The new diocesan outreach ministry to the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community has now held its first Masses in York.
Some 60 participants travelled from across the diocese for the first Mass. Catholic members of the LGBT+ community were joined by their families, friends and supporters and Christians from other denominations.
All gathered in the hidden chapel of York’s historic Bar Convent, at the kind invitation of the Sisters of the Congregation of Jesus. It was noted in the words of welcome that the Bar Convent has a long history of offering sanctuary and began its life to support minorities suffering persecution by civil and religious authorities.
The presider at Mass was Father Tony Lester, who is working to establish this ministry in our diocese at the request of Bishop Terry, who sent good wishes for the launch. Father Tony was joined on the altar by Canon John Lumley and Deacon Peter Warren, together with Deacon Nick Baggio, from the Diocese of Leeds.
Mass began with a Litany of Welcome, reminding those present that all people have a place in the Christian community because all belong to Jesus Christ, and it is his table the Church gathers around at the Eucharist. It is God who counts us worthy and the welcome the Church makes visible is God’s welcome to all in Christ.
The readers included a human rights defender from Kenya who is spending six months at the University of York as a “protected fellow”, because as an LGBT activist his life is in danger at home. While in Britain he is learning ways to reduce the risks to his life and to network with fellow human rights defenders.
Sadly, his baptismal and confirmation papers were publicly torn up by his parish priest in Kenya because of the work he was doing. Father Tony acknowledged that for many LGBT+ people their experience of Church is marked by pain. Pope Francis has said this is something for which Christians need to apologise.
After Mass the congregation socialised over refreshments and people shared stories of their journey. Among the experiences shared was that of a young man who stopped attending Mass as a teenager, not because he had lost his faith but because he felt his parish community would not accept him. He was very pleased at the launch of the new ministry, which he felt gave him the opportunity to start attending Mass again.
Those who attended the launch were asked how they would like to see this ministry develop in the future. It was agreed that a Mass with an explicit welcome to the LGBT+ community, families and friends would be celebrated at the Bar Convent on the second Sunday of each month at 3pm. In time, a rotation of priests will preside at these Masses and the community that gathers will develop a broader programme that is spiritual, social and supportive.
For further information, visit lgbtmiddlesbroughcatholic.org.uk or facebook.com/lgbtcatholic.
Is there any diocese in the UK which is standing against the all-pervasive influence, if not domination, of the LGBT industry? If so, name that diocese – please! Hope springs eternal!
HUMAN eggs have been fully grown in a laboratory for the first time, in a breakthrough that could lead to improved fertility treatments.
Scientists have grown egg cells, which were removed from ovary tissue at their earliest stage of development, to the point at which they are ready to be fertilised.
The advance could safeguard the fertility of girls with cancer ahead of potentially harmful medical treatment, such as chemotherapy.
Immature eggs recovered from patients’ ovarian tissue could be matured in the lab and stored for later fertilisation…
The study, carried out in collaboration with the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, The Center for Human Reproduction in New York and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, was supported by the Medical Research Council. It was published in Molecular Human Reproduction.
Professor Evelyn Telfer, of the School of Biological Sciences, who led the research, said: “Being able to fully develop human eggs in the lab could widen the scope of available fertility treatments. Click here to read the entire report.
On his Facebook page (screenshot above) Bishop John Keenan, Diocese of Paisley writes: “As far as I can see this is a potentially excellent breakthrough in fertility science. In principle, it is a great development if a woman’s eggs could be matured and made viable in vitro provided they could be re-implanted into her in readiness for fertilisation through the normal marital act. Obviously, this is quite different from IVF.
I have always presumed that ferility treatment meant treatment that made the woman fertile per se. These sorts of laboratory “test-tube” treatments do not appear to “cure” the woman’s infertility, merely find a way to by-pass it on a particular occasion. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll be pleased to be corrected.
Otherwise, I’m afraid, I question why a Bishop would welcome such scientific means of achieving conception, instead of reminding us all that if we can’t get what we want, whether material goods or a baby, we must accept that, with holy resignation, as God’s will. That was the attitude I heard from relatives who, sadly disappointed, were unable to have children. “Not to be” are words we seldom hear these days, with little to no encouragement from the average pulpit to accept this disappointment as, for His own inscrutable purposes, part of God’s plan for our salvation, His holy will. Or perhaps you think that’s pie-in-the-sky theobabble?
A friend rang me last night to say he’d attended a Summorum Pontificum Traditional Mass and found himself chatting afterwards with a couple who were not husband and wife, but “partners” … My friend was downhearted, dispirited that even the better priests seem to be willing to tolerate such scandals.
Then this from The American Conservative: “The president of the German Bishops’ Conference has declared that, in his view, Catholic priests can conduct blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples.”
The list of scandalous words and actions from this current shocking pope, or tolerated by him, grows day and daily. Too much to list here – and anyway, would, more likely than not, be out of date before I press the “publish” button on this page.
There is no lack of evidence that Pope Francis is a danger to Catholic Faith and Morals. Quite the reverse – there’s an abundance of evidence. Even as I type this, a report has come in questioning the pope’s integrity – would he blatantly impart falsehoods, we have to ask? Click here to answer that for yourself.
The question is, why are the supposedly concerned bishops who allegedly oppose him remaining silent – such as Cardinal Burke and the Captain and Crew of the Lifeboat SSPX? Why no sense of urgency? Why have they all gone to ground?
It’s one thing to pick one’s fights, but not to fight at all? Take a few minutes to view the short video in the News section of the Dici website here. Who, on this earth, would ever imagine that the Church is suffering the worst crisis ever in its entire history, watching that broadcast? Lovely reports, sure, but there’s been nothing about any attempt to fight as members of the Church Militant, under our banner as Soldiers of Christ, in any of the recent videos posted on Dici in January, which I’ve viewed with surprise and disappointment. This latest one, linked above, dated 2nd February, is no different. Plenty of devotional content, suggesting the danger of becoming so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly use.
What should the supposed opponents of this dreadful pontificate be doing, in addition to prayer. Concrete action, surely – but what, precisely?
It is not an overstatement to say that the time of the Trump presidency has been one of protracted struggle between the national administration and most of the media. To be sure, the press and the electronic media have faced off with presidential administrations for a long time. Actually, the press has had their political and ideological biases since the beginning of the Republic. After all, weren’t the Federalist Papers originally articles in newspapers that wanted to support the proposed U.S. Constitution and influence the crucial ratification debate in New York State? Don’t historians write about how “yellow journalism” helped lead to the Spanish-American War? Still, when one looks at the behavior of the media in recent decades, the argument can easily be made that as far as concerns political bias, lack of concern for fairness and objectivity, separating out reporting from commentary, a willingness to dig for the facts instead of just reporting what someone claims, journalistic professionalism, and even attention to whether something reported on actually even happened, we are at a historic low.
While Republicans have probably borne the brunt of harsh presidential media treatment since LBJ, the level of vituperativeness directed at Trump is perhaps unparalleled—even surpassing what Nixon, who was known for his long chilly relationship with the press, faced. Certainly, the media’s unremitting pounding of Trump, beginning even well before Inauguration Day, is unprecedented in these recent decades. Some might say that Trump has invited it, with many questions about his background before coming into office, the attention to the ongoing investigation of “collusion” with Russia during the campaign (although this may actually be an example of the “fake news” that the president criticizes), and Trump’s constant sniping at the media with his regular barrage of tweets. Still, it’s hard to make the case that the media has given any breathing room to Trump anywhere along the way.
Most people would probably say that a president is justified in calling out the media and challenging their misconduct. Other presidential administrations have done it, although probably not as regularly and publicly as this one—nor has the president himself usually been the point man, as is the case with Trump. Despite plenty of grounds to challenge the media, Trump was recently attacked in a manner that surely seemed “over the top” by two senators from his own party. Senator Jeff Flake, who has repeatedly tussled with Trump, first conceded that presidents can surely criticize the press but then equated Trump’s actions with Stalin and seemed to suggest that the media can almost unquestionably be relied upon to present the truth. Flake’s fellow Arizonan, Senator John McCain, who has also had a strained relationship with the president, wrote an op-ed arguing that Trump’s criticism of the press is having the dangerous effect of discrediting it and so was emboldening foreign despots to suppress journalists.
All the while, Trump has not threatened the press with anything like censorship, or prior restraint as in the Pentagon Papers case, or imposing a special tax on oppositional newspapers like Huey Long did, or imprisoning journalists as various judges have done for not revealing their sources. Neither senator had much to say about journalistic responsibility or about whether the media—and what we’re mostly talking about here is the mainstream or “big” media—has in fact been discrediting itself by its actions, the most egregious of which has been reporting on stories that have no factual basis (“fake news”).
One wonders if the senators have any sense about the need to confront adversaries, even when they royally deserve it. Their response to Trump was a particularly striking example of what the Republican “establishment” in Washington has been consistently criticized for: routinely conceding to the other side, a “go-along, get-along” attitude that results in the left advancing its agenda even when it loses elections.
The strikingly uncritical and almost apologetic attitude about the media of Senators Flake and McCain is not something that Catholics should countenance, whether or not they like Trump’s approach or manner—that is, if they think he doesn’t act in a way that is “presidential”—or even if they think he carries it too far. Untruthfulness and wrongdoing—and imperviousness to propounding untruth certainly qualifies as wrongdoing—need to be challenged. Let’s remember how Christ had little reluctance about confronting the errant Jewish authorities of his time and that admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy. It’s especially necessary for top leadership to do it—both for the greater effect they can have and to inspire others to do the same in their own little arenas. Recall what St. Thomas Aquinas said about how those who rule set the norms for their people.
Moreover, when we talk about the media and calling it to responsibility, Catholics need to be particularly attentive to what the Church has said about this. In his social encyclical, Pacem in Terris, Pope St. John XXIII set out his famous listing of human rights and stressed that rights always have corresponding duties. So, while there is a right to express and communicate one’s opinions, to freedom of speech and publication—which certainly includes people acting in the context of the formal organs of communication, like the news media—the people on the receiving end have “the right to be informed truthfully about public events” (#12).
Vatican II’s Inter Mirifica (The Decree on the Means of Social Communication) stresses that while the media has rights it also has the duty to uphold the moral law, which certainly includes the obligation to report truthfully so that this right of people, the citizenry, to be truthfully informed is realized. It also asserts that civil authorities have a duty “to ensure … that public morality and social progress are not greatly endangered through misuse of these media” (#11-12). The Church here is not saying that government should or that it’s desirable for it to impose censorship, or even that it’s mostly government that should be the vehicle to promote this grave journalistic responsibility. She just says that government has or may have a role of some kind in this. That, of course, may involve nothing more than “setting the record straight” or challenging the media when it puts out false or biased information.
Recently, Pope Francis scored the media’s reporting of “fake news,” saying it always has bad effects, and emphasized the obligation of journalists to report the truth.
From a Catholic standpoint, then, while Trump’s confronting the media about ideological bias, reporting “fake news,” and the like may not be elegant and may even seem excessive sometimes, it is warranted as a means of prodding then to act rightly and be more responsible. As such, it certainly may help the cause of promoting the common good. While scrutiny and challenges of the media’s errant practices should come from many sources, to be sure, when the highest American public authority is willing to take it on it especially highlights the problems and may have the most effect. Again, as St. Thomas said, rulers or leaders shape the course of things. Further, the way Trump is doing it is entirely in line with American constitutional principles. Contrary to what Senators Flake and McCain may think, the First Amendment is in no way being trodden upon. [Stephen M. Krason: A Catholic Reaction to Trump and the Media]
As the proud pro-abortion, pro-LGBT rights leader of a country with, as I keep reminding everyone, the values of a progressive, liberal democracy, I’m
stunned delighted to be asked to mark the Centenary of the Catholic Education Scotland Act 1918 and the partnership between the Catholic Church and the State in Scotland in the provision of education to our young people in Catholic schools.
And this partnership is working very successfully, with Catholic schools in Scotland now providing safe spaces for LGBT pupils. Of course, we’ve a way to go. I believe Catholic schools in England are now allowing gender neutral uniforms, with one pupil making “their” First Communion in a white trouser suit because that child now wishes to identify as a boy. I’ve not heard of any similar cases in Scotland but maybe Scottish Catholic schools will, er, follow suit, to so speak, soon, not to fall behind in the progressive, liberal stakes.
Abortion is still a bit of a hot potato in the Church, I know. Still, now that the truly wonderfully progressive and liberal Pope Francis has given a pontifical honour to the internationally acclaimed Dutch abortion activist, Liliane Ploumen, it’s only a matter of time before we can get those pro-abortion, pro-contraception posters into every Catholic classroom.
And, of course, we’ll have our
spies Named Persons in place by that time, supervising parents and dealing with those reactionaries who don’t like living in a progressive, liberal Church. So, thank you for inviting me to give this prestigious lecture. I knew we were making progress but I’d no idea you were already so stupid enlightened as to invite someone who is not a Catholic and who is, in fact, completely committed to progressive, secular, liberal values to speak on the subject of Catholic education. Oh, and I mustn’t forget to congratulate the Catholic sector on your excellent exam results. The pupils DO learn arithmetic, reading and writing and that is absolutely praiseworthy. Well done!
Thank you, all especially Bishop Keenan for his support for my invitation to address you all here today. Oh and, er, if there IS a God, may he (or she) go with you!
Obviously, the above “leak” is no such thing. It’s our satirical take on the disgraceful invitation from those running Catholic Education in Scotland to a wholly “liberal” politician, who has not a scintilla of interest in supporting Catholic schools. The fact is, if Catholic schools were doing their job, the First Minister would have made her excuses to decline the invite. It’s only because they are failing as Catholic schools that (a) she would be invited in the first place and (2) she could agree to give the Cardinal Winning Lecture. At least one bishop – John Keenan of Paisley – supports this year’s choice of speaker. Click here to read more, vote in the poll below, and then share your thoughts…
A young boy was beaten black and blue after catching two nuns in an embrace, an inquiry has heard. A witness said he was six or seven when one of the nuns went “mental” and lashed out at him in a boiler-room at a care institution in the 1960s.
He told Scotland’s child abuse inquiry the “vicious” assault left him bruised and with blood coming out of his ear and nose. The witness, who cannot be identified, was speaking of his experiences at Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark, which closed in the 1980s. He said he moved to the orphanage, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, in the mid-1960s and was never given any love, affection or praise from the nuns and staff.
Physical abuse in the form of slaps and kicks was routine “for trivial stuff”, he told the hearing in Edinburgh. Read entire report by clicking here
Reading some of the horrendous allegations from former orphans at Smyllum Park is earth-shattering. If even some of these allegations are true then nobody in their right mind would seek to justify such abuse in any way whatsoever.
However, it would be mindless to presume guilt, not least because, if such apparently unbridled brutality were the norm at that institution, all sorts of grave questions arise, beginning with what sort of women were choosing to enter the Religious Life and why?
Anyone who has taken even a cursory glance at the Rule of any of the great Religious Orders knows that prior to the “reforms” of Vatican II which followed the Council at its close in 1965, they were renowned for their strictness. Not only the enclosed, contemplative Orders, but the active Orders, such as the Daughters of Charity, were bound by detailed rules throughout their daily lives. Permissions were required from Superiors for every little thing, and the idea that two Sisters could find a corner to engage in physical or sexual activity in a boiler room or anywhere else, just beggars belief. That’s not to say it didn’t happen. Obviously, I don’t know, and these allegations do date from the 1960’s when laxity in the Religious Orders as elsewhere, had taken a foothold.
That still leaves the question of the sort of women choosing Religious Life, and their motivation. Were our Religious Houses jam-packed with evil women who detested children and enjoyed inflicting pain and suffering such as that described by former orphans at Smyllum – or, again, assuming the truth of the allegations, is there another explanation, beyond the obvious diabolical activity at work in the souls of the guilty? And were there no postulants or novices who left before final vows in disgust to report this scandal to the Bishop, let alone the police? Surely not every nun was immersed in such evil and brutality. Those are the first questions that came to my mind on reading about the Smyllum scandal. What are the questions you’d want answered?