Justice must be done for abuse survivors, says McLellan report

The McLellan Commission was created in 2014 to investigate how the Scottish Church handled abuse cases

The Very Rev Andrew McLellan has led the inquiry into the Church's handling of abuse cases in Scotland (PA)
The Very Rev Andrew McLellan has led the inquiry into the Church’s handling of abuse cases in Scotland

Lawsuit filed against ‘homophobic’ bishop

Pink Cross, the umbrella association for Swiss gay groups, has filed a criminal complaint against Vitus Huonder, the Catholic bishop of Chur, for “homophobic comments” made in a recent speech in which he quoted bible verses calling for gays to be put to death.


Pink Cross Switzerland
Pink Cross Switzerland said the ‘defamation’ of gays by the church could be tolerated to a certain extent but Huonder had now crossed a ‘red line’

The lawsuit was handed in to the public prosecutor of canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland on Monday. In addition, the Swiss News Agency said a private individual living in canton St Gallen had also filed a complaint against Huonder on Monday.

Pink Cross, backed by the Swiss Lesbian Organisation, accuses 73-year-old Huonder of “inciting people to crime or violence” with his remarks made at a religious forum in Germany on August 2.

If found guilty, Huonder faces up to three years in prison.

In his 50-minute address on marriage, the bishop quoted two verses from the book of Leviticus, including Leviticus 20:13: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

In response to applause, he continued: “Both of these passages alone suffice to clarify unambiguously the church’s position on homosexuality”.

Following a public outcry, Huonder released a statement in which he regretted that his comments had been misunderstood and interpreted as contemptuous towards homosexuals. “That wasn’t my intention,” he said.

‘Red line’

This wasn’t good enough for Pink Cross director Bastian Baumann, who said Huonder had repeatedly made clear that he interpreted the passages literally.

Baumann said the call for the “reintroduction of the death penalty for gays” had forced the group to seek criminal prosecution.

Vitus Huonder“As a figure of authority within the church, Vitus Huonder accepts that his demand will meet with approval among Christians and other fundamentalists and could be followed obediently,” he said.

Baumann said the “defamation of gays by the church” could be tolerated to a certain extent, but the bishop had now crossed a “red line”.

Some members of the Catholic Church have distanced themselves from Huonder, with Markus Büchel, the bishop of St Gallen, saying people should not be reduced to their sexuality.

“What we know today about homosexuality – that it is a predisposition and not a freely chosen orientation – was not known when the Bible was written,” he wrote to parishioners.

Nevertheless, Büchel still opposes church blessings of same-sex couples, believing they go against the church’s view of marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman.

Subjugation of human rights

Huonder is no stranger to controversy, having previously opposed issues including women priests and sex education. He believes parents should have the right to have their children exempted from sex education classes in school and that divine law comes before human rights.

Earlier this year Huonder called for a Swiss priest who had blessed a lesbian couple to be sacked.

The priest kept his job after apologising to Huonder for causing him any “inconvenience” and promising not to bless any more gay couples.

Complete Article HERE!

Local Gay Catholics React to Archbishop’s Statement on Fired Gay Teacher

Via Shutterstock

Yesterday, we reported that Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput issued a statement over the recent termination of openly gay Waldron Mercy Academy teacher Margie Winters. In it, he stated that was “very grateful to the Religious Sisters of Mercy and to the principal and board members of Waldron Mercy for taking the steps to ensure that the Catholic faith is presented in a way fully in accord with the teaching of the Church.” We wanted to see the reaction of local gay Philadelphians who identify as Catholic (or, in some cases, recovering Catholics), so we asked them how the rhetoric from Chaput and other Catholic leaders impacts their faith and belief in the Church.

“Obviously I don’t agree with [the Church’s] decisions. It’s a shame but every religion has it’s oddball decisions and leading characters. I respect their decision as it’s still technically okay to discriminate against someone’s sexual orientation, though I personally don’t think you should be allowed to do so. I do still think certain messages religion brings, including togetherness and treating others respectfully, is still important for people to hear. If [the teacher’s firing] is based on her marriage and not her performance, then that goes against the core teachings I was brought up to believe.”-Matt O’Neill

“I don’t that that it is right, obviously. I feel that with Catholics, we are kind of forced to believe certain things, and some things I do just because that is how I was raised and how most of my family is. Do I think that it is necessarily right? No. I believe that even though that Catholics believe that being gay is wrong, I still believe when I die that I will go to heaven, at least that is what I pray for everyday. I hardly go to church anymore not do I believe in confession. I guess it is just being raised Catholic that I still believe in some of the beliefs but not necessarily all of them. One of the stories from the bible that I remember being told when I went to Catholic schools is the story of Mary Magdeline, who was basically a hooker and when people were going to ‘stone’ her for what she was doing, Jesus stopped it and said something like ‘let he who is without sin, cast the first stone’ and no one threw a stone. This resonates a lot with me because I feel that in that scenario, Jesus doesn’t judge, and no one else shouldn’t either. Even though that Catholics believe being gay is a sin, there are many other sins that people do. However, I feel like if I have good morals and a firm belief in God, I will eventually get accepted into heaven.”-Michael Niedbalski

“Personally, the hypocrisy and passive-aggressive bigotry and ignorance they spew made me feel very unwelcome. This sort of rhetoric is what drove me from their church, but I don’t think it by any means is an exclusively Catholic message. However, it has to be partially responsible why so many Catholic schools have shut their doors and the church itself is failing. When you alienate so many people and the people who care for them, it can’t be surprising when many feel unrepresented and unwelcome. It definitely did harm to me growing up in that mentality. The message I got as a prepubescent boy was that unless you were married to a woman with children, then you didn’t matter, unless you wanted to become a priest. Frankly those were the only options presented to me. And the Catholic church’s archaic stance on safe sex and abstinence-only policies for their students definitely had a contributing factor in my seroconversion and HIV status at the age of 17.”-Greg Schell

“I am embarrassed to be Catholic. I go back to what I was taught in Catholic school. They beat this one phrase in your head: ‘Judge not least ye be judged!’ That gives me the strength at times to continue, knowing that those hiding behind religion will be judged by God at the End of Days. What hurts me so much about this is the Catholic Church moved their priests around who molested their own parishioners and protected them, yet they will viciously go after the LGTB community and call us, me, a sinner or unclean when their own priests hurt kids both mentally and physically.”-Patrick Hagerty

“Chaput’s statement does not dishearten me because it does not reflect the living Church. It reflects a stagnant, dying Church. Years ago, myself and a fellow gay Catholic started a young adult Catholic community in Philadelphia. The majority of our young adult Catholics (straight and gay) attend mass every Sunday, are involved in parish-life, serve their local communities, and also disagree with a number of the Church’s teachings, especially its position on homosexuality. Catholics that disagree with Church leadership, and its antiquated teachings, have found voice, and have found one another. We’re not going anywhere. Together, we have found ways to work around those, like Chaput, who interfere with our faith, and our unconditional love for all others, without distinction. While sometimes difficult to see, many Catholics are promoting LGBT-friendly changes within the Church, its affiliated organizations (including Catholic schools), and in communities near and far. Such change has emerged, is occurring, and will continue to unfold in spite of leaders like Chaput. And this change is only fueled by a Pope who appears to be far more loving and compassionate than our Bishop Chaput.”-Seth Jacobson
Complete Article HERE!

Gay Catholics Will Be Silenced During Pope Francis’ Philadelphia Visit: Archbishop

By Philip Pullella

Homosexuals can attend a Catholic family congress in Philadelphia during Pope Francis’ U.S. visit this year but won’t be allowed to use it to attack Church teachings, the city’s archbishop said on Thursday.

bishop chaput2

“We don’t want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our Church,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput. The Catholic Church teaches homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are.

“We are not providing that kind of lobbying opportunity,” he told a news conference presenting the September 22-27 congress known as the World Meeting of Families.

Gay Catholic groups and families headed by gay Catholics had asked for an official presence at the gathering to present their view that homosexuals should be fully welcomed in the Church.

The pope will attend the last two days of the Philadelphia meeting at the end of a trip that will take him to Cuba as well as New York and Washington.

About 15,000 people from around the world are expected to attend the family congress to hear lectures and take part in workshops on family issues before the pope arrives to close the gathering.

“We hope that everyone feels welcome and certainly people who have experienced same-sex attraction are welcome like everyone else,” Chaput said.

Bishop John McIntyre, also of Philadelphia, said the only event dedicated to gay issues at the congress will be one by Ron Belgau, a celibate gay Catholic and founder of the Spiritual Friendship Initiative.

Belgau blogs and lectures about how Catholic gays can live by the Church’s teaching.

McIntyre said Belgau “will talk about his own coming to terms with his sexual orientation and the manner in which he embraced the teachings of the Church” and his mother will also speak.

The program for an event Belgau addressed last year at the University of Notre Dame said he spoke of “a faithful and orthodox response to the challenge of homosexuality”.

Catholic gay couples have contested the Church’s ban on homosexual activity, saying it deprives them of the intimacy that is part of a loving relationship.

It will be the eighth World Meeting of Families since the event was started by the late Pope John Paul in 1994 to promote traditional family values. It is held every three years in a different city.

Organizers said they expect up to two million people to attend the final event, a Mass by the pope on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a boulevard that runs through they city.

Catholic priest says he was fired from New Jersey college’s ministry over support of pro-gay marriage No H8 Campaign


he former director of New Jersey school Seton Hall University’s campus ministry lost his job because he agreed on social media with a gay marriage equality group, Rev. Warren Hall said Friday on Twitter.

The tweet, which has been taken down, said he got canned for using his Facebook page to back California-based NoH8 Campaign, which began in 2008 in response to the state’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage.

“I’ve been fired from SHU for posting a pic on FB supporting LGBT ‘No H8’.” Hall previously wrote, according to NJ Advance Media. “I’m sorry it was met with this response. I’ll miss my work here.”

Representatives for the South Orange-based Roman Catholic university told the publication that the priest was appointed by the Archbishop of Newark and “serves at his discretion.”

A screenshot shows the tweet in which Hall announced he was fired Friday.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, Jim Goodness, declined to disclose the reasons for Hall’s dismissal in an interview with NJ Advance Media. He said Hall was being reassigned within the archdiocese, which covers Bergen, Union, Hudson and Essex counties.

Goodness didn’t immediately return a request for comment early Sunday morning.

The move immediately provoked alumni and students, who started a Change.org petition demanding his reinstatement.

A file photo shows an entrance to Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., where controversy has erupted over the firing of the Catholic university’s campus ministry director.

“The Archdiocese of Newark’s decision to fire Father Warren Hall from Seton Hall University is in line with neither the teachings of Jesus Christ nor the words of Pope Francis,” the group’s letter to the archdiocese said.

The petition, which had garnered 1,225 signers by early Sunday morning, said Hall “contributed greatly to the academic and spiritual lives of the students.”

Efforts to contact Hall on Sunday morning were unsuccessful. He thanked his supporters in a Tweet he posted later Friday.

warren hallThe controversy over a mainstay who provided spiritual guidance to the school’s sports teams erupted as the Pirates men’s basketball team attempted to recruit potential University of Massachusetts transfer Derrick Gordon, the first ever openly gay Division I player, the Asbury Park Press reported.

In 2010, the school began offering a course on the politics of gay marriage over the objections of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers, who heads both the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees, the Newark Star-Ledger reported at the time. The school went ahead with the undergraduate seminar despite Myers’ objection that the class legitimized a point of view “running contrary to what the church teaches,” according to the publication.
Complete Article HERE!