Thursday, September 18, 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "All Friends Who Had Attended a Local Catholic High School Together"

Quote for Day: Until Catholic Leaders Demonstrate Epistemic Humility to Listen, Teaching about Marriage, Family, and Sexuality Will Remain Unconvincing

As I did yesterday, Jamie Manson asks critical questions about Cardinal Sean O'Malley's recent statement that the Catholic church needs to find better ways of demonstrating to gay human beings that we are loved. I zeroed in on the problem of O'Malley's conclusion that gay folks can't understand that they are loved by Catholic leaders until the church "rectifies" the situation in which one gay employee after another of a Catholic institution is fired.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As Synod on Family Nears, Calls for "Rectifying" Treatment of Gays by Catholic Institutions, Calls for "Listening": Rectified How? Listening When and Where?

And more about a theme I'm discussing today — the hunger of many Catholics for authentic dialogue about the issues to be discussed at the synod on the family. There is, I maintain, a pronounced hunger among Catholics in many parts of the world for dialogue that moves the discussion of the issues on which the synod of the family will focus beyond mere talk to meaningful action. And for dialogue that permits the contributions of those about whom the synod participants will be talking as they issue their definitions of and statements about the family . . . . 

Family Values, Theologians, and Archbishop Nienstedt: A Theological Discussion Pertinent to the Synod on the Family

I just wrote that I'm seeing a strong hunger for authentic dialogue expressed in much commentary in Catholic circles about  the upcoming synod on the family. The hunger for authentic dialogue manifests itself as an impatience with rhetoric that never moves beyond the realm of symbol to effective action. Here's a snapshot of where many American Catholics may be right now, vis-a-vis that hunger for . . . something: for real change in our church and how it does business, for effective action in areas like the abuse crisis, for authentic dialogue that involves talking with and not down to.

Catholic Synod on the Family: Theologians Talking about Women, Democracy and Human Rights, Catholic Families — and Jesus

As the Catholic synod on the family nears, I'm spotting more and more commentary focusing on the distance (in the view of many Catholics) between the rhetoric of church leaders about pastoral issues, and the realtiy lived by those church leaders as they go about their pastoral work. There is a well-articulated fear in many quarters that the synod will be much more about rhetoric than about reality, that it will, essentially, change nothing, especially for those on whom the church's teaching and policies inflict serious pain.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Suicide of a Gay Teen: Catholic Context

This heart-breaking story of the suicide of yet another gay teen is a reminder of why it matters — why it should matter — that the Catholic church in the U.S. (or anywhere else) is moving backwards  regarding welcoming and including gay members. And this story is a reminder of why it matters that, as Jerry Slevin notes, as the synod on the family nears, Pope Francis appears to be signaling a complete "non-approach" to the families of gay Catholics.

Question for Synod on Family from Belgian Bishop Johan Bonny: "What Kind of People Did Jesus Mix with and in What Way?"

The Catholic bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, has published a statement on his expectations for the forthcoming synod on the family. An English translation of the statement by Brian Doyle is online now at (pdf file) the website of the Belgian Catholic bishops' conference. I'm struck by the following passage, in which Bonny explains that he hopes the synod won't be a Platonic one that withdraws into "the distant safety of doctrinal debate and general norms," but will "pay heed to the concrete and complex reality of life" and will remember the calling of the church to be a "travelling companion" for its members on their life journeys: