Showing posts with label Religion and Sex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion and Sex. Show all posts

August 3, 2016

National Seminary in Ireland is Twirling in Gay Sex

The Priests of Tomorrow which will become very critical of Gays are getting acquainted of how it feels to have gay sex with your peers.
St Patrick’s from St Joseph;s square in Maynooth, Ireland


In Dublin the head of Ireland’s biggest Catholic diocese said Tuesday he had moved trainee priests from the country’s leading seminary over allegations of homosexual activity among students and staff, including the use of the Grindr dating app.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the "poisonous" atmosphere caused by the claims at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth – also known as the National Seminary for Ireland – had led him to transfer students to the Irish College in Rome.

An anonymous letter emerged in May, alleging homosexual activity among some students and teachers. Authorities issued a statement promising to "thoroughly deal" with such behavior.

"A culture of anonymous letters is poisonous and until that is cleared up I would be happier to send my students elsewhere," the archbishop told RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster.

The archbishop said the use of Grindr would be inappropriate for seminarians "not just because they are training to be celibate priests but because an app like that is something that would be fostering promiscuous sexuality which is certainly not in any way the mature vision of sexuality that one would expect priests to understand."

Thanks to GPS technology, users of the Grindr app, generally gay men seeking sex, are able to locate and view photos and brief profiles of other users in their immediate vicinity and arrange to meet them.

The archbishop said he had tried to communicate with the author or authors of the anonymous online letters and blogs, offering to appoint a confidential expert to help verify the claims.

However, his initiative has been met only by more anonymous letters.

It is believed whistleblowers are reluctant to come forward because others have been expelled for making such allegations.

"The authorities at Maynooth feel we have to find ways in which people will come forward with solid, hard evidence which can be used to follow up allegations," Archbishop Martin said.

Hugh Connolly, the President of St. Patrick's College, told RTE he was aware of the allegations and was "very worried" about the alleged use of Grindr in particular.

But "natural justice" demanded the production of strong evidence before any action could be taken, he added.

Archbishop Martin also appeared to question if Maynooth was still fit to train modern-day clergy, suggesting it could be better done outside the "closed, strange world of seminaries."

St. Patrick's College, situated at Maynooth, Co Kildare, is a university town 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Dublin.

The seminary was formed in 1795 and at the height of Catholic Church power in Ireland trained around 500 young men for the priesthood.

This number has dwindled to around 55 and there are now concerns that it could face closure if bishops believe priest could be trained better elsewhere.

Agence France Presse

May 30, 2016

Strict Prominent SeminarianAccused of Having Sex with Students

                                                                         Monsignor Tony Anatrella during a conference in Lille (Nord, France).

(RNS) For years, seminaries and monasteries around France sent students and novices to Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a prominent French priest and therapist who has written disparagingly of gays, if their superiors decided the young men were struggling with homosexuality.

Now Anatrella, who argues that gay men cannot be ordained as priests, is facing mounting allegations that he himself had sex with male clients under his care, a scandal that could have repercussions all the way to the Vatican, where the priest is still regularly consulted on matters of sexuality.

The reports about Anatrella that have emerged in recent weeks also landed just as the Catholic Church in France has been embroiled in a crisis over charges that senior churchmen shielded priests even after they received reports that the clerics had molested children.

Anatrella stoked that furor earlier this year when it was revealed that he told new bishops at a Vatican-sponsored course that they are not obligated to report a suspected abuser to authorities even in countries where the law requires such reporting.

The Vatican quickly said that Anatrella’s remarks did not change church policy on reporting, and Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of Pope Francis’ new Commission for the Protection of Minors, issued a statement saying that beyond the requirements of civil law, all members of the church “have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.”

Yet the allegations that Anatrella himself has engaged in sexual misconduct – accusations that were first broached a decade ago – pose a much greater threat to the priest.

So far, European media have relayed accusations from as many as four men – only one of whom agreed to be identified by his real name – who say that Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with them during counseling sessions in his Paris office, with the activity allegedly occurring up until a few years ago.

“You’re not gay, you just think that you are,” Anatrella reportedly told Daniel Lamarca, who was a 23-year-old seminarian when he first went to Anatrella in 1987.

According to Dutch Catholic journalist Hendro Munsterman, who first reported Lamarca’s story in Nederlands Dagblad, Anatrella told Lamarca he could rid him of his “pseudo-homosexuality” and sought to do so by performing sex acts on Lamarca.

“I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” Lamarca told Nederlands Dagblad.

Lamarca said that in 2001 he reported these episodes to the archbishop of Paris at the time, the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. But Lamarca said nothing was done.

Then, in 2006, he told a liberal lay-run Catholic periodical, Golias, about Anatrella’s behavior; Lamarca’s was one of three accusations to surface that year, but because they involved adults and wound up being their word against Anatrella’s, civil authorities did not pursue the allegations.

The church also apparently took no action. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois had succeeded Lustiger by that point, and he reportedly sent an email to all his priests expressing his support for Anatrella. Accusations from other ex-patients did not change the cardinal’s opinion and he spoke of a “gay lobby” working against Anatrella.

In recent weeks, another ex-seminarian, who goes by a pseudonym in the articles, told French outlets that he was counseled by Anatrella for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011, and that after the first few years Anatrella began “special sessions” that included episodes of mutual masturbation.

It is unclear how many of these accounts may also be the same ones that surfaced in 2006.

Anatrella has so far not responded to the latest allegations.

On May 13, the Archdiocese of Paris released a statement acknowledging that in 2014, the current archbishop, Vingt-Trois, received a written complaint, via a priest, from a patient of Anatrella’s who also made allegations of sexual exploitation. But the archdiocese said that because the complainant would not reveal his identity, the church could not pursue the matter.

In addition, the Paris archdiocese said that it received reports of other allegations regarding Anatrella late last month, also by way of a priest. “Because he could not act on the basis of anonymous third-party statements, the cardinal asked the priest to encourage the accusers to make personal contact (with the archdiocese) and lodge a formal complaint,” said the church statement.

The statement went on to say that “any person who has been a victim of sexual aggression (or their parents in the case of minors)” should personally contact the archdiocese to report it. “They will be received and listened to, counseled on what to do next, and urged to file a complaint with the judicial authorities,” it said.

Any person knowing “facts that justify a complaint or denunciation” should also report them to civil authorities, it added.

While Anatrella has been a familiar figure for decades in France, his controversial views gained wider attention in 2005 when he reportedly helped the Vatican, then headed by Pope Benedict XVI, a theological conservative, craft guidelines aimed at keeping gay men out of the priesthood.

Anatrella at the time also wrote a lengthy article in the Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, stating that homosexuality was “like an incompleteness and a profound immaturity of human sexuality.”

According to a report from Catholic News Service, Anatrella wrote that gays are “narcissists” and said homosexuality is “a problem in the psychic organization” of a person’s sexuality. He said that for theological reasons the Catholic Church can only ordain “men mature in their masculine identity.”

On a practical level as well, he wrote, many of the sex scandals in the church happened because gay men, even if they vowed to remain sexually chaste, were ordained as priests and could not remain chaste.

Anatrella also provided a long list of warning signs that should alert seminary staff to the possibility that a seminarian is gay.

Among the signs he listed were students who had trouble relating to their fathers or who tended to isolate themselves, and those found viewing pornography on the Internet and who often saw themselves as victims.

Anatrella remains a consultant to the pontifical councils for the family and for health care ministry; in February, he was the main organizer of a major conference on priestly celibacy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

French church leaders who have been on the defensive over reports that many of them failed to report priests who abused minors are set to announce new policies to protect children early in June.

By Tom Heneghan is a Paris-based correspondent David Gibson who is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

December 14, 2015

CNN Introduces the Satanist Church as a Civil Rights Corner Stone

 A few hours ago on CNN

As This Is Life host Lisa Ling appeared live at the end of the 2:00 p.m. hour of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, Ling ended up recalling the case of a woman who viewed Satanists as defenders of "civil rights" and joined their group as the mother blamed the "imposition of Christian values" at school for her gay son committing suicide.

After recalling that members of the Satanic temple she visited do not literally worship Satan, Ling elaborated: 
More than anything, they really are kind of a political action group, and they exist to protest the imposition of what they say are Judeo-Christian values on our political system, in our politics, and in public life.

She alluded to the current debates over Islam in America as she added:
And, interestingly enough, even though this group has chosen Satan as the head of it, a lot of these issues right now, the idea of respecting people of other faiths, especially during this time, a lot of these issues are relevant right now because there's a lot of scrutinization of people who espouse different beliefs, if you know what I'm talking about. So, even though this group is trying to use one symbol, really they're trying to get people in this country to recognize and appreciate people of all different faiths.

Host Brooke Baldwin then brought up the woman who joined after her gay son committed suicide:

I was watching the mother who lost her son, and, you know, she felt strongly about joining this because of a tenet on civil rights. Tell me more about these voices we'll hear from.

Ling recalled the mother blaming the "imposition of Christian values" at school for her son's death:

 Well, we know that in schools across this country there have been issues with administrations in some cases recognizing kids who might be gay and banning people who are gay from student offices. And this woman that we featured found solace with the Satanic temple because her son committed suicide after a lot of pressure from friends and family members, and she found that the imposition of Christian values into the school system to be one of the reasons that may have pushed her son to take his own life.

The pre-recorded portion of the segment had begun with Ling speaking with a Satanic temple member named Michael who had constructed a "Snake-tivity" symbol using a snake to represent Lucifer as he had sought to display it next to a Nativity Scene outside the Michigan state capitol:

LISA LING: As a skilled artist, Michael is now using his craft to stand with the temple and their fight for religious freedom. When the Michigan state capitol put up a Nativity scene during Christmas time, the Satanic temple placed their own symbol of faith on the state capitol lawn. And Michael helped design it.

MICHAEL, SATANIST: The snake itself is to be representative of Lucifer when he chose to lead man to knowledge in the Garden of Eden. We support the idea of Lucifer as a metaphorical figure and his influence on man.

Below is a compete transcript of the segment from the Friday, December 11, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

BROOKE BALDWIN: They are artists, they are community activists, and they are members of a Satanic temple. This holiday season, a group of Satanists is fighting major opposition in displaying their beliefs in public, and CNN special correspondent and host of This Is Life, Lisa Ling, takes a closer look. Watch.

LISA LING: As a skilled artist, Michael is now using his craft to stand with the temple and their fight for religious freedom. When the Michigan state capitol put up a Nativity scene during Christmas time, the Satanic temple placed their own symbol of faith on the state capitol lawn. And Michael helped design it.

MICHAEL: The snake itself is to be representative of Lucifer when he chose to lead man to knowledge in the Garden of Eden. We support the idea of Lucifer as a metaphorical figure and his influence on man.

LING: We live in a nation that's predominantly Judeo-Christian, so what's wrong with having a Nativity Scene on the steps of the capitol during Christmas time?

MICHAEL: There's nothing wrong with it, per se, if, you know, other religions can be accepted as well, and have their own displays. There can't be one dominating voice to all the voices.

LING: So "Snake-tivity" alongside Nativity, how is it received?

MICHAEL: A lot of people threaten to destroy it, but, for the most part, I felt like it was met with acceptance and curiosity.

LING: Do you celebrate Christmas?

MICHAEL: I do actually. I personally view it as just more of a time to be with my family.

LING: So you don't think Christmas should go away, even though it is the day that commemorates the birth of Christ?

MICHAEL: No, not at all. I feel like everyone should have the right to celebrate their religion, but every voice has to be heard.

BALDWIN: "Every voice has to be heard." Here she is, Lisa Ling joins me live from Los Angeles. And I was watching a bunch of different, you know, clips, and it's, all these different voices, and I had no idea. So correct me: Satanists, they don't actually worship Satan?

LING: So the Satanic temple is a new religious movement, and the followers are very defiant about the fact that they are, in fact, a religion because followers believe devoutly in the seven tenets of the Satanic temple. But they don't actually believe in the Devil or Satan or any other deity.

More than anything, they really are kind of a political action group, and they exist to protest the imposition of what they say are Judeo-Christian values on our political system, in our politics, and in public life.

And, interestingly enough, even though this group has chosen Satan as the head of it, a lot of these issues right now, the idea of respecting people of other faiths, especially during this time, a lot of these issues are relevant right now because there's a lot of scrutinization of people who espouse different beliefs, if you know what I'm talking about. So, even though this group is trying to use one symbol, really they're trying to get people in this country to recognize and appreciate people of all different faiths.

BALDWIN: I was watching the mother who lost her son, and, you know, she felt strongly about joining this because of a tenant on civil rights. Tell me more about these voices we'll hear from.

LING: Well, we know that in schools across this country there have been issues with administrations in some cases recognizing kids who might be gay and banning people who are gay from student offices. And this woman that we featured found solace with the Satanic temple because her son committed suicide after a lot of pressure from friends and family members, and she found that the imposition of Christian values into the school system to be one of the reasons that may have pushed her son to take his own life.

BALDWIN: Lisa's special, the belief of Satanists on This Is Life. Her series Sunday, 9:00 Eastern here on CNN. Thank you so much. We missed

June 23, 2015

Grandson Billy Graham Looses Mega Church Caught Cheating


After admitting to an extramarital affair, Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church over the weekend, leaving the Fort Lauderdale mega-church that streams its Sunday services to thousands without a permanent spiritual leader.
“Several days ago, Pastor Tullian admitted to moral failure, acknowledging his actions disqualify him from continuing to serve as senior pastor or preach from the pulpit, and resigned — effective immediately,” according to a statement on the church’s website. “We are saddened by this news, but are working with and assisting Pastor Tullian and his family to help them through this difficult time, and asking people to join us in praying that God will bring restoration through this process and healing to all involved.”
This is only the second time in the church’s more than 50-year history that it is without a permanent leader. Pastor D. James Kennedy founded Coral Ridge in 1960 and built it into an evangelical empire, which in its peak, reached three million viewers in 200 countries through its television and radio ministry, The Coral Ridge Hour. Kennedy, co-founder of the Christian lobby known as the Moral Majority, led the church until 10 days before his death in 2007. 
Tchividjian, 42, named after the third century theologian Tertullian, was hired as his replacement in 2009, with 91 percent of congregants approving his appointment. While he had a rocky start — some feared he was straying too far from Kennedy’s conservative Christian views — he ultimately won the congregation’s support.
On Sunday, Father’s Day, Tchividjian, married to his wife Kim since 1994 and father of their three children, acknowledged to the Washington Post that he had resigned:
“I resigned from my position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church today due to ongoing marital issues,” he wrote in a statement to the newspaper. “As many of you know, I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair. Heartbroken and devastated, I informed our church leadership and requested a sabbatical to focus exclusively on my marriage and family. As her affair continued, we separated. Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself. Last week I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign.”
Tchividjian could not be reached for comment. Kim Tchividjian declined to comment to a Miami Herald news partner CBS4 reporter who visited the family’s home in Pompano Beach on Monday.
She did send a comment to the Washington Post: “The statement reflected my husband’s opinions but not my own. Please respect the privacy of my family at this time, thank you. I do thank everyone for the outpouring of love for my family as well during this difficult time and we appreciate all the prayers and support we are receiving.”
While followers of Tchividjian were disappointed in the news, some said he is human.
“He is a man,” said Kimberly Davis, who lives in New York and has registered for some of Tchividjian’s conferences. “I don't condone it, but I don’t think they should crucify him.”
Tchividjian’s road to senior pastor at Coral Ridge has been paved with a few potholes. He dropped out of high school at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale and partied a lot, he told the Herald in a 2005 interview.
His parents — his mother, Gigi Tchividjian, is Billy Graham’s oldest daughter — kicked him out of their home when he was 16. He worked in construction and waited tables at Chili’s. By 21, bored with the party scene, he prayed for God to lead him.
“I said, 'All right, God, you take over,’” he said at the time. “‘You're the one who built me; you're the one who can fix me.’’’ 
He got a GED and graduated from Columbia International University in South Carolina in 1997. He earned a divinity degree in 2001 from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. 
He founded New City Presbyterian Church in Coconut Creek in 2003, and borrowing from the oratorical gifts of his famed grandfather, he built the congregation from a few to 400.
In March 2009he was tapped to lead Coral Ridge.
Six months later, hundreds of church members — including their choir director — defected and held services in Butterfly World in Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. A petition called for Tchividjian’s removal, saying he was not living up to the legacy of Kennedy, who built the church on a bedrock of Christian conservatism and political activism.
The church voted whether to retain him as pastor; Tchividjian won by a margin of about 69 percent to 31 percent.
“My family and I thank the Coral Ridge family for standing behind us and supporting me as your new pastor,” Tchividjian wrote in a statement at the time. “Change is difficult for any institution, but it is especially difficult for a church which has known only one pastor in its 50-year history and I understand that.”
For the next six years, Tchividjian, who remembers riding in a limo with Johnny Cash when he was 4 to hear his grandfather preach in the Detroit Silverdome, led the church. He focused more on Biblical passages than preaching politics.
Gene Rausch, who lives in Ohio, often listened to his sermons through the church’s live-streaming service. She said she was impressed because he knew so much about the Bible at such a young age.
Nonetheless, she said he had to resign.
“I think that was the right thing to do," she said. “He needs to have time to get himself together.’’
This is not the first time the senior pastor of a well-known church resigned after a “moral failing.” A year ago, the Rev. Bob Coy stepped down from the mega-church Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale. In a sermon after Coy’s resignation, Calvary Chapel’s Outreach Pastor Chet Lowe revealed Coy had committed adultery with more than one woman and “committed sexual immortality, habitually, through pornography,’’ the Christian Post reported.
Daniel Alvarez, a senior instructor with Florida International University's Department of Religious Studies, said Protestant pastors “are held to a higher standard,” and it’s not surprising to see them succumb to the pressure.
“The problem is that so much is expected of them and any failure is so magnified in the eyes of the parishioners that there is no redemption.”
In his statement to the Washington Post, Tchividjian asked for his congregants to pray for him and his family. 
“Both my wife and I are heartbroken over our actions and we ask you to pray for us and our family that God would give us the grace we need to weather this heart-wrenching storm. We are amazingly grateful for the team of men and women who are committed to walking this difficult path with us. Please pray for the healing of deep wounds and we kindly ask that you respect our privacy.”

Read more here:

May 26, 2015

Cops Admonished Pastor for having Sex in car with another Man, Now $60k Missing from His Church

Kingsport pastor charged with felony theft from church
Boyd Watson Holder Jr.
A Kingsport pastor has been arrested for allegedly siphoning more than $60,000 from his church's bank account, then putting the funds to his own personal use.

On Wednesday, a Sullivan County grand jury returned indictments against Boyd Watson Holder Jr., 44. Kingsport Police arrested Holder late Thursday night at the parsonage of Victory Apostolic Church on Kite Street.

Holder has reportedly served as pastor of the church since 2010. According to records, some members of the congregation brought concerns to police in early February of this year.

They alleged that between $70,000 and $100,000 had been discovered missing from the church's bank account, believing that the discrepancies coincided with Holder's tenure.

Holder was reportedly the only person who could access the funds, according to a KPD incident report — and when questioned about the money by church members, responded, "It is none of your business."

KPD detectives launched an investigation into the complaint, analyzing financial records of both Holder and the church. Findings of the criminal probe were presented to the grand jury this week, with a true bill returned that indicted Holder for theft of more than $60,000 and money laundering. Each charge is a Class B felony.

Citing an ongoing investigation, Kingsport police have declined to specify the exact amount of money believed to have been stolen from church coffers, or what Holder is alleged to have used them for.

Court documents state that witnesses to the grand jury included representatives from multiple financial institutions, a Kingsport auto repair business and websites Online Buddies and Farmers Only.

Along with the claims of stolen money, Holder appears in two additional KPD incident reports over the past six months. Both are also linked to Victory Apostolic Church.

At approximately 1:20 p.m. of Dec. 15, an officer observed a large, white passenger van in the rear parking lot of the vacant Stone East building, 2550 East Stone Drive. A check of the vehicle reportedly found two individuals engaged in sex acts.

One of those men, identified as Holder, allegedly apologized to police, then identified the van as belonging to his church. The officer told them not to "have relations in public," then ordered that they leave the property and not return.

A separate report chronicles an alleged physical altercation that occurred within Victory Apostolic on Sunday, Feb. 15. A man told police that when he visited to worship, Holder ordered him to leave. Holder reportedly demanded the visitor do so because he, "was not there for the right reasons."

When the complainant again refused — offering that he only "wanted to enjoy the service" — Holder allegedly, "grabbed him by his belt and attempted to lift him out of the pew." It was after other church members "politely" asked the man to leave that he complied, then called police to report the incident

KPD records don't specify a catalyst for the disturbance between Holder and the complainant. The latter ultimately declined to pursue assault charges, telling an officer that he "only wanted to make sure his side was heard."

As of early Friday morning, Holder remained held in the Kingsport jail on the charges of theft from the church. His bond was set at $35,000. 
Lyle Kincheloe is a former board member of the church. He says he was "kicked out" — along with several other congregational leaders — when they confronted Holder about missing funds.

He suggests Holder attained a stranglehold on the church and had "taken control to the treasury himself."

"We went on a Wednesday night to hold a meeting to dismiss him," Kincheloe told the Times-News. "We even had two Kingsport detectives with us. He told us he had done no wrong, we couldn't do this and couldn't have no meeting — so forth and so on."

"The former church members, and the ones he threw out, we are glad to see justice being served," added Kincheloe, who cooperated with the KPD in their investigation. "This upset a lot of Apostolic churches in the community. I hate it for people who believed in him.”
When the incident occurred with the pastor having sex inside a van the police report was shown to the congregation by a member who got hold of it. At the time the church stood by him and would not believe that the good Pastor would have sex with another man. “Woo Pastor’s just don’t go around having sex with other man inside cars. Ridiculous!” It’s not that  ridiculous if the good members of the church had been aware of the news that this sort of thing pops up quite a few times a year. Taken, usually is a motel not a used up, banged up van.

March 13, 2015

Unraveling the Church Ban on Gay Sex (NYTtimes)

Students in San Francisco last month protested morality clauses issued by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for Catholic high school teachers.Credit Tim Hussin for The New York Times
Last month, Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, made controversial changes to a handbook for Catholic high school teachers in his jurisdiction. The changes included morals clauses, one of which forbids those teachers from publicly endorsing homosexual behavior. There are plausible legal and educational objections to this move. But there is a deeper issue, one that raises fundamental questions about Catholic teachings on homosexuality and other sexual matters.
Sex can contribute to any couple’s fulfillment as human beings. Isn’t this just what it should mean to live in accord with human nature?
The archbishop has justified of his decision on the grounds that homosexual acts are “contrary to natural law.” Unlike many religions, Catholicism insists that its moral teachings are based not just on faith but also on human reason. For example, the church claims that its moral condemnation of homosexual acts can be established by rigorous philosophical argument, independent of anything in the Bible. 
The primary arguments derive from what is known as the “natural-law tradition” of ethical thought, which begins with Plato and Aristotle, continues through Thomas Aquinas and other medieval and modern philosophers, and still flourishes today in the work of thinkers like John Finnis and Robert George. This tradition sees morality as a matter of the moral laws that follow from what fundamentally makes us human: our human nature. This is what the archbishop was referring to when he said that homosexual acts are contrary to natural law. This has long been a major basis for the church’s claim that homosexual acts are immoral — indeed “gravely sinful.”
The problem is that, rightly developed, natural-law thinking seems to support rather than reject the morality of homosexual behavior. Consider this line of thought from John Corvino, a philosopher at Wayne State University: “A gay relationship, like a straight relationship, can be a significant avenue of meaning, growth, and fulfillment. It can realize a variety of genuine human goods; it can bear good fruit. . . . [For both straight and gay couples,] sex is a powerful and unique way of building, celebrating, and replenishing intimacy.” The sort of relationship Corvino describes seems clearly one that would contribute to a couple’s fulfillment as human beings — whether the sex involved is hetero- or homosexual. Isn’t this just what it should mean to live in accord with human nature?
Natural-law ethicists typically don’t see it that way. They judge homosexual acts immoral, and claim that even a relationship like the one Corvino describes would be evil because the sex involved would be of the wrong sort. According to them, any sexual act that could not in principle result in pregnancy is contrary to the laws of human nature because it means that each partner is using it as a means to his or her pleasure. Only a shared act directed toward reproduction can prevent this ultimate selfishness. The awkward talk of “an act that could not in principle result in pregnancy” is necessary since those who put forward this argument want to maintain that heterosexual unions in which one (or both) of the partners is sterile are still moral. There’s nothing unnatural about their intercourse because it’s the sort of act that in general can lead to reproduction.
Just trying to formulate the argument shows how strained it is. There are, of course, numerous subtle distinctions employed to defend it, requiring equal subtlety to respond. And many would see the argument as proving too much, since proponents also use it to show the immorality of birth control, masturbation and even non-reproductive sexual acts between heterosexuals.
Most important, however, the argument has no satisfactory response to two crucial questions. First, why, even if nonreproductive sex were somehow less “natural” than reproductive, couldn’t it still play a positive role in a humanly fulfilling life of love between two people of the same sex? Second, why must nonreproductive sex be only for the selfish pleasure of each partner, rather than, as Corvino put it, a way of building, celebrating, and replenishing their shared intimacy?
The natural-law argument might make some sense to those who see homosexuals as dominated by an obsessive desire for pleasure, to which they subordinate any notion of fidelity or integrity. The courageous uncloseting of many homosexuals has revealed them as people like most everyone else, searching for and sometimes achieving a fulfilling human life through rich and complex relationships. Since the official church, under Pope Francis, is more than ever open to this sensible view, the time is overdue for a revision of its philosophical misunderstanding of homosexual acts.
But should the failure of the natural-law case against homosexual behavior bother Catholics, who, after all, can also appeal to the Bible’s denunciations of homosexual behavior? Here another aspect of Catholic thought becomes crucial: The church accepts that there are two distinct sources of truth: divine revelation and reason unaided by revelation (for example, the “natural reason” of scientists and philosophers). But it also holds Thomas Aquinas’s view that there can never be a genuine conflict between these two sources. Therefore, any apparent conflict results from our failure to understand what either God or reason is saying.
Most important, there is no assumption, in any given case, that we must resolve the conflict by revising the apparent conclusion of reason. For example, the church (eventually) decided that the scientific claims of Galileo and Darwin were correct and required revisions in teachings based on biblical passages suggesting otherwise.   It is, therefore, an open question whether to accept the reasonable conclusion that homosexual acts need not be immoral and reject the view that this is what the Bible says.
There is considerable discussion among biblical scholars on this issue, with many suggesting that the passages that seem to condemn homosexual acts in general actually refer only to certain cases such as homosexual rape or male prostitution. But even if the biblical view is that any homosexual act is immoral, the Bible’s support for this view is no stronger than its support for the morality of slavery. Christian scholars argue that the acceptance of slavery (even in the New Testament, by Paul) merely reflects the limited perspective of the Bible’s human authors (similar to their belief in geocentrism or six-day creation) and does not reflect God’s revelation. 
The condemnation of homosexuality could plausibly be treated in the same way. The argument would then be that rational reflection strongly supports the claim that homosexual acts are not in general immoral, while there’s no need to conclude that God’s revelation says otherwise. This points the way to the church’s acceptance of homosexual acts as part of a morally fulfilling human relationship.

More generally, the church needs to undertake a thorough rethinking of its teachings on sexual ethics, including premarital sex, masturbation and remarriage after divorce. In every case, the old arguments no longer work (if they ever did), and a vast number of Catholics reject the teachings. It’s time for the church to realize that its sexual ethics are philosophically untenable and theologically unnecessary.
I understand that an archbishop is not politically in a position to deny what is still an official church doctrine. But there is nothing that requires him to vigorously enforce a teaching that is so dubious even in terms of the church’s own view on the two sources of truth. This, after all, is exactly the path most clergy, including some bishops, have taken regarding birth control — a teaching supported by the very same sort of natural-law argument as that against homosexual acts.

Gary Gutting
Gary Gutting is a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and an editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. He is the author of, most recently, “Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy since 1960,” and writes regularly for The Stone

August 12, 2014

Church goers went to the strip and protested Exotic Dancers ExD went to church and reversed the protest

Church Protests Strip Club, Strippers Protest Church Right BackEXPAND
This Sunday, an Ohio strip club owner organized exotic dancers for a topless demonstration outside a local church during services. He says the congregation has been protesting outside one of his establishments for years, and he's just slap out of patience with their antics.
The Coshocton Tribune reported (in a story beautifully headlined "Topless Protest Mostly Peaceful") that around 30 employees and pals of the Foxhole North gathered outside Warsaw, Ohio's New Beginnings Ministries for several hours Sunday. At one point, a handful of topless women paraded in front of the church. "The topless women were not a major spectacle, as only a few people turned out to watch for a few minutes and some motorists honked their horns," according to the Tribune.
Owner Thomas George explained the protest pretty simply: Turnabout is fair play. Church members have been protesting the Foxhole for years, he said.
"We want to let (church members) know how it feels to be under scrutiny," George said. "They come up every weekend. They're very abusive and certainly not Christian-like, not what I read in my Bible. I have to point out the hypocrisy I see and not stand by and let this go on week in and week out."
 He elaborated to WBNS, alleging they're "Calling the girls (expletive) and (expletive). They're abusive to the customers. They sit out with video cameras, they take pictures of license plates, tell them they're posting them to the web." He asked the AP "at what point does it become harassment" and insisted, "They backed us in a corner, and we have no recourse at law." Injunctions to push them further away have been denied.
George said the Foxhole crowd will gather outside New Beginnings Ministries "for the foreseeable future," while Pastor Bill Dunfee told the Tribune they'll keep protesting the club until it goes out of business. Another day, another pair of grown men fighting over women's bodies.
Photo via Sam72/Shutterstock.

January 10, 2014

Fmer Irish Head Says Gay Issue is Like “Heard of elephants in a church room”

 Disgraced Cardinal's story could be of 'great' help to gay people: Mary McAleese
Former Irish president Mary McAleese has suggested that disgraced Cardinal Keith O'Brien's life story could be of "great" help to people who have felt the need to lead double lives rather than admit that they are gay, the Herald Scotland reports.
McAleese, who served as Ireland's president from 1997 to 2011, made the remarks in a lecture to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
O'Brien, who was Britain's most senior Catholic leader until his resignation early in 2013 in the midst of accusations of "inappropriate acts" with a number of priests, admitted to and apologized for his sexual conduct.
"There have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal," O'Brien, a vocal opponent of gay rights, said in a statement released last March. "To those I have offended I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic church in Scotland."
According to the Herald Scotland, McAleese said that for the Catholic Church, the issue of homosexuality is like "a herd of elephants" in the room, and claims there are a "very large number" of gay priests within the priesthood.
She also said she's not a fan of the often-cited advice of "love the sinner, hate the sin," and criticized former Pope Benedict XVI for his anti-gay pronouncements, saying they were "completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding," as well as in conflict with how many Catholics now view homosexuality, the report adds.
The Irish Times says her comments were welcomed by the Association of Catholic Priests. The association's Father Tony Flannery told the Times that the Church's stance on homosexuality is in "serious need of reform."

December 18, 2013

Archbishop John Nienstet Stepping Aside as Police Investigates Sexual Touching on Boy

nienstedtArchbishop John Nienstedt is stepping aside from his public position as head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis while St. Paul Police investigate allegations that he inappropriately touched a boy in 2009.
According to a statement from the archdiocese  Tuesday morning, an unspecified church individual who is required to report all abuse allegations told St. Paul police that Nienstedt had been accused of inappropriately touching "a minor male on the buttocks." The "single incident" took place in 2009 at a group photography session with the archbishop after a confirmation ceremony, according to the release.
Nienstedt "emphatically denies" the allegation but will immediately step aside while it is investigated.
"The archbishop and the archdiocese stand ready to cooperate fully with the St. Paul police," the release read.
Nienstedt addressed the allegations in a Tuesday letter to parishioners in the archdiocese.
I do not know the individual involved; he has not been made known to me. I presume he is sincere in believing what he claims, but I must say that this allegation is absolutely and entirely false," he wrote. "I have never once engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor and I have tried to the very best of my ability to serve this Archdiocese and the church faithfully, with honor and due regard for the rights of all, even those with whom I disagree."
The news comes as the church is embroiled in controversy over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases and reports that leaders covered up some of the incidents. The archdiocese recently released a list of 32 priests with credible claims against them of sexual abuse of a minor. On Monday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona also released the names of 14 priests accused of abusing minors, as mandated by a Ramsey County judge.
Archdiocesan officials said the steps they’ve taken in response to the allegation "demonstrate and reaffirm" their "commitment to disclosure." "These steps further confirm that all within the archdiocese will be subject to the internal policies we have established," the release read.
Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché will take over Nienstedt’s public duties during the investigation.

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