Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekend News: John Shore on Pope Francis and Gay Catholics, Open Letter to New Chicago Archbishop, Reading Synod Tea Leaves, Betty Clermont on Abuse Tracker

For the weekend, a selection of miscellaneous news stories about Catholic-themed issues including the treatment of gay Catholics by Catholic institutions, the synod on the family, and the Catholic media:

1. Commenting on the story of Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick, which I told yesterday, John Shore calls Pope Francis to Lewistown, Montana, where Huff and Wojtowick were told by their parish priest that they could no longer receive communion, after they had married in May 2013. After they had married when they had been life partners for over thirty years . . . . 

"I heard a rumor that you two got married," their parish priest, Father Samuel Spierling, told them. When they confirmed this, he informed them that if they wish to receive communion, they must divorce, stop living together, and write an official renunciation of their marriage. To which John Shore replies,

I like Pope Francis, a lot. But sooner or later he and the bishops who heed him are going to have to quit waffling on the gay issue.

And then he concludes,

Please, please join me in calling upon the good Pope Francis, in his roll [i.e., role] as defender of the weak and champion of the oppressed, to recognize the moral travesty being visited upon Paul Huff and Tom Wojtowick, of the tiny parish of St. Leo in Lewistown, MT, as an absolutely stupendous opportunity for the Catholic Church to once and for all come down unequivocally on the right and just side of the homosexual issue. 
Come to Lewistown, Father. Look to your conscience, now, and judge.

2. Patrick T. Reardon, the author of Catholic and Starting Out: 5 Challenges and 5 Opportunities (ACTA) and a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in Chicago, writes an open letter to the newly announced archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, which calls on Archbishop Cupich to do the following (among other things) when he assumes his new post:

So here’s another suggestion: Listen to everyone, but go out of your way to meet with people who feel marginalized by the church. 
I’m talking about divorced Catholics and gay Catholics and Catholics married outside of the church and Catholics who have been scarred by the pedophilia scandals. 

And he adds,

We are a religion based on the washing of feet. Based on the last being first. Based on the leader as the suffering servant. 

3.  Citing an article by Francis DeBernardo at Bondings 2.0 in his weekly recap of global LGBT news at Religion Dispatches, Peter Montgomery reads the tea leaves regarding the upcoming synod on the family, especially as the synod will address issues of concern to gay Catholics and those who care about gay Catholics. As he notes, DeBernardo finds some of the bishops who will be attending the synod apparently concerned to see gay Catholics welcomed by and included in the church, while he notes that others on the list of synod appointees "have long anti-gay records."

4. At Open Tabernacle, Betty Clermont issues an appeal for us to support the Abuse Tracker website at the Bishop Accountability website. As Betty points out, at a time in which the Catholic media appear increasingly to be controlled by "idolatrous obsequiousness towards Pope Francis," Abuse Tracker, under the leadership of award-winning religious writer Kathy Shaw, continues to perform a valuable service of covering all the news Catholics who want to be well-informed need to read.

Betty points us to this link that will allow us to make a donation to Bishop Accountability.

The graphic: men in Nanjing, China, reading the news on the street in October 2008; the photo is by French photographer Stougard, who has made it available for sharing at Wikimedia Commons.

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