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Sunday, October 9, 2005

Roman Catholics for marriage equality.

I'm embarrassed to have missed this earlier, but there is a very simple way for Roman Catholics in Massachusetts who support civil marriage equality to speak up. The Catholic bishops in Massachusetts are gung ho for banning gay marriage, of course, but in this case they're sadly misguided.

If you're a Roman Catholic in Massachusetts who would rather sign a petition protecting same-sex marriage rights in the Commonwealth, the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry has a petition for you. It reads, in part:

As Roman Catholics, we differentiate between sacramental marriage and civil marriage, and therefore we perceive that same-sex civil marriage poses no threat to our Church. While we respect the authority and integrity of the Church in matters of faith, our prayers and reflection have brought us to a new openness on this issue. We urge the Church to treat with respect in both word and deed same-sex couples who have entered into civil marriages.

If these words speak to your experience, please consider adding your name to the coalition's Roman Catholic Statement Supporting Marriage Equality for Same-sex Couples in Massachusetts.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 9 October 2005 at 5:57 PM

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Bill Baar:

October 10, 2005 09:12 AM | Permalink for this comment

I like it better when Catholics stay Catholic and oppose same sex marriage.

I ask Catholic (and Luthern) Gay friends why they persist in belonging to Churches which have long been unfriendly (on paper at least; these folks often local Church leaders) to homosexuals and suggest they visit my UU Church instead. The bottom line is the oppose a Church that welcomes non-Christians, welcomes pagans, so on and so on...

It's a odd kind of arrogance really. They want a Christian religion to overturn millienium of doctrine, and then hostile to non-Christian Churches --that would welcome them-- because we include those who deny Christ. A awfully narrow minded crowd sometimes.


October 10, 2005 10:27 AM | Permalink for this comment

Bill, do I have it right that you believe that Catholicism = unchanging authoritarianism? I'd say that such a belief is indeed a kind of an odd arrogance. My question to you is: Why should a religious liberal play along with the most reactionary forms of Catholicism?

And let's turn the tables on ourselves: When Unitarian Universalism "stays UU," what does that look like?

Bill Baar:

October 10, 2005 10:58 AM | Permalink for this comment

Yes, unchanging maybe not (see below), but always authoritarian.

I read Radzinger's inteview with Peter Seewald published as Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium. I strongly recommend it, and I fully intend to read as much Ratzinger as I can lay my hands on. I never really understood the notion of Authority in Religion (by what Authority do I preach?) until I read Radzinger. He's an authoritarian for sure, but not what you would think.

He can also respond to the question of "What is the true path to God"? with the answer there are as many ways to God as there are people. Not what you would expect. You can find the quote on the back of the paperback edition.

And that is where we UUs fit in. Authoritiarnism falls apart in America as the Puritans found out because there is always the Wildnerness in the West. One can simply walk away from Authority and go west. Alone, or in groups (the Mormons did it literally).

You can create a new Authority; you can go alone.

Our job as UUs is to say to those who don't belong (and even suggest they don't belong as I did to my Gay friends) and offer an alternative Authority. That one need to go alone in the wildnerness. It may in fact be a path to God as Benedict does not deny exists.

PS I can't include the word unchanging because you read Ratzinger and you realize he sees a very changed church in the future.

From Amazon review:

Most intriguing are his ideas for the future of the church and the state of the world. He doesn't expect some sort of dramatic resurgence of the church, but does see a role and relevance for the church in the world. Perhaps this comes from the power of the church to provoke and be a prophetic witness. Given that his chosen name as pope is Benedict, his comparison in this text with St. Benedict (of monastic fame) is very intriguing. He likens the current and future situation to that of late antiquity, a time in which the majority of the non-ecclesial society wasn't really taking note of what the church was doing - Benedict was a bit of a dropout, who created 'an ark in which the West survived', largely going unnoticed.

Bill Baar:

October 10, 2005 11:07 AM | Permalink for this comment

Meant to say, "One need NOT go alone into the Wildernees." Our UU society in Geneva Illinois was created at a time when this part of Illinois was still a bit of a wildneress. Our founders sought to bring a little religion and civility to the frontier. That's our UU unchanging mission I think.


October 10, 2005 03:24 PM | Permalink for this comment

Bill - With all due respect, your own words betray why a gay Catholic (or other liberal Christian) wouldn't want to come over to your kind of UU church. Christ is important to their lives, and Jesus Christ is their guiding spiritual authority. As a gay man I can say that it is not enough for a church to be welcoming of my body's sexuality. So what? I want a place where I am both welcome, and able to follow my spiritual path. I want to be welcome both body and soul. You spoke of your UU church as a place where Christ is denied. In my case my path is Christian. Why flee Catholic oppression of my sexual orientation, for a place where the source of my spiritual inspiration is denied?

Thank God not all UU's are so dogmatic that denial of Christ is their church's reason for being. I know for a fact I would feel welcome in UU churches like Kings Chapel, or First Church of Chestnut Hill. There I am welcome as a gay man, and my Christ would not be denied.

Bill Baar:

October 10, 2005 04:36 PM | Permalink for this comment

The Church doesn't deny Christ. Many, if not most members deny his divinity (although I've never polled any of them).

They would make you welcome regardless of you thoughts on Christ. It's the Gay Christians who seem horribly uncomfortalbe sitting in a pew withsome one who is not Christian. They would rather tear their Christian Church apart over it, rather than join a UU Church that would welcome them and only ask they respect that we have no creed and will also welcome those who Christ has not revealed himself too.

It's striking to see the bitterness some of these local Churches have plunged themselves into over Gay clergy. They visit ours, but than they get put off by a pagan convenant group for example. That's the puzzling dogamatics I see.


October 11, 2005 09:43 AM | Permalink for this comment

Bill - My experience has been that in most UU churches I am tolerated in a community that does not find my Christian faith meaningful. Heck many UU's are vocal about how they find my faith inferior. Am I truly welcome as a Christian, in a church where most members deny my Christ? Am I truly as a Christian welcome in a community where the Bible is rarely preached, the sacraments are never celebrated, Christian symbols are largely absent, and Christ is not followed? Christianity is a community endeavor, and not an individualistic devotion. My experience is that in most UU churches I am merely tolerated as a guest, and not welcomed to be both fully gay and fully Christian. It is not that most UU churches are evil. But I find their non-Christian orientation to be just as irrelevant as a Buddhist would find my local mosque. UU's can not be all things to all people (even all things to all liberal and gay people).

As for why gay Christians (Catholic, Lutheran or otherwise) stay in our respective denominations... Many of us believe that the Church would not be improved by our departure.

PS - I will give kudos to a few of the Christian churches in the UUA, which have always been fully welcoming of both my Christianity and my sexual orientation. Among them Kings Chapel and First Church of Chestnut Hill. There I've visited communities where the Bible is preached liberally, the sacraments celebrated, and Christ is followed.


October 11, 2005 01:15 PM | Permalink for this comment

I am a lifelong UU who has recently left the denomination because I became a christian. While my home church was loving and supportive, it became clear after two years that it is impossible to practice christianity in a vaccuum. That is especially the case if one is trying to find depth in their faith.

I am in the process of discerning where I am going to next, but it looks like either the Anglican or the Catholic church. Who would'a thought?


October 17, 2005 12:59 AM | Permalink for this comment

UUs may not follow Christ, but we do follow Jesus. His very liberal values are very much in tune with most UUs.

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