The future of the Catholic Church is female.
At 32, novice Maria Anna Dela Paz is the youngest sister in her congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, by about 20 years. She was drawn to the community’s Franciscan charism and its emphasis on human rights and social justice advocacy, but she says, “I didn’t ever think there were people like me who were discerning.”
New Ways Ministry's retreat for LGBT religious reminds Catholics that all are welcome in the church.
In October the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin hosted a spiritual retreat for gay priests and deacons. The retreat, sponsored by New Ways Ministry, was intended to deepen relationships and spiritual understanding among a group of clergy and vowed religious who often face misunderstanding and stereotypes.
Here, Jesuit Father James Martin talks to U.S. Catholic about why supporting LGBT clergy and religious matters for the future of the Catholic Church.
Where does the church stand on the dignity of LGBTQ workers?
Two years ago, on a chilly spring Saturday in Chicago, I found myself sitting in a conference room in an airport hotel as one of the speakers for a panel discussion during a weekend symposium. In many respects the gathering was indistinguishable from dozens of professional conferences in which I’d participated during my career as an environmental engineer.
But this symposium was for LGBTQ Catholics, and I was there to share my experiences as a Catholic deacon and the father of a 23-year-old transgender woman. My daughter was there to participate in the session as well.
Stonewall’s lasting legacy is the conviction that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual expression, are equally human.
The Stonewall Inn of New York sits in a quiet part of an often bustling city. Its interior and exterior are rather nondescript. Other than a commemorative plaque in an adjoining small park, there is nothing that marks its historical significance. Yet events here 50 years ago are regarded as the catalytic beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
The church can ill-afford to be so discouraging toward women.
“We are Catholics, but if any of you want to found another church you are free to go.”
Pope Francis was responding to a religious woman’s question at the May 10 meeting of the International Union of Superiors General in Rome. The question asked about Francis’ recent announcement that a theological commission examining whether women should become deacons had not reached a definitive conclusion, rendering the issue effectively dead for the moment. “In the case of the diaconate, we have to see what was there at the beginning of revelation,” the pope told her.
Church teachings give parents conflicting messages about the best balance between work and family.
“Havoc” may best describe the lives of many Midwestern families this winter, as Mother Nature brought unrelenting wind, rain, snow, ice, and record-setting chills. For families like mine, balancing professional lives, parenting, and maintaining a household are demanding enough without becoming the object of nature’s merciless torments. Nonetheless, despite all the challenges that the conflicting demands of work and family introduce in our lives, this living on the edge of chaos is exactly what we chose. Most American parents want to work beyond the household, and most are doing so.
A deacon’s personal account of parenting a transgender child.
Fifty years ago this year, the church restored the permanent diaconate, opening the doors to married clergy who brought and continue to bring with them all the joys, sorrows, and complexities of family life to ordained ministry. In the case of my family, that included first-hand experience with LGBT people. In the fall of 2013, at the beginning of our oldest child’s sophomore year at Georgetown University, she came out as transgender. With that news, my family found itself plunged into questions and issues that surround families of faith with LGBT children.
Righteous anger brings hope, not despair.
On election night 2016, hands full of dirty dinner dishes, I tripped over a slightly ajar cabinet door and fell hard on my left knee, my right leg overextended at an ugly angle behind me. Two friends ran in to assist me when they heard the plates clatter to the floor. They propped me up against the refrigerator, immobilized with a bag of frozen peas on my knee, while they watched the returns in the next room, and I listened in disbelief as what I’d thought was impossible happened. The phrase “adding insult to injury” comes to mind.
Nothing, says this scholar of women’s ordination in the early church.
The confusion remains. One priest, a convert to Catholicism, wrote me recently: “It seems somewhat disingenuous for an expert in women’s ordination to the diaconate to then insist that there is no connection with women priests.”
Scripture scholar Barbara Reid says women have something powerful to offer when interpreting the Bible.
Scripture scholar and Dominican Sister Barbara Reid took her first Bible course when she was a junior in college. It was an elective. “I was just so amazed at how it opened up a whole world for me,” she says. “I was also a little angry and thought, ‘Why didn’t anyone ever teach me anything about the Bible?’ ”