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Posts tagged ‘Homosexuality and Roman Catholic priests’

UN Panel Says Vatican Enables Sex Predators to Repeat Crimes.


A United Nations committee decried the Vatican’s response to sexual abuse of children by its clergy, saying the Holy See has allowed alleged predators to strike again because it was more concerned about itself than the victims.

“In dealing with child victims of different forms of abuse, the Holy See has systematically placed preservation of the reputation of the church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims,” the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said in a report released today. The Vatican in response reiterated “its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child” according to church teaching.

The committee’s report increases expectations on Pope Francis, who has won praise in his first 11 months in office for encouraging dialogue on social issues. The Roman Catholic leader was urged to break what the panel characterized as church practice of harboring sex offenders, retaliating against witnesses and condoning ritualized beatings.

“The committee notes as positive the willingness expressed by the delegation of the Holy See to change attitudes and practices,” the panel said. It “looks forward to the adoption of prompt and firm measures for the concrete implementation of its commitments.”

Benedict XVI

The findings take into account a Vatican report presented to the panel in January 2013, when the church was led by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Francis, 77, has been hailed as a potential reformer after the final years of Benedict’s reign, which ended a year ago with his resignation. The Argentine pontiff has taken on money laundering at the Vatican bank, signaled an easing of the church’s traditional stance against homosexuality and repeatedly spoken up about the injustice of income inequality.

The church’s decades-long struggle with child molestation, which the UN panel said has claimed tens of thousands of victims worldwide, may be the biggest problem inherited by Francis. The Vatican, while saying it would submit the UN panel’s report to “thorough study,” signaled it will contest at least some of the findings.

‘Gravely Concerned’

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed,” the UN panel said. The church “has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” it said.

A “code of silence” has been imposed on clergy in cases of child sex abuse, and nuns and priests have been demoted and let go for stepping out of line, the committee said. It called for transparency and cooperation with law enforcement and victims organizations.

The UN panel called for the Holy See to provide family planning information to minors and make HIV and AIDS a mandatory part of Catholic school curriculum, the panel said. Corporal punishment, which it said has “reached endemic levels in certain countries,” must be banned.

Vatican Response

The Holy See does “regret to see in some points of the concluding observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom,” the Vatican said in its e- mailed response. It didn’t specify which points it objected to.

Mothers who bear the children of priests should no longer be required to sign confidentiality agreements in exchange for financial support, the UN panel said.

The church may be moving in the right direction as it reviews withdrawing references to “illegitimate children” from its law, the panel said. Francis was also recognized for his “progressive statement” in July, when the pontiff addressed the issue of homosexuality.

Still, the committee said past church comments on homosexuality contribute to stigmatization and violence against gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents.

The panel recommended the Vatican “promptly abolish the discriminatory classification of children born out of wedlock as illegitimate children,” it said. “The committee also urges the Holy See to make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation.”

Catholic Voices

Catholic Voices, a U.K.-based blog that comments on media coverage of the church, criticized the report and said dozens of incarcerated priests and millions of dollars in compensation paid to victims undermine the findings. It also argued that the decentralized nature of the church renders the systematic training recommended by the committee impracticable.

“The committee has shown itself to be a kangaroo court,” according to the blog. The findings were produced “by adopting the mythical framework peddled by victims’ advocacy groups and lawyers, and ignoring the evidence put to it by the Holy See.”

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

 

Street Preacher Arrested for Preaching Homosexuality Is a Sin.


 

Tony Miano
Tony Miano was arrested after a woman complained that he had spoken about sexual sin. (Courtesy of Cross Encounters)

A Christian street evangelist was arrested last week on a charge of alleged breach of peace with “homophobic” aggravation after a woman complained that he had spoken about sexual sin.

Tony Miano, a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, was part of a street preaching team holding a weeklong mission in Scotland. He was remanded in custody overnight Wednesday and later released on bail to appear before Dundee Sheriff’s Court on April 22.

Miano was the second of the street pastors to address lunchtime shoppers in Dundee High Street. He talked about the nature of sin—about the different sins that Jesus had come to save people from when a woman began to shout at him. He was preaching about sin in general and when he mentioned sexual sin including adultery, promiscuity and homosexual practice, the woman shouted that her son was gay.

Miano’s colleague, pastor Josh Williamson of the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, who was present at the incident explains: “Tony wasn’t focussing just on homosexual practice—it was about all sin. A woman was yelling at him and her friend noticed we were filming the preaching, so she ran up to me and tried to smash my camera.”

He says the first woman then appeared to be calling the police on her mobile just as a council warden came along and said that while we were doing nothing wrong, and had the right to free speech, we should move on.

Miano finished his preaching in a few minutes and as the street preachers packed up two police officers arrived. At this point Williamson says the women shouted that they would get the preachers arrested.

“The female officer saw we had a camera and lunged for it and then the male policeman grabbed it and threw it in the police van,” says Williamson.

He says the male officer interviewed the women and then immediately arrested Miano, but did not question him or explain why he was being arrested.

“After Tony was put in the police van I asked why he was being arrested and was told it was for a breach of the peace and for using homophobic language,” Williamson explains.

Miano appeared before the Sheriff’s Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded “not guilty.” He has been bailed to appear for trial at Dundee Sheriff’s Court on April 22 but is free to return to his home in the United States.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, says the incident raises serious questions about police procedure and understanding of the law in dealing with such incidents.

“This appears to be an overzealous reaction by the police. The incident, adds to the number of arrests of Christian street evangelists for preaching from the Bible. It is indicative of the suppression of the freedom to speak  and live out the words of Jesus Christ in public and present the teachings of the Bible,” says Andrea.

“At the Christian Legal Centre we are committed to helping people to continue to preach the gospel in our nation.”

Miano was arrested in July last year, in London, for alleged “homophobic” comments. The case was dropped.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

ANN CARROLL

Catholic Church Grapples With Openly Gay Priests.


Gary M. Meier
The Rev. Gary M. Meier, author of the book, ‘Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay Catholic Priest,’ speaks during a recent event on May 21, 2013, at UMSL. (Michael K. Butler Sr./UMSL)

On the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Rev. Gary Meier addressed a congregation of sorts–people who wanted to hear what the Roman Catholic priest had been thinking since, nearly a year ago, he last stood before a flock.

That was last June, when Meier told his parishioners at Saints Teresa and Bridget Church in north St. Louis that he would take a leave of absence “to discern what ministry God was calling me to do.”

Meier, 49, had told his archbishop that he could no longer teach the Catholic church’s stance on homosexuality.

“I have tried over the years to reconcile my silence as a gay priest with that of the Church’s increasingly anti-gay stance. I have been unsuccessful,” Meier writes in his book “Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest.”

“I was hopeful that I could find a way to have integrity while remaining part of a hierarchy that is anti-gay—I was unsuccessful.”

Meier originally published the book anonymously in 2011. But last week, he republished it with his own name on the cover. He’s now studying for a master’s degree in counseling at UMSL.

Since his public declaration of his sexual orientation, he has received much support on his Facebook page, Meier told his UMSL audience of 80 or so parishioners, priests, former priests and gay-rights activists. One woman, though, scolded him for accusing the church of a “lack of love.”

“That’s not at all what I’m saying,” said Meier. “But I am accusing the church of a lack of tolerance and acceptance.”

In doing so, he is risking his priesthood, while also drawing attention to the church’s stance on homosexuality and gay priests.

Priests in active ministry rarely state their sexual orientation, in part because it’s supposed to be beside the point for men who have taken lifetime vows of celibacy. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large at America magazine, says there are only two or three priests in the U.S. who have said publicly that they are homosexual.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of celibate gay priests working in the Catholic church today who are beloved by their parishioners,” Martin said. “And there are a number of reasons why almost all of them feel unable to be honest. They are either uncomfortable themselves, or they’re told specifically by their superiors not to talk about it.”

Meier’s decision to go public came, he said, after watching the church’s position harden over the last decade.

“My position is that our teaching is causing harm,” he said in an interview.

The church does not have an official position on gay priests, but bishops in the past have mostly argued that celibacy is celibacy and a good priest is a good priest.

In 2005, the Vatican issued new guidelines barring men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” from being considered for the priesthood. In 2009, a Vatican probe of U.S. seminaries that was ordered after the clergy sex abuse scandal concluded that “difficulties” related to “homosexual behavior” have been largely “overcome.”

The catechism of the Roman Catholic Church calls homosexual acts “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” because they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” But the catechism also says that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

Speaking at UMSL, he said he believed the bishops’ teaching on homosexuality had been a contributing factor in growing suicide rates among gay teenagers.

“We ought to own some of that,” he said. “The church’s hard line against homosexuality causes that kind of damage.”

The St. Louis Archdiocese did not respond to a request for comment about Meier’s book, but Archbishop Robert Carlson released a statement saying that Meier, “as a man who experiences same-sex attraction,” had “an opportunity to be an example and mentor to Catholics in the archdiocese who struggle with the same feelings.”

“Whether he will seize this opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Life, which offers the truth about the beauty and sanctity of human sexuality, is entirely within his control,” Carlson said.

Meier, who recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of his ordination, said his sexuality had never been a secret to his family and friends. He said that when he was interviewed during the screening process at Kenrick Seminary, he answered truthfully to the six interviewers (of nine, total) who asked about his sexual orientation and history. When they asked him if he believed he could be celibate, he answered, “I think so.”

The priest now says that his only relationship is “with the people of God,” and that he’s been faithful to his vows. “Celibacy is a rule the church imposes on its clergy. It’s always part of the package,” he said. “This is not about celibacy.”

The question for Meier—the question all his friends and family have been asking since he put his name on the book’s cover—is, “What now?”

Meier said he would like to remain a priest, but he knows that’s unlikely.

“To be a priest and active in ministry, you can’t say what I’m saying,” he said in answer to a question at the UMSL event. “I don’t think I’ll be getting any more paychecks from the archdiocese.”

The Rev. John Beal, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America, said that if a priest rejected the idea that “homosexual acts are gravely immoral, that would be a reason they can’t continue in ministry, because they’re dissenting from the teaching of the church.”

If Carlson finds anything in Meier’s book that contradicts church teaching, Meier could be suspended from ministry, and his license to act as a Catholic priest could be removed.

Meier already has, in essence, removed himself from ministry. In an act of solidarity with gay Catholics against the church’s teaching, he has refrained from administering the sacraments since taking a leave of absence. Recently he elected not to celebrate his aunt’s funeral Mass.

In his book, Meier said he had to go public as a matter of personal integrity.

“I see my speaking out as an act of love toward a community which was born of God’s radical inclusivity,” he wrote.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

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