Tagged: Catholic Church

Pro-LGBT Catholics Confront Anti-Gay Bishop

JeannineGramickLast Friday in Phoenix, Arizona, Thomas Paprocki — the infamously homophobic bishop of Springfield, Illinois — spoke about marriage equality alongside LGBT rights hero Sr. Jeannine Gramick, providing the “con” to Sr. Gramick’s “pro.”

The event, called “Two Catholic Views of Gay Marriage,” was organized by author, journalist, and Catholicism expert Robert Blair Kaiser and hosted by Shadow Rock United Church of Christ. About 150 people — most of them pro-equality Catholics, and many of them parents of LGBT children — attended.

According to the National Catholic Reporter and Sr. Gramick’s New Ways Ministry, Paprocki was in attack mode from the very beginning, blasting the “gay activist lobby” in his opening remarks and callously citing the murder of Matthew Shepard as evidence of alleged pro-LGBT bias in the media:

Paprocki told the audience that the murder of his former church secretary, Mary Stachowicz, whose killer was a gay man, got little media attention compared to the 1998 homicide of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen killed in a hate crime. Paprocki said the power of the gay lobby and favorable media reaction accounted for the difference.

Take a couple deep breaths before continuing on — I know I needed to after reading such repugnant remarks. (Earth to Tommy: if you’re trying to come across as loving and compassionate, pretty much the worst thing you can do is verbally urinate on the grave of a hate crime victim. In fact, I’m pretty sure that makes you a vile human being.)

The prelate also warned the audience that if marriage equality is legalized, sexual activities like sadomasochism will be allowed too. (Earth to Tommy, volume II: those activities are already happening.) Bp. Paprocki condescended to Sr. Gramick, stating that her position was an “emotional” one while his position came from a place of “faith and reason.” “My position is not a question of anecdotal stories,” he said. (Earth to Tommy, volume III: seriously, turn down the smarmy misogyny.)

Sr. Gramick, by contrast, spoke about her personal change of heart on LGBT issues, which led to a decades-long career of challenging institutional Catholic bigotry, and about the widespread support for equality among lay Catholics.

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German Cardinal: Women Should Stay at Home, Have Babies

cardinal_meisnerIn an interview last week with the German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung, Cardinal Joachim Meisner — Archbishop of Cologne and the leader of German Catholicism’s conservative wing — said that the country should focus less on immigration and more on procreation in addressing its declining birthrate.

Criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of encouraging foreigners to come to Germany as guest workers, Meisner said,

Where are women really publicly encouraged to stay at home and have three or four children? One should intervene here and not – as Mrs Merkel does currently – present immigration as the solution to our demographic problem.

We cannot take the young people away from Portugal and Spain and thus rob their countries of their future just out of egotism. We should train these unemployed people and offer them perspectives, but then allow them to return home where they are needed. [emphasis added]

Translation: the German government should encourage women to leave their careers and become broodmares for the state.

Eesh. Call me crazy, but hearing nativist motherhood propaganda from the mouth of a high-profile German gives me the creeps, especially because this same prelate previously compared abortion in that country with the Holocaust. Seriously.

Originally published at the Bilerico Project.

NY’s Cardinal Dolan Pays for Birth Control, Abortion

Head in HandsI spotted a surprising headline while perusing yesterday’s edition of the New York Times: “New York Archdiocese Paying to Insure Birth Control.”

Being a former Catholic myself — as well as someone who follows and blogs extensively about the political activities of the American Catholic hierarchy on this site and several others — I was already well aware that many Catholic dioceses around the country currently offer insurance plans covering women’s reproductive care, including contraception services, despite the Catholic Church officially prohibiting them.

But surely, I thought, Dolan’s diocese would be different. After all, he’s the most visible Catholic leader in America and the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Not only that, the Cardinal is currently suing the Obama administration over the mandate in the new health reform law requiring employers to offer contraception coverage in their health plans. One would think that Dolan would have found a way to either stop covering contraception in his own diocese or explain the glaring inconsistency before launching such a high-profile assault on the expansion of health care (which, by the way, the Catholic Church supports).

Nope: the Times has just discovered that the Archdiocese of New York currently and “quietly” pays for a union health plan that covers contraception and even abortion services for workers at “affiliated nursing homes and clinics,” and has done so for over a decade. Continue reading

Video of the Day: Pakman Discusses French Anti-Equality Protest Suicide

dominique_vennerIn case you missed it, the iconic cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was evacuated on Tuesday after Dominique Venner, a 78-year-old far-right Catholic activist, shot himself in the mouth in front of the altar as a protest against France’s new marriage equality law. Hundreds of tourists in the packed cathedral witnessed the grisly event.

Hours before he took his life, Venner published a homophobic, Islamophobic post on his blog denouncing the new law as “detestable” and condemning Islamic immigration from north Africa. (Venner did see a silver lining to an Islamist takeover of France, however: a hypothetical Islamist government would repeal marriage equality.) He also made reference to a planned May 26 protest against the law, writing:

It is not nice enough to organize street protests to prevent [marriage equality]… It certainly will require new, spectacular, and symbolic actions to wake up the sleep walkers, shake the anaesthetized consciousness, and awaken the memory of our origins. We are entering a time when words must be authenticated by acts.

And Venner made what seemed to be an ominous allusion to the symbolic action he planned to take later that day:

It is here and now that our destiny is played until the final second. And this final second has as much importance as the rest of a life. That is why we need to be ourselves until the very last instant.

I spoke with progressive talk-show phenom David Pakman yesterday about Venner’s suicide. (Side note: if you’re not yet familiar with Pakman’s nationally syndicated political talk radio and TV program, The David Pakman Show, you’ll want to be.) In the interview, Pakman wonders whether self-loathing homophobia may have fueled Venner’s extreme anti-gay hatred.

Watch: Continue reading

BREAKING: Far-Right Catholic Activist Commits Suicide in Notre Dame Cathedral Over Same-Sex Marriage

notre_dame_cathedralAccording to multiple sources, the iconic cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was evacuated today after a far-right Catholic activist went to the altar and shot himself in the mouth. The suicide, which was witnessed by hundreds of tourists, appears to have been a protest against same-sex marriage.

The UK’s Daily Mail reports:

The Cathedral was full of visitors when the horrific incident took place, at around 4pm.

‘There was screaming and lot so shouting following a loud bang,’ said one witness. ‘People were naturally very scared and began to run out in panic.

‘Police and other emergency workers including firemen got here very quickly, and then the whole cathedral was evacuated.’

Dominique Venner, age 78, was a well-known essayist and a former member of a paramilitary group known as the Secret Army Organization (OAS), which waged a bombing and assassination campaign in the early 1960s to protest France giving Algeria its independence.

dominique_vennerMr. Venner was also close to the anti-marriage equality movement and an outspoken critic of France’s new marriage equality law, which President François Hollande signed on Saturday. He made no verbal statement before he shot himself, but a letter was found on his person. The contents of Mr. Venner’s letter have not yet been released.

However, just before killing himself, Venner published a disturbing post on his blog today in which he gave a scathing critique of marriage equality and may have alluded to his suicidal intentions:

[Preventing marriage equality] certainly will require new, spectacular, and symbolic actions to wake up the sleep walkers, shake the anaesthetized consciousness, and awaken the memory of our origins. We are entering a time when words must be authenticated by acts…

It is here and now that our destiny is played until the final second. And this final second has as much importance as the rest of a life. That is why we need to be ourselves until the very last instant.

It seems that Mr. Venner chose to end his life so that he wouldn’t have to live to see the day when loving and committed same-sex couples in France are able to marry. What a tragedy, that others’ happiness would make this man want to die.

How profoundly sad. Mr. Venner’s family has my sympathies.

Catholic Bishops Becoming Increasingly Hysterical in Opposition to Marriage Equality

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 in June, and two new states enacting same-sex marriage legislation in the first few months of 2013 (with another potentially on the way), marriage equality in the United States is on the move.

RainbowCatholicWhile this is welcome news to equality-minded folks across the country, it’s decidedly bad news for America’s Catholic bishops, who are leading the crusade to exclude same-sex couples from legal civil marriage. It’s a battle they’re clearly losing, but as the bishops’ struggle against the tide of history becomes ever more exhausting, they’re taking a cue from their Anglican counterparts: their opposition is becoming increasingly hysterical.

In their latest anti-equality attack, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has prepared an insert that Catholic parishes across the country will place in their bulletins in May and June. They warn that a pro-fairness Supreme Court ruling (a broad negative ruling,” as they call it) could “redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of marriage.” [emphasis theirs] Continue reading

Cardinal Dolan to LGBTs: Wash Your Hands Before Entering My Church

Archbishop Timothy Dolan smiles during the Solemn Vespers ceremony for Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New YorkNew York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the American Catholic Church’s most outspoken homophobe, caused a stir last month when he acknowledged that the Church needs to be more “welcoming” to gays and lesbians. He then proceeded to denigrate loving and committed same-sex relationships as mere “friendships,” although this detail was largely overlooked in coverage of his remarks thanks to a misleading and overly optimistic New York Times headline.

Things got even more confusing at the end of April, when Dolan expounded on his “let’s welcome the gays” message in a jaw-droppingly arrogant blog post where he made clear that any such “welcome” would be conditional: only those who accept the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings could be truly welcomed into the fold, in the same way that children must wash their “dirty hands” before they can be welcomed to the dinner table.

Naturally, Dolan’s condescending comments provoked outrage among equality-minded Catholics. Last Sunday, a small group of them — LGBTs, straight allies, and parents of LGBT children — decided to see whether Dolan meant his remarks literally. They gathered a few blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, soiled their hands with ashes, and prepared to walk to the Cathedral for Sunday Mass. Their intention was to see whether or not they would be welcomed, and if they were, to be a peaceful, silent presence during the service in order to draw attention to the Cardinal’s exclusionary remarks and the marginalization experienced by LGBT Catholics.

How did Dolan respond? By calling out the New York Police Department to prohibit the group from entering the cathedral for Mass — unless they washed their hands. Continue reading