Saturday, October 31, 2015

Krzysztof Charamsa's Letter to the Pope in English Translation: "I’ve Made the Decision to Publicly Refuse the Violence of the Church with Regard to [LBTI] People"

Because Giova Gallagher has kindly pointed us in a comment here to an English translation of the full text of Monsignor  Krzysztof Charamsa's letter to Pope Francis at the Crux website, I'm going to leave a final note before I begin my two-week retreat, sharing that link with all of you, with much gratitude to Giova for finding it for us. The Crux article (by Gaia Pianigiani of New York Times) says that the translation is by Crux.

Friday, October 30, 2015

"No One Leaves Home Unless Home Is the Mouth of a Shark": Krzysztof Charamsa on the "Unspeakable Suffering" Catholic Pastoral Leaders Inflict on LGBTI People

In his letter to the pope, Krzysztof Charamsa says that he came out of the closet after a long and tormented period of prayer and discernment because he can no longer tolerate "the violence of the Church towards homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people." He states that, through its pastoral leaders, the Catholic church "persecutes" LGBTI human beings, causing them and their families "unspeakable suffering" and making their lives "hell."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Readers Write and I Respond: The Book Project

In what I just posted about Steve's and my religious transition right at present, I told you that I would also pick up the thread of previous discussions of a book I might write about the story of how our careers as Catholic theologians who happen to be gay were destroyed by Catholic pastoral leaders. I appreciate very much the encouragement of a number of you to me to write such a book, and your offers to help me as I do so.

Readers Write and I Respond: "The Whole Idea of Ordinary Church Gives Me the Hives" and "The Walls Are the Problem: They Enclose, Hamper, Restrict Conversations"

In what follows, I want to catch up on some "personal" sharing — to pick up threads of previous discussions that have been left dangling due to my lack of time to pick them up as we were traveling recently. I also want to tell you that I'll be away from blogging again for the coming two weeks. More about that in a moment . . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa to The Guardian — Pope Francis's View of Catholic Discussion of LGBT Issues and Lives: "This Is Not for This Moment"

Again, many thanks to all of you for your many valuable comments here that have gone unacknowledged as I've been traveling for several days. This morning, I want to share a link that Chris Morley kindly provided in a comment here yesterday. As he notes, The Guardian has just published an article by Stephanie Kirchgaessner about Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, the Polish priest and Vatican official who was expeditiously defrocked after he came of the closet as gay right before the synod on the family convened.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ragged Questions After the Synod — Deafening Silence About How the Homosexuals Took Another One Upside the Head to Facilitate Pastoral Breakthrough for Everyone Else

A stray (but not really) thought as we pack for our drive back home in a few minutes:

Quote for Day: "No Family Should Feel Alone or Excluded from the Church’s Loving Embrace, and the Real Scandal Is a Fear of Love"

At his Wild Reed site on Sunday, Michael Bayly lifts out of Pope Francis's speech closing the synod the final statement in the final footnote to the papal speech:

Saying Hello After Two Days of Travel, with Gratitude for Your Comments

I'm here, friends, fellow sojourners. I very much appreciate all of your comments in the past two days, and am sorry I haven't yet said that or replied to any of them. Steve and I have been away from home since Sunday, as he pursues business in the northwest corner of our state and I tag along to see the fall leaves begin to change and visit the spectacular Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art again. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Synod's Final Word to LGBT People: Lord Help Us! Those People Imagine They Should Be Welcome?! And Fa-mi-ly?!

As I reminded you yesterday, while the synod in Rome was underway, top Catholic leaders — some of them speaking on the floor of the synod itself — were freely permitted to characterize a portion of the human community, the LGBT portion, as "smoke of Satan," as a demonic threat needing to be exorcised from the church and its gatherings, as Nazis, as fascists seeking to impose an anti-Christian dictatorship in the world, as the antithesis of fa-mi-ly. Or, as Cardinal Arinze put the latter point, "Lord help us! Is that what you understand by family? This synod is on the fa-mi-ly."

Krzysztof Charamsa on Pedophile Lobby in the Vatican and the Logic of the Church: Who's Welcome in the Catholic Community, and Who Is Not Welcome

As Chris pointed out in a comment here yesterday, in a section of his Religión Digital interview with the defrocked gay priest and Vatican employee Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, journalist José Manuel Vidal asks Msgr. Charamsa about what seems to be a glaring discrepancy between the alacrity with which Catholic officials defrock a priest who comes out of the closet, and their ability to tolerate (and hide) a pedophile priest for years. Brittmarie Janson Perez has sent me a translation of that section of the interview, which I'd like to share with you this morning.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Religión Digital Publishes Interview with Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa: "The Church Preaches Mercy, But Does It Not Keep on Persecuting Homosexuals?"

Yesterday, the Spanish journal Religión Digital published an interview with the gay Polish priest who came out of the closet in a public way prior to the synod on the family — Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa. Those following this story will know that Msgr. Charamsa was quickly defrocked by his bishop (in sharp contrast to the many priests who have abused minors and have been permitted to remain in ministry, have been moved about from parish to parish and hidden from public scrutiny).

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Here Are Some of the Things Said About LGBT Folks During the Synod (Smoke of Satan, Exorcism, Dictatorship, "This Synod Is on the Fa-mi-ly")

In case you haven't paid attention as the synod gathering occurred, LGBT folks, here are some of the things that pastoral leaders of the Catholic church have said about you and human beings like you as they have discussed the church's obligation to engage in pastoral ministry to the faithful (not all of these folks were at the synod, by the way; all are, however, commenting on the synod and its work):

An Entirely Wrong-Headed Proposal for USCCB Funding of Lay Theological Education at America Magazine: My Critical Response

As I've mentioned here in the past, I have given up on reading the Jesuit weekly America, even though I read it faithfully for many years, from my undergraduate days at a Jesuit university where I was taught by an esteemed Jesuit who played a key role in the magazine from its early days, until . . . well, until I gave up on America. Having comments I made on its discussion board, in which I considered myself to be defending gay folks against slander, and thought I was using rational and inoffensive statements to pursue that end, soured me on America. Having these comments deleted without any explanation offered to me soured me on America and its "open" discussions of Catholic issues.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Wafers for Repentant Divorced and Remarried Folks, No Wafers for Any Gays in Loving, Committed Relationships

Talk about plain weird. What a snapshot of the Catholic "mind" — that is, of the mentality of some Catholics regarding their fellow human beings who are LGBT — the exchange following this comment by Kate at National Catholic Reporter yesterday is. Kate is responding to Joshua McElwee's report citing Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who says the synod's final recommendations will not include a recommendation for Communion for the divorced and remarried.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "In Our Christian Heritage We Received from the Missionaries, There Is Nothing of That Inclusive Language"

David Gibson writing for Religion News Service today:

"In our Christian heritage we received from the missionaries, there is nothing of that inclusive language," Archbishop Thomas Msusa of the East African nation of Malawi told National Catholic Reporter.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Leah Mickens: "Reason Why Feminists and LGBT People Get So Much Crap from the Hierarchy and Their Conservotrad Enablers Is Because They Demand Honesty in Sexual Issues"

Brilliant commentary from Leah Mickens of the blog Extra Ecclesiam Est Libertas: Leah's writing in response to my previous posting today, which ends by pointing readers to a surrealistic conversation the blogger who maintains Questions from a Ewe had recently with several African priests about matters of priestly celibacy (they don't necessarily heart it) and the synod and holding the line on the gays and divorced folks (they do heart holding that line).

Notes from the Synod: "I’m Astonished That Many People Talk about Doctrine without Knowing What Doctrine Is," Or, Implications for the Future When Stupidity and Venality Carry the Day

At Commonweal, Grant Gallicho reports on statements made yesterday by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx at a Vatican press briefing about the synod on the family. According to Gallicho, Marx was asked by Edward Pentin of the ultra-right publication National Catholic Register to commnent on South African Cardinal Wilfred Naipier's statement on Tuesday that the synod should not take up theological or doctrinal matters (implication: those are set in stone and cannot be discussed, let alone altered).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Rest of the Story at Belmont Abbey College: Aftermath to the Destruction of Two Careers (Claims That the College's Catholicity Had Waned, Reassertion of Direct Monastic Control)

And then down the road, this happened at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina after that college and the monastery that owns it shattered my vocation as a Catholic theologian:

Why I Told Our Story, and What I Expect As a Result: Stuff Happens in Club Catholic

So what to do with our stories? To be specific, what to do with the story I've shared with you in the past few days — the 1993 and 1994 documents chronicling in great detail how Catholic pastoral officials decisively shattered my theological vocation and that of my partner (now my husband)?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More of My Story: 1993 Letter That "Went Everywhere," According to Abbot Who Accused Me of Assaulting Him by Telling My Story — A Sequel

Mary Oliver, “The Chance to Love Everything,” in Dream Work (NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986), p. 9. 

In the past three days, I've posted (in three installments — here, here, and here) a letter I sent to friends and colleagues in September 1993, explaining why I had resigned my position at Belmont Abbey College after I was given a one-year terminal contract for which the college officials refused to provide a reason. This is a sequel to that letter I sent to the same friends and colleagues in February 1994 — an update to the September letter:

Monday, October 19, 2015

More of My Story: 1993 Letter That "Went Everywhere," According to Abbot Who Accused Me of Assaulting Him by Telling My Story (3)

Mary Oliver, “The Chance to Love Everything,” in Dream Work (NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986), p. 9. 

This is the third and final installment of a document I've now shared in my two previous postings. For parts one and two of the document, please click here and here. As those two postings explain, this is a letter that I sent on 29 September 1993 to friends and colleagues in many places, telling them that I had resigned my position at Belmont Abbey college after I had received a one-year terminal contract that the college's officials refused to explain.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

An Autumn Poem for You: "Ambered in My Time"

And, as a gift to you readers this morning, and a reminder that my life is not summed up by that dismal letter I've been sharing with you all from 1993 — they can break my body but not my soul — a poem about autumn for you.

More of My Story: 1993 Letter That "Went Everywhere," According to Abbot Who Accused Me of Assaulting Him by Telling My Story (2)

Mary Oliver, “The Chance to Love Everything,” in Dream Work (NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986), p. 9. 

As I explained yesterday, this is (part 2 of) a letter that I sent on 29 September 1993 to friends and colleagues in many places, telling them that I had resigned my position at Belmont Abbey college after I had received a one-year terminal contract that the college's officials refused to explain. Part one of the letter is at the link I've just provided. As I also said yesterday, I'm sharing this letter now because 1) I've never shared it on this blog, 2) some of you have asked about Steve's and my story, 3) I think stories like this need to be documented, since many LGBT employees of Catholic institutions have been and continue to be treated this way, and 4) nothing the synod says about mercy means a hill of beans until such stories are engaged and the harm done by Catholic institutions to LGBT people mended. Here's the next installment:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

More of My Story: 1993 Letter That "Went Everywhere," According to Abbot Who Accused Me of Assaulting Him by Telling My Story (1)

Mary Oliver, “The Chance to Love Everything,” in Dream Work (NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986), p. 9. 

Since I've compiled a set of links here that point readers back to postings I've made about the shattering of my career as a lay Catholic theologian, and that of my husband Steve, by Belmont Abbey College and the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, in the early 1990s, and since some of you have expressed an interest in learning more of that story, I've decided to share with you a document that tells in detail precisely what happened to me at Belmont Abbey College. This is a letter I sent on 29 September 1993 to friends and colleagues in many places, telling them that I had resigned my position at the college after I had received a one-year terminal contract that the college's officials refused to explain.

Friday, October 16, 2015

As LGBT Lives Continue to Be Discussed While the Synod Takes Place, Look at Whose Voice Counts in Catholic Discussion Spaces — And Whose Testimony Is Not Invited

It's interesting (to me, at least) to think about the fact that, while National Catholic Reporter told me it did not want to hear or tell the story of the destruction of Steve's and my careers as lay Catholic theologians who happen to be gay, it continues to allow a contributor to its discussions named Purgatrix Ineptiae to claim — and repeatedly so — that the Catholic faith is hostile to those who are gay, and to gay men, in particular. NCR continues to allow Purgatrix Ineptiae to engage, in the name of Catholic faith, in what is tantamount to hate speech about gay men.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cooking to Save the Planet: Pasta Shells with Smothered Summer Squash; Roasted Pepper and Avocado Salad

I haven't done one of these postings for a while now. I enjoy writing them, and so here's another in my series of postings about cooking to save the planet:

As the Synod Meets, Story of the Shattering of Careers of Two Gay Theologians by Catholic Officials: A Complete Set of Links to Previous Postings Here

Dear Folks,

I told you yesterday I should gather together the links I've posted now in two sets, providing information about my story — about how my career as a lay Catholic theologian and that of my husband have been shattered by Catholic pastoral leaders, with never any explanation of why they have done this to us. I've now gathered those links together in one list arranged chronologically (in the order in which I wrote them). I think one of these may not have appeared in either of the two previous postings.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Links to Past Postings in Which I've Told My Story Here — The Shattering of Careers of Two Gay Theologians by Catholic Officials

I don't mean to bombard you kind folks with lots of links telling my personal story — the painful details of how Catholic officials shattered my vocation and that of my husband Steve as Catholic theologians in the early 1990s. But since Electra indicated to me several days ago that she had not heard these details, and since that suggests to me there may be other readers of this blog who also have not heard them, I've been trying to gather together a list of previous postings here in which I tell the story.

As Talk of Mercy Continues in Rome, U.S. Archbishop Restricts Communion to Righteous, Another Gay Employee of a Catholic Ministry Is Fired, Etc.: There's the Church World, and Then There's the Real World

I wrote yesterday that while the men in Rome are nattering on about mercy and fashioning a church that's a field hospital for the wounded, something else, something quite different, continues to unfold for many of us in the real world at a distance from the Vatican. For LGBT people and for women, that something else is a decided signal from the men talking about mercy and healing that some people count more than others in their church. And that the bread heaped on the Catholic table is for some people and not for others.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In Case You Have Not Yet Heard My Story (I Alluded to It in My Previous Posting Today), Some Links for You

A week ago, Electra asked in a comment here if I had shared details of my story on this blog. The story I mean is the one to which I just alluded when I noted that the leaders of the Catholic church have given my husband and me (and many LGBT Catholics) a loud, clear, decisive message that we count for nothing at all in their scheme of things, in their merciful church, at their table stacked with bread for the world.

The Synod, LGBT Catholics, and Women: Meh

I'd like to tell you that the synod in Rome (or whatever we choose to call it or however we decide to define it) means something to me. To be honest, it doesn't. Or, to be more accurate, it means about as much to me as does any gathering of the top leaders of the Catholic church, or any document that emanates from those top leaders.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Weekend Blogging Hiatus

Dear Readers,

I am traveling this weekend and participating in a panel discussion at an academic society meeting, and so I won't be posting on the weekend. I've closed the last three discussion threads for the period in which I won't be blogging, since, in my view, some of the discussions are heading off on tangents that are not really productive and the combox is being used more to mount attacks on other contributors (myself perhaps above all, as the moderator of the discussion threads) than for helpful conversation.

Thanks for your understanding, and have a great weekend!

On Evil and Angelic Troublemakers: What Bayard Rustin (and Martin Luther King and Gandhi) Were About

Colleen, thank you for reminding me that angelic troublemakers should not forget their vocation to be troublemakers. The point on which I'm insisting over and over in comments here lately is that I think we should struggle to keep aiming at the angelic side of the equation, too.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

New York Times on Pope's Comments About Bishop Barros in Chile: They Instill Doubt About Pope's Commitment to Protecting Abuse Victims

Pascal Bonnefoy reports for New York Times yesterday on the video about which I appended a note to Brittie Perez's great essay, which was shot by an Argentine tourist in St. Peter's Square last May, and released Friday. As I noted, it shows Pope Francis blaming "leftists" for the uproar that ensued when he appointed Juan Barros bishop of Osorno, Chile, and stigmatizing the people of Osorno as dumb.

Tom Gallagher on Who Dunnit of Pope's Meeting with Kim Davis: Kurtz and Lori Deny Involvement — But "Depth and Breadth of the Hurt . . . Has Negatively Affected Millions of People of Goodwill"

Tom Gallagher reports yesterday evening for National Catholic Reporter about his attempts to gather more information about who initiated the "highly secret rendezvous" of Kim Davis with the pope, which included a Secret Service pick-up of Davis and her husband to bring them (her hair bundled in a head covering to disguise her) to the residence of the papal nuncio. As he writes, 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mary Hunt on Synod: "'Membership' Is Made Up of All Men All the Time. What Possible Justification Can There Be for This in the 21st Century?"

Catholic theologian Mary Hunt on the him-nod synod on the family now taking place in Rome:

Tina Beattie on Synod: "Francis's Opportunity to Show That He Is Really Serious . . . About Giving Women a More Significant Role, and I Don't Think He's Delivered on It"

Catholic theologian Tina Beattie, commenting to Catholic Women Speak Network on the him-nod synod on the family now taking place in Rome:

Mary McAleese on Synod: "If I Wanted Expertise on the Family, I Honestly Cannot Say That the First Thing That Would Come Into My Mind Would Be to Call Together 300 Celibate Males"

Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland, commenting recently to a meeting of the Global Network of Rainbow (LGBT) Catholics on the him-nod synod on the family now taking place in Rome:

NON POSSO PIU: "I Am Through with Making Allowances and Excuses for the Vatican," by Brittmarie Janson Perez

Brittie Perez (Brittmarie Janson Perez) has sent me another excellent essay that I'm delighted to publish today. Readers who have followed this blog will perhaps remember that I've previously published other pieces by Brittie — here and here. What follows is Brittie's latest text, entitled Non Posso Piu:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Quote for Day: Archbishop Chaput, Either Join Us As We Seek to Protect Our Children, or Get Out of the Way and Stop Attacks on Our Representative Democracy

I really like Captain Michael Skiendzielewski's comment in response to the article by Kieran Tapsell on the strange disconnect between Pope Francis's words and actions re: sex abuse that I discussed in a previous posting today. I like it so much that I'm going to share it with you in its entirety:

Who Really Set Up Papal Meeting with Kim Davis? Enlightening Comments at Catholic Blog Site

Yesterday at the National Catholic Reporter site, Tom Gallagher posted an article focusing on something about which I spoke briefly in a posting here on the same day: namely, that in the wake of the Kim Davis-Pope Francis debacle, the mainstream media are finally saying out loud what many of us have known and been saying for some time now — that the outfit giving legal advice to Ms. Davis, Liberty Counsel, is an anti-gay hate group. I find the comments in response to Tom Gallagher's article especially enlightening.

Symbolism or Substance? Pope Francis and the Abuse Situation: Recent Commentary

Symbol the pope speaking to the bishops gathered in Philadelphia recently:

Monday, October 5, 2015

If Catholic Leaders Are Permitted to Convince Us That Symbol Represents Substance, Who's to Blame? If We Choose to Believe That the Telenovela Is Real . . .

You realize, don't you, that probing the uneasy interface between symbol and substance, in the case of authority figures, is a revolutionary act? It's a necessary act, if religious and social authority figures are to be called to accountability.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "He Found Time to Meet Kim But Not Meet with Any One of the Many Outstanding Female Theologians Living in the U.S."

Symbol Trumps Substance in Synod on the Family: Women As the Imagined Strawberries on the Cake

Some Bullet Point Observations As Synod on Family Opens in Light of Kim Davis-Pope Francis Story: Continuing Claim That Symbol Counts for Substance in Catholic Community

• Well, at least the debacle of Kim Davis and the Pope has gotten the mainstream media finally to say clearly, unambiguously what the rest of us have long known, but the media refused to say: that Liberty Counsel is an anti-gay hate group. I suppose that's a good thing.

Claire Galofaro's AP article noting that Liberty Counsel is a hate group, which came out this weekend, is now all over news sites on the Internet, including CBS News. It's echoed by Brandon Ambrosino today at Daily Beast, who claims to have connections inside the Vatican (who knew?).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weak Men and Old Hussies: Soap Opera Lessons Learned at My Grandmother's Knee, and Their Application to the Kim Davis-Pope Francis Story

My grandmother, the half-Irish one, was not a churchgoer (the other one, who was a convicted Southern Baptist, very decidedly was a churchgoer). But not attending church does not mean that one cannot have one's liturgies, does it? In my grandmother's case, no liturgy was more sacrosanct or more solemn than the daily ritual of "Mama's stories."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Telenovela Continues: Gay Vatican Official Comes Out and Is Sacked in Advance of Synod on the Family

OMG. Did someone say head-turners? (Yes, I'm between popcorn runs, and very glad I bought in a big new supply of popcorn today, because it looks like the telenovela is only going to get, well, more hilarious and dramatic, steamier and more engrossing in the build-up to the Synod on the Family.)

Michelangelo Signorile on Amazing Alacrity with Which Vatican Noticed Pushback About Kim Davis Meeting, and on Why This Happened

Today's a day of non-blogging commitments for me (my supply of popcorn is quickly running out, for one thing), and so I can't be at my computer to comment on any new telenovela head-turners that may be coming our way today from the Vatican or Liberty Counsel or the papal nuncio. A thought I'd like to place before you, though, as I head to my first meeting:

Friday, October 2, 2015

New Civil Rights Movement Reports: "Kim Davis' Meeting with the Pope Was Arranged – Contrary to Theories Espoused in the Media – by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops"

The New Civil Rights Movement has learned through a source within the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican embassy, that Kim Davis’ meeting with the Pope was arranged – contrary to theories espoused in the media – by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

News Flash: Pope Met Gay Friend While on American Tour

Wow. They're really in damage-control mode today. What that tells us is how much the pushback regarding the meeting with Kim Davis has unsettled them. 

Mary Dispenza's Powerful Memoir SPLIT: Moving from Childhood Rape by a Priest to Catholic Institutional Abuse As a Lesbian — "I Can Live with the Consequences of Love"

On the day that news broke of the pope's meeting with Kim Davis, I was finishing Mary Dispenza's painful, liberating account of her struggle to come to terms with her sexual abuse by a priest as a little girl, followed by her struggle to come to terms with her gay sexual orientation as an adult — and, in both cases, her narrative centers on her difficult attempt to deal with the callousness and cruelty of Catholic "pastoral" leaders as she struggled along. And so Mary Dispenza's story now blends together in my mind with the revelation that, while refusing to meet with a single LGBT Catholic on his recent tour of "mercy" in the U.S., Pope Francis met with Kim Davis.* Of all people . . . .

Barbie Latza Nadeau on Vatican "Clarification" of Pope's Meeting with Kim Davis: "Pope Doesn’t Say 'Stay Strong' to Just Everyone He Meets"

At Daily Beast, Barbie Latza Nadeau is right on target with her assessment of today's Vatican (non-) statement about what the pope knew as he met with Kim Davis, and what happened in that meeting: 

Papal Meeting with Kim Davis: Vatican Doing Damage Control, But Unanswered Questions Galore Remain

So the hugely damaging fallout from the pope's meeting with Kim Davis has now provoked an unusual response-retraction of sorts from the Vatican media spokesperson Father Lombardi, who says that the pope is a characteristically kind and available man who meets with all sorts of persons (and isn't that nice, but isn't it interesting that his kindness and availibilty didn't extend to a meeting with a single LGBT Catholic among many who asked to see him on his U.S. visit?)* Father Lombardi's brief account of the meeting makes it appear that Kim Davis was "one of several dozen persons" who simply happened to be bustled in front of the pope as he made preparations to leave D.C.