Study: Homophobes May Have ‘Unacknowledged Attraction To The Same-Sex’

“Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires,” a series of physiological studies conducted by scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara conclude. “Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,” explains Netta Weinstein, the study’s lead author. “In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” says co-author Richard Ryan.

Complete Article HERE!

Priests warn Vatican over move to censor one of their own

An 800-strong group of Irish priests has said it is disturbed over the Vatican’s silencing of one of its members for his liberal views.

The Association of Catholic Priests has warned that forcing Father Tony Flannery to stop writing for a Redemptorist magazine will fuel belief of a disconnect between Irish Catholics and Rome.

“We believe that such an approach, in its individual focus on Fr Flannery and inevitably by implication on the members of the association, is an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland,” the group said.

“We wish to make clear our profound view that this intervention is unfair, unwarranted and unwise.”

Fr Flannery, a founder of the association, has had his monthly column with the religious publication Reality pulled on orders from Rome.

A second priest, Father Gerard Moloney, the magazine’s editor, has been ordered to stop writing on certain issues.

Both priests hold liberal views on contraception, celibacy and women priests.

At least a dozen priests had already publicly declared support for Fr Flannery and Fr Moloney in messages on the association’s website.

In a strongly-worded statement, the group said Fr Flannery’s writings should not be seen as an attack on or rejection of the fundamental teachings of the church but a reflection on issues surfacing in parishes nationwide.

It said they also reject their portrayal in some circles as a “small coterie of radical priests with a radical agenda”.

“Accordingly, we wish to register our extreme unease and disquiet at the present development, not least the secrecy surrounding such interventions and the questions about due process and freedom of conscience that such interventions surface,” the group said.

“At this critical juncture in our history, the ACP believes that this form of intervention – what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin recently called ‘heresy-hunting’ – is of no service to the Irish Catholic Church and may have the unintended effect of exacerbating a growing perception of a significant ‘disconnect’ between the Irish Church and Rome.”

Fr Flannery, who has written on religious matters in the Redemptorist magazine for 14 years, is under investigation by the Vatican over his views.

As well as expressing opposition to the church’s ban on contraception and women priests, Fr Flannery publicly backed Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s unprecedented attack on the Catholic hierarchy in the aftermath of the Cloyne Report last year.

In a Holy Thursday homily at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Pope Benedict warned that the church will not tolerate priests speaking out against Catholic teaching.

Complete Article HERE!

Churches miss Jesus’ messages


Today is Easter Sunday, which makes it a good time to talk about Jesus.

You know, the real Jesus — the guy who preached humility and sacrifice. The prophet who urged his followers to relinquish power and embrace the poor. The man who, even when persecuted by ignorant enemies, offered nothing but forgiveness and love.

Twelve years of Catholic school does not a theologian make, but I’m guessing that if Jesus returned to Earth in 2012, He’d be hard-pressed to recognize the strident messages from some church leaders and activists who purport to speak in His name.

Last November, Archbishop Charles Chaput lectured at Assumption College about a sexual minority seeking to dominate life in America, according to Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. When Whelan asked the archbishop during the question-and-answer segment if the bishops planned to address poverty at their annual meeting, the archbishop replied that there wasn’t enough time, Whelan said.

But the bishops have time for other issues. From the pulpit, they continue to rail against the evils of contraception, even if they no longer speak for the overwhelming majority of Catholic women. One of their priorities for 2012 was overturning mandatory birth control coverage in health plans. They lobby against same-sex marriage while remaining largely silent about established teachings of the church, such as opposition to the death penalty and protection of the poor.

Meanwhile, incredibly, a number of Christian right organizations devote their efforts toward defeating anti-bullying measures intended to protect kids. In Arizona, which grows odder by the day, a group associated with Focus on the Family pressured lawmakers into rejecting an anti-bullying bill because the bill was really an effort to “force cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles.” In Washington, Concerned Women of America claimed that a Student Non-Discrimination Act aims to promote “acceptance” of homosexual behavior. In Michigan, a Christian right lobby tried to exempt bullies who acted out of a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

Again, I’m no theologian, but I’m thinking that Jesus would certainly not believe it’s OK for a bully to shove a gay kid against a locker, based on Catholic teachings. I’ll bet Jesus would be sickened by the number of young people who take their own lives after being bullied. I highly doubt that Jesus would endorse cruelty against anyone, gay or straight, by equating it with religious freedom.

The cover of the current issue of Newsweek offers this advice: “Forget the Church: Follow Jesus.” Inside, writer Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic, argues that contemporary Christianity is in “crisis” and has crossed the line between church and state. He claims that the Church lost much authority over its flock when it prohibited the pill in 1968, and lost whatever moral authority remained after the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Rather than address those issues, the bishops “obsess about others’ sex lives, about who is entitled to civil marriage, and about who pays for birth control in health insurance,” Sullivan writes. “Inequality, poverty, even the torture institutionalized by the government after 9/11: These issues attract far less of their public attention.”

He also writes this: “I have no concrete idea how Christianity will wrestle free of its current crisis, of its distractions and temptations … But I do know it won’t happen by even more furious denunciations of others, by focusing on politics rather than prayer, by concerning ourselves with the sex lives and heretical thoughts of others rather than with the constant struggle to liberate ourselves from what keeps us from God.”

The message isn’t new, but it’s more timely than ever.

Complete Article HERE!

Bettany Hughes: Women ‘held sway’ in early church

Bettany Hughes believes that the early church presents a profound case for the ordination of women.

As the Church of England moves towards its first women bishops, the historian will argue in an upcoming TV programme that the ordination of women neither contradicts the faith nor the practice of church in its early formation.

“By suppressing the true story of the connection between women and religion, we etiolate both history and the possibilities of our own world,” she wrote in Radio Times.

She believes that the early church was a place where women were the “lifeblood”. In the first 200 years of Christianity, more than half of all the churches in Rome were built by women, she says, while Paul invited Phoebe to take the word of God to Rome.

In the early church, women had been allowed to preside as deaconesses, priestesses and bishops.

“This Easter will be the last when I go to a church knowing it will be dominated by men. I love my (male) vicar, who has spent 45 years encouraging his flock to be clear-sighted about the world – past, present and sublime,” she said.

“But the paradoxical thing for me as a historian is that I’m keenly aware Christianity was originally a faith where the female of the species held sway.”

Miss Hughes is to present the BBC Two series Divine Women, which explores the role women have played in world religions.

She suggests that a stronger role for women would be good for the church.

“Consider this: throughout the history of humanity, 97 per cent of all deities of wisdom have been female.

“Who knows whether God is a girl, but mankind has turned to the female of the species for good ideas.

“Our own monotheistic institutions might do well to take a leaf out of the book of human experience and build on this consensus when it comes to reaping the benefits of a close relationship between women and the divine.”

Complete Article HERE!

Women Priests in Santa Barbara

Perhaps in some prior century, Suzanne Dunn and Jeannette Love might have been burned at the stake as heretics. These two gray-haired women ​— ​both quick to smile, soft-spoken, and light of spirit ​— ​are exactly what the Pope and Vatican insist can never be: ordained women priests. Yet three years ago, Dunn ​— ​a one-time parish administrator at St. Joseph’s in Carpinteria ​— ​was ordained in Santa Barbara by female bishop Dana Reynolds, who claims she can trace her own ordination back to St. Peter, the first Pope.

Complete Article HERE!