Vatican official: UN gay ‘rights’ agenda endangers Church’s freedom

The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva says a recent resolution on “sexual orientation and gender identity” is part of an agenda that could restrict the Church’s freedom.

“The resolution marks a change. It is seen as the beginning of a movement within the international community and the United Nations to insert gay rights in the global human rights agenda,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Holy See’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. in Geneva, in a recent e-mail interview with CNA.

The archbishop noted that a U.S. State Department spokesperson had described the resolution as “a beginning of an international norm that will take hold gradually.” But “if norms are established,” Archbishop Tomasi wondered, “what provisions will be made for freedom of expression on the part of religious leaders?”

He spoke of a “genuine concern” that natural marriages and families “will be socially downgraded with the eventual legislation that puts homosexual “marriage” and the marriage between a man and a woman” on the same level. The Vatican representative also said marriage could be threatened by related measures that would mandate homosexual adoptions and introduce “compulsory sex education at school that clashes with Christian values.”

At a June 27 event co-hosted by the U.S. State Department and the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies organization, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton credited a “major push by American diplomats” for the June 17 passage of what she described as “the first ever U.N. resolution recognizing the human rights of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people worldwide.”

Clinton called the resolution a “huge step forward,” and stated that “so far as the United States is concerned and our foreign policy, and our values … gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

The resolution, which expresses “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination … against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” will not have an immediate effect on U.N. member states. Instead, it formally requests that the High Commissioner for Human Rights undertake an investigation into such acts, in preparation for further dialogue at the council during 2012.

Although the resolution will do little in the short term, the secretary of state described its passage – over the objections of numerous Arab and African counties, as well as Russia and Moldova – as one of the department’s “momentous achievements” on a matter of “high priority.”

In his remarks to CNA, Archbishop Tomasi reiterated that the Church does not support violence against those who engage in homosexual behavior, or any attempt by the state to punish an individual simply because of “feelings and thoughts.”

“I think that violence against homosexual persons is not acceptable and it should be rejected, even though this does not imply an endorsement of their behavior.”

“The terms ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ are not defined in international law,” he noted.

“To the extent that they are not external behavior, but feelings and thoughts, they cannot be subjected to punitive laws.”

But “for some people,” he pointed out, “these words are a code phrase for types of conduct.”

The archbishop expanded on a point he has previously tried to impress upon the Human Rights Council, as he observed that all societies regulate sexual behavior to some extent – by forbidding practices like incest, pedophilia, or rape – for the sake of the common good.

He contrasted the “clear message” of God’s creation, which spells out the complementarity of the two sexes, with the U.N.’s contrived and vague terminology of “orientation” and “gender identity.”

“Instead of ‘gender,’” Archbishop Tomasi said, “the concept we should use is ‘sex,’ a universal term in natural law referring to male and female.”

“In fact, it seems that terms such as ‘gender’ or ‘sexual orientation’ are devised to escape reality and to accommodate a variety of feelings and impulses that then are transformed into rights.”

This use of “rights” language, to justify practices like same-sex “marriage,” may appear superficially harmless as long as the alleged rights seem to be confined to private life.

But Archbishop Tomasi warned that these impulse-driven claims of “rights” are in conflict with authentic rights – such as the free exercise of religion, and the education of one’s children.

He pointed to the “traditionally Catholic country” of Spain, as “an example of where the current trend may lead.”

In that country, “legislation has been passed in the last four or five years in favor of homosexual marriage, free abortion in the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, of compulsory education even for children aged 8 to 12 on such issues as masturbation, same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion.”

This arrangement prevails in Spain, “notwithstanding the fact that thousands of parents are opposing this policy that denies their fundamental right to decide on their children’s education.”

Archbishop Tomasi suggested that Catholics today have a responsibility “to clarify legal and moral aspects of the current culture” – by drawing a distinction between desires and rights, promoting the Catholic synthesis of faith and reason, and making it clear that a judgment against homosexuality is not a condemnation of homosexuals.

“There is confusion in some people’s mind,” he noted, “in combining a just respect and protection for every person – including homosexuals – and support for the indispensable role of the family, the parents right to educate their children, the support of the natural family for the common good.”

While the secular West may find this ethos increasingly incomprehensible, the Church will continues to promote it.

“The teaching of the Church is not conditioned by political consensus,” the archbishop noted.

“At times she is misunderstood and even becomes the target of reprisals and persecution.”

“Reason and natural law, however, support faith-inspired positions,” he stated, “and the convergence of faith and reason is exceptionally fruitful for the progress and well-being of the human family.”

http://tinyurl.com/6g4ro4x

Brooklyn Bishop Bans All Politicians Who Supported Gay Marriage

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has asked all Catholic churches and schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn to ban state lawmakers who voted for gay marriage in New York.

DiMarzio, the leader of the Brooklyn diocese, has urged the Catholic institutions to decline donations and speaking engagements from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and any lawmaker who voted “yes” on the bill legalizing same-sex marriages.

Calling New York’s passage of gay marriage “another ‘nail in the coffin’ of marriage,” DiMarzio issued a statement two days after the New York gay marriage bill was approved by the Legislature demanding that “all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.”

The Catholic bishop also said the church should now speak more “forcefully and clearly” against gay marriage.

Joseph Lentol, an assemblyman representing Brooklyn’s 50th district, saw firsthand just how serious the Brooklyn Diocese was.

The Catholic legislative assembly member who openly voted for same-sex marriage made a donation to Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish School.

The donation was declined.

Along with the return of his $50 donation, Lentol received a letter from Monsignor Joseph Calise, the church pastor.

The letter stated: “Bishop DiMarzio has requested that all gifts received from politicians supporting same-sex marriage legislation be refused.”

Lentol, a patron of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, expressed his confusion about the Bishop’s response to his donation.

“I was certainly surprised because I know the church needs the money and the school certainly needs the money for the scholarship program they run, ” Lentol told Pix11.

Calise said he made sure the community children weren’t affected by the donation ban.

“I did find another donor to make sure those awards would be given so that the children themselves wouldn’t be made to suffer,” Calise said, according to Pix11.

Monsignor Kieran Harrington, spokesman for the diocese, explained the church’s frustration with the bill passage to the media. He said the decision to reshape the values of a centuries’ old organization was done too quickly and without proper discussion before voting took place.

“Our legislators did not do their job,” Harrington told CBS 2. “If the process had been different, we don’t know if the legislation would have passed.”

After the gay marriage law passed on June 24, DiMarzio was among New York’s eight Catholic bishops who issued a statement expressing fear that “both marriage and the family will be undermined” by the new legislation.

The gay marriage law will take effect July 24.

http://tinyurl.com/67xzmcg

Normalization of homosexuality is a ‘calamity’ – John Piper

Amid ongoing “gay pride” celebrations and the push for gay marriage, influential evangelical John Piper wants to put it all in perspective for the church.

“My sense is that we do not realise what a calamity is happening around us,” Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, wrote in a commentary on Thursday.

“Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery.”

It’s been nearly a week now since marriage for gay and lesbian couples was legalised in New York and since hundreds of thousands of Americans celebrated homosexuality with gay pride parades, not only in New York but also in Piper’s home state of Minnesota.

Homosexuality and its celebration are nothing new, the Reformed pastor clarified.

“[Homosexuality] has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man,” he wrote.

“What’s new is not even the celebration of homosexual sin. Homosexual behaviour has been exploited, and revelled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia.

“What’s new,” he underscored, “is normalisation and institutionalisation. This is the new calamity.”

America, and the rest of the world, is moving toward the institutionalisation of homosexuality, the 65-year-old pastor lamented.

Yet the Bible makes it clear that homosexual behaviour is sin, he said.

“Alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse (Romans 1:24-27) stands the indictment of the celebration of it,” he said.

“Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts (along with gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness) are sin, ‘they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them’ (Romans 1:29-32).’I tell you even with tears, that many glory in their shame’ (Philippians 3:18–19).”

For the first time since it began tracking the issue of same-sex marriage in 1996, a Gallup poll last month found that a majority of Americans (53 per cent) believe marriages between same-sex couples should be recognised by law as valid.

Moreover, 56 per cent of Americans say gay or lesbian relations is morally acceptable, another Gallup poll found in May. Only 39 per cent perceive homosexual relations as morally wrong.

Piper stressed that his purpose for writing on the controversial issue is “not to mount a political counter-assault”.

He doesn’t believe that is the calling of the church.

Rather, Piper expressed his desire to “help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.”

He didn’t pin the sin of sexual immorality on homosexuals alone, however. Heterosexuals are just as guilty.

Piper emphasised that Jesus died for both heterosexual and homosexual sinners so that they might be saved. Jesus, he stressed, offers “astonishing mercy”.

But rather than embracing that salvation, thousands celebrated sin last weekend, he lamented.

“Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions – they are all troubled because of our sins,” he wrote.

“The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, ‘who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).'”

“And in our best moments, we weep for the world.”

The win in New York for gay rights activists is expected to propel the gay marriage movement forward. Already, they are working to push similar legislation in Maine and to defeat a measure amending the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman in Minnesota.

Amid the movement to redefine marriage, Piper made it clear that Jesus created sexuality and “has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy”.

“His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6-9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.”

Nevertheless, there are no signs of the gay marriage movement slowing down. With that, Piper left Christians with this concluding note:

“This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction. ‘My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.’ (Psalm 119:136).”

http://tinyurl.com/3ft86aa

Methodist clergy vow to defy church…

200 Illinois Methodist clergy vow to defy church, bless same-sex unions

June 26, 2011|By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune reporter

More than 200 United Methodist clergy in Illinois have pledged to flout church policy and bless unions for same-sex couples, putting their jobs, homes and callings in jeopardy if couples take advantage of their offer.

Methodists in the Northern Illinois Conference also called on the global church to impose no more than a 24-hour suspension for clergy who defy the policy.

http://tinyurl.com/3kejk3z

 

Archbishop’s Theology is Wearing No Clothes

Many readers of Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s blog think there is layer upon layer of deep theological thinking about natural law, church-state relations, and the like. I am here to assure such well-meaning colleagues that nothing of the sort lurks in these lines.

As New York State moves closer and closer to approving same-sex marriage, Dolan becomes, as Peter Montgomery points out, increasingly histrionic unto hysterical. His remarkable blog entry, “The True Meaning of Marriage,” will endure as the intellectual last wag of the dog’s tail on a question that has long been solved in the minds of many Catholics.

Timothy Dolan apparently subscribes to the Sarah Palin School of Research: saying it makes it so. Showing zero familiarity with the ample body of evidence that marriage is a changing institution, he pronounces the “undeniable truth” about what marriage means. One may not like that marriage has changed over time, and one may not think it ought to change over time, but these proclivities are not license to pass over the historical reality before us. Everyone understands and expects disagreement, but no one is fooled by truth claims that do not hold water.

http://tinyurl.com/4xq3kct