Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP on ‘LGBT+ Catholics in a Synodal Church’

Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP

Hello. I am so sorry that I cannot be with you today. I have such happy memories of the time when I was on the rota to celebrate Mass for our LGBT+ brothers and sisters in Soho before the Mass moved to the care of the Jesuits in Farm Street.

I have been asked to say something about the place of LBGT Catholics in a Synodal Church. I am sorry that my talk will be so short. I have just returned from a lecture tour in Italy and France and I am off in a couple of days to Israel, to be with the Dominicans in Jerusalem at the Ecole Biblique so, to be honest, I feel rather rushed off my feet.

A few days ago, the Vatican asked me to do something which was unimaginable a few years ago. I was asked to write a foreword for the English translation of a book by a young Italian, Luigi Testa. It is called Via Crucis di un Ragazzo Gay (The Way of the Cross of a Gay Lad). The Italian preface, which is marvellous, was written by an Italian bishop, the vice-president of the Italian Bishops’ conference. We follow Luigi’s sufferings as young gay person as he walks the way of the Cross, accompanied by Jesus. It is deeply moving. The book is part of a series promoted by the Vatican, of theology from the peripheries. It is a sign of the profound conversion which is taking place at the centre of the Church, as she reaches out to people who have been marginalised and rejected, and says ‘This is your home. We are incomplete without you.’

Before the Synod, Pope Francis frequently stressed that all are welcome. Last August in Portugal, he underlined this at the World Youth Day. ‘All, all, all; todos, todos, todos!’ The divorced and remarried, gay people, transgender people. He wrote earlier ‘The Church is called on to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open … where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems and to move towards those who feel the need to take up again their path of faith.’

When the Synod opened in October, many of the participants shared Pope Francis’ eagerness to affirm that the Church really is for us all! It is where we should all be at ease. It was this message of hope and love which led to the foundation of those Masses in Soho twenty-five years ago.

At the Synod, this message was repeated, but it was evident that many people were nervous of it. Some participants felt uneasy at even sitting next to Father James Martin SJ, who has been for many years a brave champion of the warm inclusion of gay people in the Church. One person even refused to sit next to him. Others of us too felt the chill as I did. During the Synod, Pope Francis again signalled his welcome by publicly inviting to lunch Sister Jeanine Gramick and Francis DeBernardo, founders of the New Ways Ministry. I had lunch with them the next day and they felt enormously affirmed.

But in the document produced at the end of this first session, the Synthesis, the term LGBT+ was dropped although it has been used in other Vatican documents and by the Pope. So there seemed to be a certain retreat from the openness we had hoped for. Still the Assembly did vote almost unanimously for this proposition: ‘In different ways, people who feel marginalized or excluded from the Church because of their marriage status, identity or sexuality also ask to be heard and accompanied. There was a deep sense of love, mercy and compassion felt in the Assembly for those who are or feel hurt or neglected by the Church, who want a place to call “home” where they can feel safe, be heard and respected, without fear of feeling judged. Listening is a prerequisite for walking together in search of God’s will. The Assembly reiterates that Christians must always show respect for the dignity of every person.’ (Synthesis, 16. h)

Given that in so many countries, homosexuality is still criminalised and despised, this was encouraging. But here the Church faces a challenge to which I hope that you will be able to help us respond. The Church is called to be open to all people, whatever they love and live, and to all cultures. What if some cultures are not open to gay people? How can we embrace in the universal Church cultures which exclude people?

This issue exploded last year. On December 18th, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document called Fiducia Supplicans. I confess that, to my shame, I have not studied the text closely. It gives permission for priests in specific situations to bless people in what are usually called “irregular situations”, the divorced and remarried, gay couples. Pope Francis stressed that we all need to be blessed as we seek to find our way forward in love.

Every attempt was made to play down the crisis. The Pope accepted the document. Cardinal Ambongo maintained that the African exceptionalism was a good example of Synodality. Unity does not mean uniformity. The gospel is inculturated differently in different parts of the world.

But it is more complex than that. After the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Francis Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man arguing that we had entered a new era, the triumph of Western liberal democracy. Every nation seemed destined to ‘evolve’ into our way of life. Some countries, especially in the global South, just had to catch up. If they did not agree with us on, for example, the welcome of LGBT people, they would surely do so eventually.

We were wrong. We have not the time and nor I have the expertise to analyse where we are now, but we seem to be entering a multipolar world, with the rise of Russia, China and India, and all of the BRICS countries. Many people in the Global South think of the West as having a morally decadent culture, doomed to collapse. Cardinal Ambongo of Kinshasa said a couple of months ago:

Cardinal Ambongo of Kinshasa, President of the organisation which represents all of the Catholic bishops of Africa, came to Rome to present their firm rejection of the proposal. He recognised that it was not the intention of the document to change Church teaching on sex but, he said, ‘The episcopal conferences across Africa… believe that the extra-liturgical blessings proposed in the declaration Fiducia Supplicans cannot be carried out in Africa without exposing themselves to scandal… The language of Fiducia Supplicans remains too subtle for simple people to understand.’ Never before have almost all the bishops of a continent rejected a Vatican document.

[the Westerners] will disappear. I wish them a good demise’ Putin is weaponizing the gay issue as emblematic of all that traditional culture opposes, as he seeks to spread Russian influence in other parts of the world, along with the Wagner militia. Putin is always showing his virility, taking off his shirts. He has been described as the most topless leader in the world! But this issue is also being used by Islamicist

“Little by little, they groups with Middle Eastern money, by Evangelical groups with American money “and so on.

As I said, I am no expert on this cultural battle which is being fought out everywhere, whether in the USA or Africa. I just wish, ever so briefly, to signal that the Synod faces this double challenge, of a proper gospel openness to all with an openness to all cultures. How are we to live both? This will be a major challenge for the next session of the Synod. It is not about how does our side win. That is the game of competitive politics. It is how can the Church fulfil her vocation to be the place in which all of humanity finds home and joy. Here, as St Paul says, ‘there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3.28).

My favourite image is of St Peter in John 21. They have fished all night without catching anything. Then they see a stranger on the shore who tells them to cast the net on the other side, and the net is full almost to bursting. Peter hauls the net to the shore and it contains 153 fish. This probably represents all of the nations of the world. The net is not broken. Jesus said before his death, ‘When I am lifted up, I shall draw all people to myself.’ Peter helps in this with his drawing the net to the shore to present it to Jesus.

So how are we to haul in the net without it being broken? The Church is just at the beginning of thinking about this and I hope that you will help us. A starting point is a fascinating lecture by Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope. He gave it in Hong Kong in 1993 on what he called Interculturality. He argues that every culture is potentially open to the fullness of the truth. When cultures encounter each other, ideally they should be able to correct each other’s biases and share the truths they embody. So when

African and Western cultures meet, ideally both should be challenged and enriched. In one of his lectures, Albert Nolan, OP of South Africa remarked: “Our question about the impact of Christianity upon Africa will always be incomplete unless we also ask `what is the impact of Africa upon Christianity?”‘

It has been argued that if Western cultures bring a deep sense of the dignity and freedom of the individual, African cultures bring a sense of how being human is rooted in our relationships: Ubuntu. I am because we are. Asian Catholics invite us to learn the value of harmony as Latin American cultures invite us to hear the voice of the poor.

Every culture offers gifts and is challenged. The gospel is to be inculturated in every culture but it challenges every culture. So some people, like Cardinal Ambongo, will argue that homosexuality is foreign to African cultures and so cannot be welcomed. I would say that here the gospel offers a challenge.

So the encounter of cultures is at the heart of many debates in the Synod, and above all the embrace of gay people. And we have to be aware that the encounter of cultures is never just innocent. Other cultures come to Africa, for example, with guns and money. Power dynamics are at work. African bishops shared with us how deeply they feel the humiliation of aid being tied to the acceptance of Western values. Multinationals corrupt and destroy local cultures. Foreign powers do so too. Just as the hunger for gold, led to the destruction of Caribbean cultures in the sixteenth century, so does the search for rare earths and diamonds today. Remember, the strange who stood on the beach had been executed by the Imperial power of his day.

So working for a Church which truly has open doors is inseparable from addressing the ways in which countries in the Global South face unjust economic exploitation, ecological devastation and cultural destruction. No wonder we of the North are thought of as decadent. We all advance on the path to liberation together or not at all.

Forgive this short and superficial presentation. I do so wish that I could have been with you to hear what you think on these complex issues. May you have a wonderful joyful day. And pray that the Synod may open all of our hearts minds and challenge all of our prejudices.

Complete Article HERE!

Dallas bishop addresses allegations of sexual misconduct by priest

Bishop Edward Burns

By Sarah Bahari

The head of Dallas’ Catholic diocese called allegations of sexual misconduct against a priest painful and said the church is committed to protecting its children and vulnerable members.

In a video published Wednesday to the diocese’s website, Bishop Edward Burns said the diocese removed the priest from public ministry within one hour of learning of the allegations and is working with law enforcement.

“This is a difficult time. It is painful to watch the news about this alleged abuse,” Burns said. “It is embarrassing, but it is necessary. This is what zero tolerance looks like.”

The priest, 34-year-old Ricardo Reyes Mata, was arrested Monday in Garland on two counts of indecency with a child. A 10-year-old girl told her Catholic school teacher that while visiting her family’s home in Garland in late April, the priest reached under her shirt and fondled her breasts, according to a police affidavit. At the time, she said, the rest of her family was outside.

The girl’s teacher immediately notified Child Protective Services, Burns said. A spokesperson for CPS did not respond to an email or phone call Thursday.

On May 2, the diocese removed Reyes Mata, who is no longer permitted to wear clerical attire in public, Burns said, then notified Garland police.

Detectives interviewed the girl and one of her siblings at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, and the girl described the misconduct taking place April 5, according to the affidavit.

“Our care and concern goes out to young girl who brought this information forth, and we are proud of her courage,” Burns said in the video.

Reyes Mata, who lives in Dallas, was booked this week into the Garland Detention Center with bonds set at $75,000 and $100,000.

The priest was appointed parochial vicar of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas in 2023, according to the cathedral’s website. Before that, Reyes Mata served as parochial vicar of St. Jude Parish in Allen. He also served as chaplain for Bishop Dunne High School in Dallas.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by priests have rocked the Catholic church in recent years and decades. In 2019, 15 Texas dioceses named nearly 300 priests credibly accused of child sex abuse spanning eight decades. Of those, 31 clergy members came from the Dallas diocese.

“As we look back at the church’s history,” Burns said in 2019, “the failure to protect our most vulnerable from abuse and hold accountable those who preyed on them fills me with both shame and sorrow.”

But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, urged the diocese to do more to identify any additional victims.

“This disturbing news from Texas reaffirms that clergy sexual abuse is still very much a thing of the present,” the advocacy organization said in a statement. “It can take victims decades to acknowledge their abuse and find the courage to come forward. However, the fact that one survivor has already been identified, may help to shorten this process.”

Detectives ask that anyone with information regarding this investigation or other such incidents, call Garland police at 972-485-4840.

Complete Article HERE!

Benedictine monk pleads guilty to battery, still lands on Illinois monastery’s sex abuser list

— Brother Joseph Charron initially was charged with sex crimes involving a now-former student. He recently pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, and the sex crime charges were dropped. Still, his Benedictine abbey placed him on its list of credibly accused child sex abusers.

Marmion Academy in Aurora, a Catholic school run by the Benedictine religious order.

By Robert Herguth

On the same day this spring that Brother Joseph Charron pleaded guilty to a felony battery charge against a former student at Marmion Academy, where the Benedictine monk was a longtime teacher, the Aurora Catholic school circulated a letter saying his conviction did not involve sexual abuse.

“With a heavy heart, I write to notify you that today, in Kane County Circuit Court, Joseph Charron, known to many in our community as Brother Andre, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery of a minor,” the Rev. Joel Rippinger, abbot of the Benedictine monastery that oversees the far west suburban school, said in the March 28 letter. “There was no plea or judgment entered as to any sex offense.”

Yet church officials have since made clear they believe Charron engaged in sexual misconduct. In April, his monastery placed his name on its public, online listing of members deemed to have been credibly accused of child sex abuse.

The Marmion monastery says on its website that being put on the list means that, “based upon the facts and the circumstances, there is objective certainty that the accusation is true and that an incident of sexual abuse of a minor has occurred.”

Charron is on that list with two other monks who served at Marmion: Brother Jerome Skaja and the Rev. Augustine Jones, both now dead. The monastery added the names to the public listing after a Chicago Sun-Times investigation in 2022 on accusations of clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by religious figures at Marmion.

Benedictine Brother Joseph Charron.
Benedictine Brother Joseph Charron.

The Diocese of Rockford, the arm of the Catholic church that includes Kane County, followed suit and also added Charron to its own list.

Many Catholic dioceses and religious orders across the United States have been publicly identifying clergy members they believe have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. That’s happened in the wake of the decades-long child sex abuse scandal, with many inside and outside the church saying such transparency acknowledges victims’ suffering and might aid in their healing.

Charron, 68, initially was charged with numerous sex offenses stemming from accusations that he abused the former student, who is now an adult, more than a decade ago.

The sex charges were dropped as Charron pleaded guilty on March 28 to a single count of aggravated battery in a public place, records show.

As part of his plea, Charron admitted he “knowingly made contact of an insulting and/or provoking nature with . . . a male juvenile under the age of 17, in that he pressed his body into the body of” the victim “while he was in a public place of accommodation” — Marmion.

Charron was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Since his 2022 arrest, he has been on home confinement — at least for most of that time at a house owned by the monks in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, overlooking Lake Michigan. So that time offset the jail time.

Charron paid more than $35,000 in restitution and remains on probation into 2026, records show.

His conviction does not require Charron to register as a child sex offender with police.

Monk’s victim: “I will stand up against what is wrong”

The victim, who came forward with his accusations in 2021, supported the plea agreement, prosecutors say. But he also made clear at the court hearing at which the plea agreement was accepted that Charron’s destruction was profound. In a victim-impact statement, he said:

“I will no longer be silent, nor will I be oppressed. I will stand up against what is wrong . . . and the indifference that the church has shown me is wrong.

“I have been taught by an institution that praises chastity, while many members flaunt the true indifference towards their vows.

“Our family was torn apart by the man — by the lies of men who claimed God’s blessing.

“I can no longer believe in faith-based institutions, nor can I believe in religion in general. I cannot believe in others’ words, and I have learned because I have lived in a world of mistrust, denial of my emotions and a refusal to believe that I could genuinely be hurting. This was the hell I had to live in for the years leading up until this day.

“This is the world that the felon will now need to live in. I give all the lack of acknowledgment shown to me. I give the hell that I’ve been living in the past 15 years of my life away. I finally can move forward to live my life.”
Kane County prosecutor Christine Bayer says, “For the victim to come forward was a big deal.”

Bayer won’t say why her office ended up dropping the sex charges and settling on the aggravated battery count except to say, “I really look to what’s the best interest of the victim and society.”

Charron couldn’t be reached. David Camic, his lawyer, says, “Based on our understanding of the facts, this was an appropriate disposition.”

Marmion leaders ‘deeply sorrowful’

In a written statement, the monastery’s leaders say, “Marmion is deeply sorrowful that this crime occurred and apologizes to the victim and the entire community.”

Charron “will remain out of state on a strict safety plan,” they say. “He will not return to the Marmion Abbey or Academy. We will not disclose his specific location in the newspapers for obvious reasons. We take all proper steps as it relates to neighbors.”

Before becoming a Benedictine, Charron belonged to another Catholic religious order, the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, working in the Chicago area and elsewhere.

In a 2014 profile of Charron, Marmion’s magazine for students and their families and alumni wrote: “He was attracted to the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd because of their health care work with the poor, the disabled and the elderly.”

Charron entered the order in 1979 and spent part of his early years ministering at Good Shepherd Manor, a facility for men with intellectual and developmental disabilities an hour south of Chicago, in Momence — in the geographic territory of the Diocese of Joliet, whose public list of credibly accused clerics doesn’t include Charron.

During that time, “He came in contact with the Marmion Benedictines when he and his classmates came to the abbey for some classes in spirituality,” according to the magazine.

Records show he spent six months in the early 1980s at a care facility in Wakefield, Ohio, that drew news coverage in the 1990s when the family of a mentally impaired man sued the church, saying he was sexually assaulted by one or more members of Charron’s order and contracted HIV. He died of AIDS.

More recently, the Little Brothers folded into another religious order, the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, and the head of that group, Brother David Lynch, says there were no accusations against Charron when he was a member.

“The first we heard” of problems was “when the police contacted us” as part of the Marmion accusations, Lynch says. “We cooperated fully.”

He says Charron left his order because he felt the Benedictines were a better fit.

“We’re a very active order and he wanted a more monastic setting,” Lynch says. “He wanted a more contemplative life. . . . We agreed this was a good fit for him. There was nothing sinister.”

In its statement, Marmion leaders say: “There have not been any other allegations against Br. Charron at this time. But we are humble about what we know and do not know. We ask any victim of abuse — no matter how long ago it occurred — to reach out to us and the law enforcement authorities.”

It’s not uncommon for priests or other members of religious orders to move from one Catholic group to another. But experts say it can be a red flag of trouble. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on one such case last month, involving the Rev. Mark Santo, who died in 2008. Santo, who had been identified as a credibly accused abuser, was a member of the Servite religious order. He moved around the country, leaving the group to be assumed into the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

In Charron’s case, personnel records show he was based for a time in Lombard. He also ministered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and served as secretary general of the Little Brothers order from 1997 to 2002. That year, he became chief executive officer of a homeless shelter in Miami that was the subject of a criminal investigation when a top administrator working for Charron was accused of enlisting homeless people and charity resources to renovate his homes.

Charron initially responded to accusations raised by employees at the charity by threatening them with legal action, according to the Miami Herald, which quoted Charron saying in an internal memo, “I am committed to engage our legal counselors in handling any further allegations as liability for slander.”

Later, according to news accounts, Charron realized he’d been duped and was quoted as saying, “In hindsight, we realize now it was too much faith to be placed in one person.”

Charron resigned from the homeless charity in 2004, saying he needed to care for his ailing mother in Michigan, according to the Herald.

Not long after, he joined Marmion’s monastery.

Complete Article HERE!

Saintly, Seductive or Sadistic?

— Why We Can’t Make Up Our Minds About Nuns.

Sydney Sweeney (center) in the 2024 movie “Immaculate.”

In uncertain times, religious sisters are often invoked as vessels for collective doubt.

By Amanda Fortini

From Chaucer’s supercilious Madame Eglantine in “The Canterbury Tales,” with her spoiled lap dogs and secular French airs, to Ryan Murphy’s ruthless Sister Jude in 2012’s “American Horror Story: Asylum,” a woman who wears a red negligee under her habit and is not above indulging in some communion wine, fictional portrayals of nuns have long captured and confounded the imagination. How could it be otherwise? The sisters’ vows of chastity and poverty and the air of secrecy that shrouds their cloistered lives are all intriguingly antithetical to modern Western values of sex, money and fame. Many of us have also encountered nuns in our actual lives — I spent much of fourth grade facing a corner of the classroom at the punitive behest of Sister Rosalia — and are left with what I’d call a primal fascination. But if the aesthetic interest in nuns is an enduring one, it’s also true that every few years, like fashion trends or viral flus, nuns have a particularly concentrated cultural moment. We’re living in one now.

Perhaps the starkest, knottiest contemporary depiction of nuns is the playwright John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt: A Parable.” First staged on Broadway in 2005, it recently wrapped another run there, directed by Scott Ellis. (Three of the cast members have been nominated for Tony Awards.) The play tells the story of the iron-fisted Sister Aloysius (Amy Ryan in Ellis’s revival), the principal of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, who, based on the hunch of a guileless novice, Sister James (Zoe Kazan), accuses Father Flynn, the parish priest (Liev Schreiber), of making advances toward the school’s only Black student (whose mother was played by Quincy Tyler Bernstine). It’s a detective drama with no resolution, a morality tale with an insoluble ambiguity at its heart. Ellis says he was drawn to stage the play because its titular emotion feels more crucial than ever in our increasingly polarized world. “Given everything that we are in society right now, the black and white of it all, the red and the blue,” he says, “doubt is the most important place to live.”

Liev Schreiber dressed as a priest with a collar standing behind Amy Ryan, in a black robe with a hood.
Liev Schreiber as Father Flynn (left) and Amy Ryan as Sister Aloysius in the recent Broadway production of “Doubt: A Parable” by John Patrick Shanley.

Rebecca Sullivan, the author of the 2005 book “Visual Habits: Nuns, Feminism and American Postwar Popular Culture,” says that “in times of deep doubt,” we tend to see cultural representations of nuns crop up. She notes that the cascade of nunsploitation films of the 1960s and ’70s — a campy, provocative, mostly European cinematic subgenre in which nuns are sexualized, tortured or possessed — occurred at a time of great social upheaval. Second-wave feminism was afoot, secularism was on the rise and the Second Vatican Council, held between 1962 and ’65, had ushered in numerous church reforms: Nuns, for example, were encouraged to get out of the convent and serve the community and were no longer required to wear habits. The liminal status of sisters — they were independent women who also exhibited a “subversive subservience,” as Sullivan puts it, to a patriarchal institution — made them rich and complex symbols, ciphers for exploring the era’s feelings about women at large.

We’re in another profound period of disruption, particularly when it comes to women’s rights and roles: Roe v. Wade has been overturned; tradwifery is a trend. And thus we’ve seen a new spate of arty nunsploitation films, with “Immaculate” (2024), starring Sydney Sweeney, being the latest. (Others include Paul Verhoeven’s 2021 erotic lesbian nun satire, “Benedetta,” and Rose Glass’s taut 2019 psychosexual horror, “Saint Maud.”) Directed by Michael Mohan, “Immaculate” follows a devout Midwestern novice, Sister Cecilia, who arrives at a gloomy convent in the remote Italian countryside and mysteriously becomes pregnant, leaving church elders to conclude that she’s carrying the savior. In a turn reminiscent of “Rosemary’s Baby,” the sinister Father Tedeschi more or less imprisons Cecilia in the dark, labyrinthine building. For all its gory, sexy-nun fun, the film raises all-too-familiar questions about female bodily autonomy in oppressive male institutions. But this nun, a feminist heroine for the 21st century, is the agent of her own destiny: Unlike so many sisters in the first wave of nunsploitation films, she frees herself.

A nun holds a shirtless boy with bandaged hands in her arms.
Cate Blanchett and Aswan Reid in the 2023 film “The New Boy.”

​It’s a fantasy of escape; the plight of young women imperiled by the church has usually been much darker. The legacy of Ireland’s Magdalene laundries and mother and baby homes — in which women and girls were made to labor without pay, or even surrender their children, often under the direction of nuns — is the subject of two new cinematic productions. “The Woman in the Wall,” a gothic six-part BBC drama, which aired in the United States earlier this year, follows a traumatized survivor (played by Ruth Wilson) as she searches for her missing daughter. And “Small Things Like These,” the film adaptation of the Irish writer Claire Keegan’s 2020 novella of the same name, stars Cillian Murphy as a coal merchant in a small Irish town who discovers that the local convent is a Magdalene laundry and is forced to make a fateful choice. A third, “The New Boy,” a quiet, dreamlike movie released last year, likewise highlights the misdeeds of the Catholic Church, but in 1940s Australia. It features Cate Blanchett as Sister Eileen, a wimpled, tippling nun on a mission to assimilate her young Aboriginal charges, who have been forcibly removed from their families by the state.

For years, the Magdalene laundries, which operated from the mid-18th century until 1996, were met with a “code of silence,” says Joe Murtagh, the creator of “The Woman in the Wall.” But in recent decades, the Irish government and the Catholic Church in Australia have both publicly apologized for these chapters of their respective pasts, joining Catholic institutions throughout the world in grappling with centuries of abuse. This reckoning is arguably why real-life nun horror stories are surfacing now: In these depictions, inspired by actual events, nuns are no longer cartoonish saints or sexualized victims but often perpetrators of violence. As a genre for exploring this history, “horror comes to mind naturally,” says Murtagh, “because it’s horrific.”

Complete Article HERE!

Blessings for same-sex couples?

— Going, going, gone…


CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell asked Pope Francis on Sunday about the blessings for same-sex unions he seemed to sanctify last year.

In his latest explanation, the Pope said the church can only bless individual homosexuals. In other words, there is now and never was a blessing for same-sex unions!

Norah O’Donnell posed a straightforward question the the Catholic leader.

“Last year, you decided to allow Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples,” O’Donnell That’s a big change. Why?”

“No, what I allowed was not to bless the union. That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone. To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the Church’s law. But to bless each person, why not? The blessing is for all.”

Why the subject ever arose then, who knows?

There was a widespread belief at the time that Francis supported the blessings of same-sex unions. The statement prompted celebration among same-sex Catholics at what they perceived as progress in the church. Meanwhile, conservative Catholics attacked the Pope openly for his perceived support of same-sex unions.

Responses to questions about blessings and same-sex unions have been ambiguous in the months since.

Francis continually criticizes conservative bishops, recently, for example, calling conservatism a suicidal attitude.

But he also regularly reminds everyone that same-sex unions go against Church law.

Which is the bit in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt have thy cake and eat it too?”

Complete Article HERE!