celibate.

Following the news, the conservative Anglican group Gafcon said appointing a gay man as the bishop of Grantham had been a “major error”.

Bishop Chamberlain was consecrated last year by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby – who has said he knew about the bishop’s sexuality.

Same sex relationships and the Church

The House of Bishops has issued guidance about gay relationships which say “same sex relationships often embody genuine mutuality and fidelity”.

But the guidance adds: “Getting married to someone of the same sex would, however, clearly be at variance with the teaching of the Church of England.”

In particular, it says “It would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage.”

The Church also teaches that “Sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively.”

However, these sentiments have not been followed throughout the Anglican communion.

 Gene Robinson is considered the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican world

Gene Robinson is considered the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican world

In the US, Gene Robinson’s election as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 provoked a furore from conservative Anglicans around the world, and contributed to the rise of the conservative Gafcon movement.

In the UK, the Dean of St Albans, the Very Reverend Jeffrey John entered into a civil partnership in 2006.

He was twice tipped to become a bishop – at Reading in 2003, then at Southwark in 2010 – but was not appointed. On both occasions his sexuality was stated as a “difficulty” for Church of England – despite his assurance that he was committed to sexual abstinence.

The Church of England’s teaching remains that marriage is for heterosexual couples – with clergy permitted to live celibate lives in civil partnerships – although these rules have never been tested by a church court.

Speaking in January, the Archbishop of Canterbury apologised for “hurt and pain” caused by the Anglican Church to the LGBT community.

‘Direction of travel’

The letter to the Sunday Times called on the bishops to to be “honest about what many of you already believe from your own experience, and to what you know to be increasingly the direction of travel, not just in our Church but in many churches in this country”.

It added: “We will always want to see the full inclusion of LGBTI people in the Church, and we will continue to work towards it. We look forward to welcoming a first step in that process and a move away from the harm and hurt that has so often been done in the name of the Church.”

The bishops have already received a letter from 72 traditionalist members of the ruling general synod encouraging them to abide by biblical teaching on sexuality.

LGBTI Mission, which campaigns for the acceptance of LGBTI people within the Church of England, welcomed Bishop Chamberlain’s announcement.

It said: “We hope this will lead to increased openness among bishops so that burden does not long remain on the Bishop of Grantham alone.”

The letter’s signatories are:

Clergy: Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain and Stephen Foreshew-Cain, Rev Richard Haggis and Ricardo Goncalves, Rev Garry Lawson and Timothy H Wane, Rev Clive Larson and John Markham, Rev Paul Collier and Mr Collier, Rev Canon Jeremy Davies and Simon McEnery, Rev Geoffrey Thompson and Tony Steeles, Rev Prof Mark Cobb and Keith Arrowsmith

Laity: Jeremy Timm and Mike Brown, Ruth Wilde and Ellie Wilde, Jack Semple and Ross Griffiths, Paul Jellings and Andrew Carter, Erica Baker and Susan Strong, Karen and Samantha Bregazzi-Jones, Keith Barber and Tim Mills, Simon Dawson and David Mooney

The Times said a further seven clergy couples and Readers have indicated their support for the letter but wished to remain anonymous in order to protect themselves, and often their bishops, from attack.

Complete Article HERE!


New Jersey priest fired for backing gay rights

File under:  You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down

The Rev. Warren Hall leads a special mass for couples renewing their vows on Valentine’s Day 2014 at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on Steon Hall University's South Orange campus.

The Rev. Warren Hall leads a special mass for couples renewing their vows on Valentine’s Day 2014 at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on Steon Hall University’s South Orange campus.

By David Gibson

Father Warren Hall said he was notified by phone on Wednesday that Newark Archbishop John Myers, an outspoken conservative, says Hall’s actions are “confusing the faithful” by supporting gay advocacy groups and backing a counselor fired for being in a same-sex marriage.

The Catholic archbishop in New Jersey has barred a gay priest from ministry because the cleric supports gay advocacy groups and has backed a Catholic high school counselor who was fired when church officials discovered the woman was in a same-sex marriage.

Father Warren Hall said he was notified by phone on Wednesday (Aug. 31) that Newark Archbishop John Myers, an outspoken conservative who has submitted his retirement papers to Pope Francis, says Hall’s actions are “confusing the faithful.”

As a result, Hall will no longer be able to celebrate Mass in public, present himself as a priest or work in the New Jersey parishes where he has been ministering.

“The problem is that we have an archbishop who doesn’t believe you can be gay and Catholic,” Hall, who is on vacation, wrote in an email.

He also tweeted about the move Wednesday afternoon:


Myers’ issues with Hall go back to May of last year, when the archbishop fired Hall from his job as chaplain at Seton Hall University for a Facebook post in which Hall showed support for the anti-bullying “NOH8” campaign that encourages respect for gay people and gay rights.

Hall, who said he remains committed to his vocation as a priest and to his vow of celibacy, a few weeks later acknowledged that he is gay.

The Newark Archdiocese said that was also a problem because “someone who labels himself or another in terms of sexual orientation or attraction contradicts what the (Catholic) Church teaches.”

The tensions seemed to have eased two months later when Myers assigned Hall to assist at two parishes in northern New Jersey across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan.

But Hall has continued to publicly back several gay groups and gay Catholics in particular.

He is set to speak next week to a New Jersey chapter of PFLAG, founded as a support group for parents and friends of gay people, and he has expressed support for the gun control group Gays Against Guns, the LGBT Community Center in New York and New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT organization.

Hall said that in the phone call informing him of the suspension, Monsignor Thomas Nydegger, Myers’ second-in-command, also cited Hall’s support for an unofficial gay and lesbian ministry at the church’s World Youth Day in Poland in July and his support for a guidance counselor who has sued the archdiocese for firing her over her same-sex marriage.

The woman, Kate Drumgoole, last month filed suit against Paramus Catholic High School – where she was a guidance counselor and basketball coach until her dismissal in January – and the archdiocese for violating anti-discrimination laws and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

Lawyers for the archdiocese said she violated church teachings and the school’s code of ethics when she married her partner.

In his email, Hall said he was “upset” by Myers’ actions against him and that it would be hard to break the news to parishioners at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Hoboken and St. Lawrence Church in Weehawken, where he has served for the past year: “They fully welcomed me after my firing from Seton Hall last year, they know my personal story and made me a member of the family.

“Since my firing from Seton Hall and coming out last year I felt an obligation to use this as an opportunity to more directly let people know of God’s love for all of us and that gay Catholics should stay in the church and work for more wider acceptance,” he wrote. “I do not feel I ever preached or taught anything contrary to the Gospel (and) this is true from my entire 27 years of ordination” as a priest.

A spokesman for Myers, James Goodness, said in an email on Thursday that the suspension was not about Hall’s sexual orientation but about his public stands.

“Every Catholic priest promises to be reverent and obedient to his bishop,” Goodness said. “A priest’s actions and statements always must be consistent with the discipline, norms and teachings of the Catholic Church. When they are ordained, priests agree to accept the bishop’s judgment about assignments and involvement in ministry.”

In a statement lamenting Hall’s suspension, Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, called Hall “courageous” and said “the archbishop is saying that his church fears associating with LGBT people – a fear which is contrary to the gospel.”

Hall’s ministry, DeBernardo said, “is in line with the church’s own authentic teaching that its ministers must reach out to all those who have been marginalized. He is in line with Pope Francis’ more pastoral and welcoming approach towards LGBT people.”

Myers submitted his resignation to Francis in July when he turned 75, as required by canon law.

But the pontiff, who is reportedly overhauling the episcopal search process to find candidates in tune with his pastoral agenda, has not yet named a replacement.

Complete Article HERE!


Catholics hold ‘Liturgy of Apology’ to LGBTI People

‘We wanted to make sure the event was ethical, respectful and safe for all’

(L-R) Justin Koonin, ACON President, Chris Pycroft, co-convenor NSW GLRL, Chris Pycroft, Co-Convenor, Natalie Cooper, PFLAG Secretary Organization and Father Peter Maher.

(L-R) Justin Koonin, ACON President, Chris Pycroft, co-convenor NSW GLRL, Chris Pycroft, Co-Convenor, Natalie Cooper, PFLAG Secretary Organization and Father Peter Maher.

NEWTOWN’S Catholic Church has become one of the world’s first churches to apologise to LGBTI people for the hurt caused by the action and inaction of Catholic and Christian people and churches.

In June, Pope Francis called for an apology to gay and lesbian people and St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Newtown become one of the first to respond holding a Liturgy of Apology organised by the Rainbow Catholic Interagency for Ministry on Friday.

“It was difficult to choose which personal stories to share during the liturgy; each individual’s story is so powerful, unique and precious,” Francis Voon, a Catholic organiser said.

“As organisers we wanted to make sure the event was ethical, respectful and safe for all. There are so many heartbreaking stories of our LGBTIQ siblings.

“Some have been badly hurt by us as a church community. Others we have failed completely, to the point of suicide, because of prejudice, ignorance and fear, and worse still, in God’s name.

“Tonight, with Pope Francis’ encouragement, in the name of God, we apologise for religious LGBTIQ-phobia, and we pledge to work towards healing and reconciliation in this Year of Mercy.”

One of the stories shared at the liturgy of apology was of a gay man who attempted suicided after he was forced to undergo gay conversion programs promoted by the church.

The liturgy included a symbolic Well of Tears which the congregation was invited to interact with and triggered a lot of emotion for people at the event.

“It was a powerful and raw moment of letting go and of forgiveness” said an attendee.

“I came tonight with trepidation and deep reservation having not been to church for over 20 over years, having been deeply hurt by homophobic actions and words of Catholic church leaders. I feel hope and peace. That there are many ordinary and good Catholic people working hard to hold the church accountable for the violence they have inflicted on LGBTIQ people, including LGBTIQ Catholics here and elsewhere”.

Dignitaries from various Catholic parishes and other faith communities attended the event to hear St Joseph’s parish priest Father Peter Maher issue the apology to the LGBTI community.

“I couldn’t believe the diversity of communities leaders who are here this evening for this historical ceremony, and the fact that Christian leaders actually came up to us and other LGBTIQ folks saying how sorry they are for the way by which the church has in the past and some parts that still lend support to those who wish to vilify and hurt LGBTIQ people,” Benjamin Oh, Chair of the Rainbow Catholics InterAgency for Ministry said.

Melody Gardiner from Australian Catholics for Equality said “Saying sorry is a good start. There are thousands of LGBTIQ people and families in our parishes and many more who no longer feel they belong or are welcome. The majority of Australian Catholics support and celebrate LGBTIQ people, we are their families and friends.”

“Some church leaders don’t care to hear our stories, let alone ask for forgiveness for what they have done to us. Tonight is the beginning of new possibilities for our Catholic and Christian communities here in Sydney and across Australia.

Rainbow Christians globally are watching and we hope to see other Churches and communities follow the example Liturgy of Apology we have seen tonight”.

Complete Article HERE!