D Gregory Smith

Cardinal George: New Ways Ministry (to gays) Not Catholic

Filed By D Gregory Smith | February 07, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic church, gay Christians, gay religion, Institutionalized homophobia, love, New Ways Ministry, WWJD?

Cardinal Francis George, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops has "issued a clarification" late on Friday afternoon regarding the standing of New Ways Ministry, "a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities" according to their website.

George's statement, (full text here) gives the historical context of the church's conflicts with New Ways Ministry, which started almost from the outset in 1977, through controversies regarding "adherence to Church teaching" and dramatically leading to a permanent prohibition of the founders from working with homosexual persons because of "errors and ambiguities." The Ministry itself is now under scrutiny because it has shown a "lack of adherence to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts."

Well. It's not like this is news, right?

One wonders if the Church leadership is responding to last Sunday's post by Fr Tony. Or are they simply becoming completely reactionary and panicked in their stubborn refusal to acknowledge the genuine life experience of non-heterosexual (non-celibate, non-male?) persons?

That's actually the kind of panic I want to see - the panic that digs in instead of reaching out. Why? Seems a little counterintuitive, doesn't it? Well, several reasons.

It's the kind of panic that says the desperation of defending dogma and security is overriding compassion in the hierarchy - creating credibility issues for the church while it's making its last stand in the face of reality.

It's the panic of the last-ditch effort for relevance in the face of overwhelming opposition and experience to the contrary. It's fear, the kind that knows it's losing control. That's the kind of panic exhibited by the crowds on the first Good Friday.

That's the panic, if we believe the story, that was ultimately forgotten and lost in the face of pure love.

So I welcome the panic that comes from refusing to see other human beings hurt and angry and confused - because it simply can't last. It goes against everything that I know about the message of Jesus.

Some may disagree, but being a hopeful guy - a man in a loving, life-giving relationship with another man, I am certain of one thing: we definitely have love on our side.

Late yesterday, New Ways Ministry basically called "Bullshit!"

A statement released by Executive Director Francis DeBernardo said that New Ways ministry will not be impeded by the Cardinal's "clarification". In fact, New Ways was "astonished," "since (the) Ministry has never been contacted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to discuss the nature of our work. We were not even extended the basic courtesy of being informed of the statement as it was being released to the press. Instead, we learned about it only by reading a press account."

And so it goes....

Full (and excellent) statement here.

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They've unleashed the Inquisition on American Nuns in part because of their support for gay equality, as well as women's rights including contraception.

Our beloved chaplain Fr Tony is probably in a picture on a dart board in a clerical bar in Vatican City.

but worth ten points less than their favourite bete noir, Sr Joan Chittister

It's apalling that so many of the "cultured" and "educated" still believe in outdated notions based upon what they believe to be the word of God. In reality it is the word of man attributed to God..for his own purpose and satisfaction. No condom use? While millions die. No pre-marital sex? When sex sells everything from toothpaste to Pine Sol (thats the power of advertising. No Gay rights? When Gays pay taxes and live an otherwise completely similar life to heterosexuals, as well as make up a huge part of the Church. Yet..The Catholic Church and Others like Westboro speak hate..some outwardly...some more veiled. Yet they are God's ambassadors? I think not. Thank you for the nice article. Information is always key...as long as it's the right kind.


Thank you- always try to get the information out as best I can....

I bet it really peeves the Vatican when some splinter group has the audacity to reach out to sinners instead of falling in line and withholding God's love (because He's too busy to do it Himself, or He would).

Seriously, let's assume for a minute that being gay is a sin and that sin actually helps determine in what way you will continue to exist after death. For eternity.

(Sorry, had to stop typing for a minute while I regained my composure. Then I reread what I typed and started laughing again. But I have that problem with all afterlife-centric religions, so please forgive me.)

According to the New Testament, these would be exactly the people that the entire Church as followers of Jesus is supposed to be reaching out toward. You know, Sinners. Especially sinners that *want* to Believe in God, His Son and Mr. Spirit, their well-dressed (and talented) but rarely seen friend. Not surprisingly, the Christian part of the Bible does *not* say to go ahead and smite them, it does not say to stop preaching to them, it does not say that they must be punished for eternity. It says to reach out to anyone who has sinned and wants to believe. Because everyone has at least one under their belt.

It's a bummer when your entire belief system starts to go all wonky; your choices are a slow nudge back or a fast reform. But it's kinda important to go in the right direction, back to more internally consistent core values. And this ain't it.

Exactly my point- consistency. If the Christian message is "God's love is for everyone," then it is imperative that all people be respected, their experience heard and their feelings acknowledged.

Well, I guess we shouldn't expect much more from the Church at this point. They're only going in one direction on these issues.