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Ratzi's bishops decide how to deal with the homos

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting in Baltimore to decide how to handle ministering to gays and lesbians in the flock. They are attempting to reach gay Catholics alienated from the church with new guidelines — and the effort is a complete failure.

The document, “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination,” ensures that there’s no good way to reconcile being gay and Catholic without feeling shame and guilt. The missive purports to be supportive of gays, condemning outright discrimination, BUT…

* gays must be celibate
* gays should not disclose their sexual orientation “outside of a close circle of parish friends and advisers” [stay in the closet!]
* the church reaffirms its opposition to marriage equality
* the church disapproves of adoption by gay couples.

Well, that’s a real bundle of spiritual sunshine. It’s kind of hard to believe the big guy upstairs called down to the Ratzi hotline to give him clarity on the subject of coming out of the closet. Doesn’t he have more urgent matters to attend to, like famine, natural disasters, and all those rogue pedophile priests?

DignityUSA, an advocacy group for gay and lesbian Catholics, called the draft document on gay ministry “deeply flawed.”

Maintaining secrecy about sexual identity fuels shame among gay Catholics and allows others to dehumanize them, the group said. Bishops should acknowledge that committed gay relationships “have the same potential for holiness” as heterosexual marriage, the group said.

Anticipating the criticism, the bishops who drafted the document said they must be honest about sinful behavior to be truly supportive of gays.

One bishop realizes that he’s about to be put in an untenable position by these new guidelines.

A few bishops voiced concern Monday that the guidelines, on which a final vote is expected Tuesday, would not help them reach out. Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, Ga., said the distinction between calling homosexuality a disordered inclination and insisting that gay people are not disordered would be lost on gay men and lesbians.

“I think that is quite reasonable for the heterosexual, but for the person with the inclination it will be very hard to accept,” Bishop Boland told the conference. “To apply it pastorally can be quite difficult.”

I see no hope for gay Catholics as a result of Papa Ratzi’s rule, only more angst and grief. The church is slipping into a moral, illogical hole as it turns up the hate machine on homos. BTW, the bishops are going after the hets as well, redoubling efforts to communicate to you fornicators out there about the church’s ban on the use of artificial contraception.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the gathering took up the matter of authorizing more funding to study the clergy sex abuse crisis. Good god.

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N.C. Baptist delegates approve anti-gay policy

An update from yesterday’s post. The Baptists followed through on their promise to demonize queer people. The vote at the Baptist State Convention occurred today. (N&O;):

The vote changes the convention’s long-standing laws, which previously only required its members to support the convention through cooperation and financial contributions. Now any churches that “knowingly act to affirm, approve, endorse, promote, support or bless homosexual behavior” will be barred from membership.

“This action does not mean that you should avoid ministry to the homosexual community,” said convention executive director Milton Hollifield Jr. “Even though we believe that homosexuality is wrong, we still love and engage those in this lifestyle.”

…Sixteen churches in North Carolina will come under immediate scrutiny under the policy, Jameson said. Those churches are associated with the Alliance of Baptists, a Washington D.C.-based group that welcomes gays as equal members. They contribute just $185,000 to the Convention’s $36 million budget, Jameson said.

The Alliance of Baptists said the new policy is stronger than a similar policy adopted by the Nashville, Tenn.-based Southern Baptist Convention – the nation’s largest Protestant organization. The Southern Baptists changed their constitution in 1993 to say that “churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior” are not eligible for membership.

“But the Southern Baptist Convention didn’t go around trying to meddle with and investigate churches,” said Jeanette Holt, associate director for The Alliance of Baptists. “This new policy sounds to me like an interfering witch hunt.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding