Catholics should have as lively a sense of the demands of the moral law relative to the economy as they do relative to sexuality or war. In the Middle Ages, it was taken for granted God’s law applied to the totality of life. The idea of a double standard of morality, with a strict code for private life and a minimum of moral obligation for business and public life, is an innovation based on philosophical and religious individualism of the eighteenth century. However far we are today from a Christian society or a Christian economy, the goal “to impress the divine law on the affairs of the earthly city” is always present.

A Catholic priest has been rebuked after performing a reading in his cousin’s same-sex wedding.

Rev. Michael DeVito, of Sacred Heart Church in Suffield, Conn., was called into his archbishop’s office after a wedding announcement in The New York Times mentioned that DeVito assisted in the August ceremony.

Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell “formally rebuked” DeVito for his participation in the New York wedding, a citation that will be part of his permanent record.

The thing about having something on your permanent record is, the facts may remain the same, but the meaning may change over time. I’m confident that what is considered a blot today will be a badge of honor in years to come. Write it in the record, I say. It will speak against those who wrote it soon enough.

"In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery. Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and we see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain: it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession — and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance."

— Mark Twain

To Rev. Grayde Parsons, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Dear Brother in Christ,

I am writing you with the request that you share these thoughts with my brothers and sisters in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):

It is incumbent upon all of God’s children to speak out against injustice. It is sometimes equally important to speak in solidarity when justice has been done. For that reason I am writing to affirm my belief that in making room in your constitution for gay and lesbian Christians to be ordained as church leaders, you have accomplished an act of justice.

I realize that among your ecumenical partners, some voices are claiming that you have done the wrong thing, and I know that you rightly value your relationship with Christians in other parts of the world. Sadly, it is not always popular to do justice, but it is always right. People will say that the ones you are now willing to ordain are sinners. I have come to believe, through the reality shared with me by my scientist and medical friends, and confirmed to me by many who are gay, that being gay is not a choice. Like skin color or left-handedness, sexual orientation is just another feature of our diversity as a human family. How wonderful that God has made us with so much diversity, yet all in God’s image! Salvation means being called out of our narrow bonds into a broad place of welcome to all.

You are undoubtedly aware that in some countries the church has been complicit in the legal persecution of lesbians and gays. Individuals are being arrested and jailed simply because they are different in one respect from the majority. By making it possible for those in same-gender relationships to be ordained as pastors, preachers, elders, and deacons, you are being a witness to your ecumenical partners that you believe in the wideness of God’s merciful love.

For freedom Christ has set us free. In Christ we are not bound by old, narrow prejudice, but free to embrace the full humanity of our brothers and sisters in all our glorious differences. May God bless you as you live into this reality, and may you know that there are many Christians in the world who continue to stand by your side.

God bless you.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Cape Town, South Africa)

he advice columnist, normally quite critical of religion, tells us how a Catholic priest helped his mother come to terms with his homosexuality. (Video contains some strong language at the end)

Rohr, a 68-year-old Roman Catholic author and internationally known speaker, says older Americans face a problem: Religious leaders aren’t paying much attention to them.

Much of contemporary religion is geared toward teaching people how to navigate the first half of their lives, when they’re building careers and families. Rohr calls it a “goal-oriented” spirituality.

Yet there’s less help for people dealing with the challenges of aging: the loss of health, the death of friends, and coming to terms with mistakes that cannot be undone, he says.

This is an interesting observation.  I’m not sure if I’m convinced by it though.  Most churches tend to have a problem keeping younger people around during those “getting established years” and then they return when they are a bit older.  From what I’ve seen in actual churches, (as opposed to the kind of TV ministry and self-help culture) they seem to serve older populations very well.  The churches focus on how to be relevant to younger people not because they are not interested in the older population, but because they are worried they might be focused too much on the older segment of their congregations.  It’s the world outside the church that doesn’t pay much attention to older people.  Of all of the segments of society, religious organizations seem to do the best job.

"It’s perhaps unfair of me, as a gay man, to moan at this enormous institution (the Catholic church), which is the largest and most powerful church on Earth, has over a billion, as they like to tell us, members, each one of whom is under strict instructions to believe the dogmas of the church, but may wrestle with them personally of course. It’s hard for me to be told that I’m evil, because I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love, and who feels love for so much of nature and the world and for everything else. We certainly don’t need the stigmatisation, the victimisation, that leads to the playground bullying when people say you’re a disordered, morally evil individual. That’s not nice, it isn’t nice."

— Stephen Fry


"The current (Bush) Administration seems to take Catholic views on abortion and family planning very seriously, but it is interesting to consider how different U.S. economic policy would be if the American Catholic bishop’s statements on economics were an integral part of the policy-making process. How much press attention was given to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s statement in 1999 on debt forgiveness or their appeal to end the death penalty?… Why does religion seem like the natural and appropriate basis for public policies concerning sex, but not for other ethically charged questions?… it is not as if these questions have no moral bearing."

— Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini, Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance

The Rainbow Ministry of St. Cecilia’s Church opened its doors to nearly 700 people yesterday for a long-awaited Mass in support of gay and lesbian Catholics, capping a month of controversy over the Boston Archdiocese’s postponement of the service.

A standing-room-only crowd, larger than Easter Sunday’s, packed the pews to hear the Rev. John J. Unni’s characteristically fiery message of love, acceptance, and the forgiveness of sins.

Unni’s message, which encouraged the congregation to welcome outcasts as Jesus did 2,000 years ago, was similar to that of weeks past. The difference yesterday, parishioners said, was Unni’s courage to say those words during a Mass that has drawn so much vitriol as well as passionate support.

“This is not about taking a stand; it’s about standing in the right place,’’ Unni said as members of the congregation, packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the non-air conditioned sanctuary, fanned themselves with programs. “Be with the outcasts. Be with those relegated to the margins.’’

"To insist upon maleness as an essential attribute of priesthood… is to commit the fundamental error of making the maleness of Christ more significant than his humanity."

— George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury