Church News Bulletin for Dec 9

Written by Joel on December 9th, 2009

Here’s the latest gossip from Sunday’s coffee hour…

LA Episcopal Diocese elects first woman bishop, first lesbian bishop. Articles on first woman: LA Times, AP, another AP article, CBS News, Christian Post. After the election of the lesbian bishop: The Baltimore Sun, LA Times (blog), LA Times, Daily Mail, UK, USA Today. Archbishop of Canterbury rebukes the vote, calls on bishops to block confirmation: LA Times.

Presiding bishop of ELCA says Bible not final authority on homosexuality. Then…what is? One News Now

A crucifix in a nude Peta ad angers some Christian groups. No, I will not post the racy ad here. But you can read all about it on Parade Online, they are family friendly, right? See also USA Today

UPDATE: Chinese Christians sentence reduced to 2 years in labor camp. AP

Jesus Christ is excused from courtroom. Well, a woman who changed her name to Jesus Christ was excused from a court room. According to the article “Efforts to reach Christ for comment were unsuccessful.” I guess that means Jesus Christ is not the judge of all. AP

The Church of Tiger Woods disbands. AFP

Lutherans ask for forgiveness from Anabaptists.

Catholic Bishop: “Gays and transsexuals can’t enter heaven.” I hesitate to post this given the source, The New York Times which is notorious for  misquoting and misunderstanding church officials. But, the corroboration from other sources and a rebuke from the Vatican leads me to believe that these comments were actually made by the cardinal. Unfortunately the cardinal misunderstands church teaching which states “They [homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided…by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” Catechism #2358,2359. In other words – being homosexual does not bar you from heaven nor from life in the Church.

Ugandan church leader speaks out against anti-gay bill. The bill would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, and failure to report homosexuals punishable by imprisonment. The church leader warns that this will turn into a witch hunt and genocide of the already oppressed people group.  The Guardian

The Pope’s midnight Christmas mass will be at 10pm. By creating a rift in the time-space continuum? Fox “News”, LA Times.


5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Agellius says:

    You write, “[B]eing homosexual does not bar you from heaven nor from life in the Church.

    A couple of things to note:

    First, while the Church does not consider “being homosexual” a sin, it does consider homosexual sex a mortal sin. And one who dies in unrepentant mortal sin, according to Catholic teaching, may very well be denied entrance to heaven. Along these lines, the cardinal specifically states that “*acting* [not merely "preferring"] against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God”. This is an accurate expression of Catholic teaching.

    Second, he said that the sinfulness of homosexuality “does not justify any form of discrimination”, and furthermore that “We on earth cannot condemn, and as human beings we all have the same rights.”

    The main problem I see with the statements attributed to him, is that they don’t distinguish between “being homosexual” i.e. having homosexual tendencies, and “engaging in homosexual sex”. Assuming he meant the latter and not the former, his statements are not at odds with Catholic teaching.

    Further, later on he did insist that he never meant to imply that we on earth can judge any individual as being worthy or unworthy of heaven, but was only pointing out the objective sinfulness of homosexual acts. ( ) Again, this is consonant with Catholic teaching.

  2. Joel says:

    Thanks for that clarification, Agellius. The media often misquote church leaders.

    I think what you spell out is primarily missing from the discussion on homosexuality in the church – that is the separation between orientation and action, the later being sinful but not the former.

    I fear that many (particularly in Protestant communions) go too far in condemning homosexuals as people; something I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify.

  3. Agellius says:

    Of course I agree that homosexuals should not be condemned “as people”. No one is condemned by God “as a person” — those who are condemned are condemned for their choices and actions.

    But I think it’s largely homosexuals themselves who cause the “orientation” and the person to be conflated, when they say things like being gay is just “who I am”; or when they accuse Christians who oppose gay marriage of being “hateful”, as if you can’t oppose the practice of homosexuality without hating homosexuals themselves. By and large it’s not Christians who say that homosexuals, rather than homosexual acts, must be judged. More often it’s homosexuals themselves who act as though you can’t judge the one without judging the other.

    And to an extent, they have a point: A person who does bad things is a bad person. That’s what “bad person” means. Where the Church draws the line is in judging the extent to which any individual is bad, i.e. culpable for his sin. Indeed in most cases we can’t even know *whether* the person is guilty of a sin, not being privy to his private activities. Nevertheless even when he is guilty we may not hate him, nor judge him unworthy of compassion. For there but for the grace of God goes every one of us …

  4. Joel says:

    I think it may go a bit deeper than that too; to the idea that sex is something everyone is entitled to. I will be publishing a post tomorrow which critiques this idea.

  5. Agellius says:

    I drafted my last comment in a hurry and so the point I originally had in mind was lost. What I meant to say was, that if persons of homosexual tendency were to draw a line between “who they are” as persons and their sexual proclivities, rather than treating their sexual preference as if it were the very essence of their identity, that would make it much easier for them to, first, not be offended so often, and second, resist their temptations.

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