No way on 8a. Church of Ireland regressing on Homosexuality?

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, the episcopal...
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, the episcopal seat of the pre-Reformation and Church of Ireland archbishops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the course of the weekend, a resolution before the Church of Ireland Synod, which meets on Thursday, was brought to my attention. Resolution 8a (PDF) according to the a group of LGB Church of Ireland will make LGB members and unmarried cohabiting couples second class citizens of the church.

By stating that faithfulness within marriage is the only ‘normative’ context for sex, Resolution 8A imposes a condition that people in faithful same-gender relationships cannot comply with. The implication that members of the Church of Ireland in relationships other than marriage are in breach of the Catechism gives legitimacy, for the first time, to excluding lay people in same-gender relationships from Holy Communion.

At the conference on homosexuality in March, some clergy said they refused the Sacrament to people in faithful same-gender relationships. The Bishops have done nothing to challenge such behaviour yet claim the right to lecture us about our relationships with the people we love.

Resolution 8A provides a pretext to launch witch-hunts against gay clergy in liberal Dioceses. This has happened in the Anglican Church in Australia since similar motions were passed by their General Synod in 2004.

Although Resolution 8A has been drafted to say all things to all people, once an official statement of policy is passed, the intentions of its drafters are irrelevant. History is littered with motions and legislation that functioned in ways contrary to the wishes of their drafters.

Nine years ago, our Bishops promised to start listening to us. This year, they see fit to table high-handed motions at General Synod while kicking the long-promised listening process into touch for another year. Most people would find the idea of beginning a consultation process after passing official policies odd, to say the least.

These Resolutions should have been brought through the normal democratic procedures of the Church of Ireland, but were not. They have been sprung upon members of General Synod allowing no time for wider debate in the Church. By doing so, those Bishops disrespect our Church’s democracy. Putting off this debate for a year or two to allow real listening will hardly kill us.

You can sign the Open Letter here and of course do check out the full webiste8anoway.com.

For me reading the resolutions, it does read more like old-fashioned Roman Catholic teaching and not the welcoming teaching I found within the Church of Ireland when I started to attend services in Cork.

This resolution means events like the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) Service on Sunday 13th in St Anne’s at 11am very important within the Church and hopefully can be used as fight back against this resolution.

The Catholic Church in the UK to be the Vanguard against Gay Marriage?

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The Catholic Church in the UK has stepped up its opposition to Gay Marriage being introduced in the UK. Today mass-goers will be urged to oppose any moves towards Gay Marriage in a pastoral letter from Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Southwark Most Rev Peter Smith. They argue that they must save marriage for “Future Generations”. They of course join the hierarchy in opposing this move as Cardinal Keith O’Brien last week compared Gay Marriage to slavery.

Two polls also appeared in the UK this week on this issue. One for the Catholic Voice and one for the Telegraph.

In the poll for Catholic Voice by ComRes 70% of respondents said “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.” This poll seemed to have found opposite results to nearly every opinion on the subject in the UK. Thankfully Pinknews have done some analysis of the poll, which only had four questions, and shows what is wrong with the poll.

To set the record straight a poll in todays Sunday Telegraph has a poll showing 45% of respondents support Gay Marriage in comparison to 36% against. The rest had no firm view.  Excluding those with no firm view 55.6% are in favour and 44.4% against.

Interestingly only the Catholic Church and the Church of England are the only two religions to express their opposition to Gay Marriage while Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and just yesterday, Reform Judaism wish to conduct religious same sex marriages.

Also on Monday the Times became the first UK daily paper to back Gay Marriage. It said “It would enrich the institution of marriage, enhance social stability and expand the sum of human happiness. It is a cause that has the firm support of The Times.”

It continues ”

“Opponents accuse the Government of undermining the foundations of marriage and abusing the power of the State. It was predictable that some Conservative backbenchers would deride the proposals as (in the words of one of them) “completely nuts”. But more influential figures are deploying similarly heated rhetoric.

“Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, yesterday branded the Government’s position a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has accused the Government of acting like a dictatorship. More temperately, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, maintains that changing the law to allow gay marriage would force unwanted change on the rest of the nation.”

It finishes with “Earlier ages considered that allowing women to own property was against God and nature. Changing the law abolished a gross injustice and thereby enhanced the legitimacy of marriage. It is time to lift another form of discriminatory treatment. Reforming the law would enrich the lives of same-sex couples who wish to marry in order to affirm by rite that they love and are loved in return. By that commitment, they will enrich the society and culture that their fellow citizens share.”

The Pope’s Letter to Irish Catholics

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Having read Pope Benedict’s XVI pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, I can say I my respect for him and the Vatican has increased.

He has apologised on behalf of the church and is sending an Apostolic Visitation for certain Diocese. It will be interesting to see which ones.

I have reproduced part of the letter below,

6. To the victims of abuse and their families

You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your relationship with the Church. I know some of you find it difficult even to enter the doors of a church after all that has occurred. Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope. I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love – even in the darkest and most hopeless situations – to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.

Speaking to you as a pastor concerned for the good of all God’s children, I humbly ask you to consider what I have said. I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace.

7. To priests and religious who have abused children

You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.

I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.

……

14. I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.

At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.

Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

I am confident that this programme will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God’s own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32).

Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. The details will be announced in due course.

I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.

Read the full letter here. It is worth reading.

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Commission of Investigation into Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin (The Murphy Report)

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So the Murphy Report and the usual outrage is being shown. We have been there before earlier this year with the Ryan Report, but has anything changed?

Not much. The priests not named in the report will not be charged, the bishops who let them get away with it are refusing to resign. Information will be shredded. Its despicable. Whats the point of these Commissions if nothing comes of them?

This morning though, I was listening to Gerry Ryan on 2FM (a rare occurrence) when he was doing the paper review and when he go to the Irish Daily Mail I was very interested to hear what he had to say. According to the Mail (not online) the Bishop’s who did not report allegations to the Gardaí will be investigated. This is a change. And it is a good change. The Church hierarchy need to be told they are no longer above the law.

While I think very highly of the current Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, as he is more open then most of predecessors, the Church still has a long way to go as their is 25 dioceses in Ireland North and South who need to either come clean and hand over records to the Gardaí or be investigated.

I am not an anti-church person. I am not an anti-catholic person. But these church men who claim to uphold the ten commandments and Gospel of Jesus Christ need to realise their actions and repent and do good on it.

There is no easy way out of this for the Catholic Church in Ireland or the Vatican. They need to look deeply at themselves are realise how human they are, admit when they are wrong, and take the punishment. It is what the rest of us mere mortals must do.

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The Lisbon Debate gets going – A bit of a round-up

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You mightened have noticed it but the Referendum Commission was set up yesterday and Mr Justice Frank Clarke has been appointed as its Chair. According to the website

The new Commission is currently planning its information campaign for this impending referendum.

I am sure we are all looking forward to that campaign.

So today I got another email from the European Movement Ireland, this time they were point out an opinion article in todays Irish Times by Richard Greene, who claims

If you are against abortion, you should reject the treaty

Read the full article for the rest of the argument. The EMI of course point out the following:

The Lisbon Treaty will not bring abortion into this country.

  • Since 1991 we have had a protocol in EU Treaty law clarifying our position on abortion. That’s eighteen years now. And still no piece of EU legislation that has questioned or affected this Protocol. In fact, since 1973 there has not been a piece of EU law that has sought to change our position on abortion.
  • The Catholic Church has confirmed that our position on abortion is not affected by the Lisbon Treaty. During the first Lisbon Referendum, Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin said that ‘Catholics could vote for the Treaty in good conscience’.
  • We are not alone. There are in fact five countries that have clear restrictive measures on abortion – Malta, Spain, Poland, Portugal and us. In fact, Malta has even stricter rules than we have.
  • Just to make sure, we got an extra guarantee a couple of weeks ago from our European partners reassuring us that reasserts that our original 1991 protocol cannot be touched.

Moving on from the abortion issue which has raised its head early in the debate, Suzy has picked up on a Press Release by Lucinda Creighton TD (FG) who could have titled her PR a little better or of course maybe been a bit clearer to what she was on about in the PR. This is how the Yes campaign lost first time round folks!

Jim Murray over on blogactiv looks at another bad argument for the Yes side. It seems the problem on the Yes side is we can’t get the right thing across. Jim does raise the point though, that gratitude is not a good reason.

Of course the past is not irrelevant, and there are good reasons for voting for Lisbon on the basis of past experience – but gratitude is not one of them

You can’t fault that!

Also the first online poll is up and running on the Munster-Express site. The Generation Yes folk kindly notified me of this one on Twitter. Its about half-way down the front page, do give it a vote!

I will be doing this round up every so often, so if you see anything let me know on twitter or drop an email off to stephen[at]stephenspillane[dot]com and I will have a sconce.

UPDATE: Don’t forget about the Generation Yes meeting on Thursday in Cork! See the Generation Yes website for details of the other meetings

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Brady’s Hypocrisy

Cardinal Brady yesterday came out strongly against the Governments plans to introduce a Civil Union Bill next year.

“This will effectively dissolve the special status of marriage between a man and woman enshrined in the Constitution,” the Cardinal claimed. “This would indeed be a ‘revolution’, perhaps the greatest in the history of the Irish family”.

Full article in the Independent

Yet today in front of Oireachtas Committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union “he said that the Church would not take a position on Lisbon as it ’would get people’s backs up’ and may be seen as showing contempt for voters”. (Breakingnews.ie).

Nearly every political party which stood for election last year had a part for Civil Unions (or Marriage in case of Greens) in their manifesto’s. So basically the church by opposing this is showing contempt for the voters? Is it not? I know there is sizable opposition to the recognition of same-sex relationships but the majority, as proven in poll after poll prove they support it.

Thankfully the Government are sticking to the programme for Government and pressing ahead!


Bock also highlights the Church’s arrogance

An Apology and Explanation

I would like to take this opportunity to explain a certain post of mine that has caused some upset to some people I know. The post in question was the one about me leaving the church.

Firstly I would like to state I had an excellent upbringing as a child of catholic parents who decided to would be best to raise me catholic. It being the 1980’s in Ireland, there weren’t many other options. But at the same time I think my parents did a good job and raised me more secular then Catholic. They thought me right from wrong and how to live my life to the full.

I can never remember being forced to go to mass, I didnt mind it though I can never remember what the Priest said in the Homily but I still know all the prayers off by heart. I did not think that the post would offend the people dear to me and I am sorry.

It took alot of courage for me to that though, finally admit that I no longer believe in an omnipotent God. It took many trips to the bookshop staring at the God Delusion but I thought it was a good idea to challenge my beliefs. My beliefs it turned out weren’t as important to me as I had thought and when I sat down and read the arguments, sometimes I had to read them twice to be sure I understood them, I realised I was arging with most of them.

My parents thought me to respect beliefs but more importantly I had a teacher in Secondary School who advised us to “Question Everything”. I think this is one way I am living up to his advice.

I respect all religions, and have the utmost respect for religous people. I think it shows great dedication and commitment, but religion as it stands does not work for me. That might change later in life if evidence comes out that God (Yahweh, Allah, Shiva, He/She/It, the Flying Spagetti Monster (I’m serious thats a religion!!) etc) exist.

To me Catholicism is a way of life, the ten commandments are a good way to live your life, but so are these:

1. You will daily give thanks to your heavenly Mother and Father, and to your earthly mother and father, for the precious gift of life.

2. You will show your respect and appreciation for this gift by striving always to make life a rich experience for yourself and others.

3. You will have reverence for the plant kingdom, which provides oxygen to breathe, food to eat, and beauty to uplift your soul.

4. You will love the members of the animal kingdom as brothers and sister.

5. You will not wantonly injure or destroy any vegetation.

6. You will not injure or kill any animal, except in self defence or for food.

7. You will not injure or kill any human, except in defence of your life, or your kin.

8. You will not wage war.

9. You will regard with equal dignity men, women and children of all races and creeds.

10. You will joyfully give succour and assistance to those less fortunate than yourself

I remember dawkins adding one to a list he had, about interfering in other peoples sex lives basically.

I am HUGELY grateful for the well rounded raising I have gotten from my Parents, but I think this could be a bone of contention for the future.

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Source:
Ten Commandments TechRepublic Forum

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To The Holy Catholic And Apostolic Church, I’m Leaving You

God Hates Ireland really?

Well we have had Godhatesfags, Godhatessweden, godhatesamerica and my personal favourite godhatefredphelps. Now we have godhatesireland.

Where do people get off?

Now i know the WBC, does not speak for all americans, but this kind of hate speech belongs in the past. Calling David Norris a fag (A cigarette in Irish slang, something they have failed to notice) and putting a pink triangle with a shamrock on his picture is not going to offend Norris in any way. He has heard way worse.

This is disrespectful to the Irish Nation
This is disrespectful to the Catholic Church, while I have no love for the church myself, it cannot all be tarred with one brush.
This is disrespectful to Irish Law
This is disrespectful to the ECHR Court and Convention.

I feel sick after reading this line

“However, the worst part of the Catholic Monster would definitely have to be the fact that the priests “secretly” rape little boys and girls, and their parents pay the priests to do it!”

Never have I heard such stupidity. This is just completely wrong. That has never happened! no parent would do that.

I am very annoyed over that website, I know its only Fred Phelps et al, who very few people take seriously, Thank God!

Gays behind Satanist plot! WTF?

I am soooo annoyed with the Catholic Church. I read this story in todays Guardian (Yes I know the link is to CNN, but i cant find it on the guardian website). He claims he was pretending to be gay to get to the end of a Satanist plot! What the hell like!!!!!

Well I have some facts for Monsignor Tommaso Stenico

1. I am Gay
2. I am not a Satanist
3. I do not even believe in the Devil
4. I am a Christian

Its over stories like this that really have turned me off the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic and I didn’t have any major hang-up with my religion, until I came out. I have lots of respect for certain priest who I know and do not judge or condemn people beacuse of their sexuality.

Also isn’t highly unethical for psychologists or psychotherapists to pose as something there not???

‘Permission’ granted for Homosexuals to have ‘Mass’

What a turn around for the Catholic church, story here (Telegraph).

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has taken the controversial step of allowing fortnightly Masses in his Westminster diocese specifically for homosexuals.

Wooo! I now officially love the Cardinal! 😛

Of course not everyone is happy with the decision, despite the fact that it is backed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments.

Juventutem na hEireann – Oige Caitliceach Traidisiunta, who i robbed the title off seam to have a problem with it saying that

sodomy is a sin which ‘cries out to Heaven for vengeance.’

and also attacks secularisation in the same post warning us of the Day of Judgement.

I think people tend to forget, as a result of their ‘indifferentism’ that there will be a Day of Judgement. A state,a country that becomes ‘secular’ is often cursed.

Despite the fact that Jesus died for all our sins whether it be being gay or committing adultery. I was born a Homosexual, I had no choice in the matter. We are all created in God’s image therefore, I am created in his image, therefore God is a Gay, a Straight Person, a Lesbian, a Bisexual, a Transvestite, a MTF and FTM! God loves us all, and a secular society is welcoming to all. Religion has no place in politics, bar in guiding individual politicians morals, which we all are allowed!

Think I babbled on a bit there, bit it is people like Juventutem na hEireann that make me glad that I decided to distance myself from the Catholic Church