Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Takes on the Synod on the Family: Gay (Un)Welcome Issue, Contraception, Women

Here are some (among many) responses to the recent synod on the family that I'd like to recommend for your reflection: 

The idea that some random people are debating my life and my love now seems strange and insulting. While I will continue to pay professional attention to these debates, as someone who works in the media and as a member of the clergy who cares about justice for all people, on a personal level I couldn't give a shit what these people think about my life. I'm not going to give them that power. . . .  
Many people who closely watched the Synod felt that within all the back and forth there were good signs for the future for gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church. And probably, there is a silver lining in Hillsong story as well. I wish them well as they work their way through the "issue" of homosexuality. But I will no longer hope for their approval. I know I was beautifully made by God and that my relationship with Brad is blessed. They can call me when the debates are over and they can (finally) see that as well.*

In a video conversation with Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches, Patricia Miller explains the conservative pushback to what have been presented as pastoral but not doctrinal changes (e.g., welcoming gay Catholics and acknowledging their gifts): 

[O]ne of the reasons that there's been so much conservative pushback is the fear that those pastoral changes, if they become widespread enough, could kind of lead backwards to doctrinal changes in the long run. So there's a reason that this has been pretty controversial, because they really do see those pastoral chantes, as I wrote, as maybe the pastoral cart leading the doctrinal horse in the long run.

For DignityUSA, Marianne Duddy-Burke on why real-life gay people, their families, and people who care about them should continue to be concerned about how churches speak about us (H/T to Michael Bayly at Wild Reed): 

"In the meantime, as this just-concluded Synod has shown, the words and actions of Church leaders matter deeply and impact LGBT people and our families every day. Whether a bishop stands against a law criminalizing homosexuality, whether a Church employee in a same-sex marriage can keep her job, whether an LGBT high school student is bullied—all of these things flow from what the Church teaches," said Duddy-Burke.

Jerry Slevin, at his Christian Catholicism blog site, zeroes in on Pope Francis's choice to beatify Paul VI, the pope who issued Humanae Vitae, continuing the Catholic ban on artificial contraception when a majority of his advisors urged him to ditch this ban: 

Pope Francis’ seemingly naked power move to adorn Paul VI and Humanae Vitae with a halo, unnecessarily and unjustifiably,  provides clear evidence that Francis is both seeking to maximize papal power by preserving at all costs "infallibility" and to appeal to very traditionalist and often wealthy and right wing Catholics, while stonewalling on birth control. This cannot work, Pope Francis. The estimated 95% of Catholic couples worldwide, who have found that artificial contraception is a responsible and necessary way to plan their families’ futures, even their survival in many cases, will not accept Humanae Vitae, even with a halo over it. Francis has weakened the papacy here, not strengthened it, no?

At National Catholic Reporter, the synod's paragraphs on contraception also caught Jamie Manson's eye; she asks why so few Catholics are talking about the fact that the synod remained as intransigent on this issue as the church has ever been: 

So why don't most justice-oriented Catholics in the United States get upset about the church's ban on contraception anymore? The problem, I believe, is privilege. 
If recent studies are accurate, as many as 98 percent of Catholics in this country have used some form of birth control. Most progressive Catholics in this country can afford contraception. Many who could not previously afford contraception now have it provided in their medical plans thanks to the Affordable Care Act (that is, unless they work for an institution with a conscience exemption). Of course, some of the poorest in our country still do not have adequate access to contraception. But unfortunately, they are not the ones creating the sound bites or developing the platforms of liberal or conservative Catholic movements.

At Religion Dispatches, Patricia Miller has a similar take on the contraception issue: 

Even as they take tentative steps to welcome gay Catholics, the bishops retain the old formulation that women who want to plan their families with a high degree of certainty are doing something fundamentally illicit. When it comes to women and sex, they hear only what they want to hear.

*The Hillsong reference: as Raushenbush notes, even as the synod was meeting, the worldwide evangelical group Hillsong was meeting in New York, and announced at its meeting that it remains "on the journey" re: the question of same-sex marriage.

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