Vatican asks for parish-level input on same-sex marriage

UnknownThe Vatican hasn’t changed its position on same-sex marriage, but a recent act indicates it is at least building a bridge to reach out to the community.

The National Catholic Reporter said Thursday the Vatican asked national bishops’ conferences around the world to conduct a wide-ranging poll of Catholics, asking for their opinions on church teachings on same-sex marriage, contraception and divorce.

Archibisop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, asked the conferences to distribute the poll “immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received,” the NCR report reads.

The Synod of Bishops is an advisory body for the pope, established after the Second Vatican Council in the 1965. The upcoming synod, which Pope Francis announced earlier this month, will be held Oct. 5-19, 2014.

Baldisseri distributed a letter and questionnaire to the presidents of the world’s individual bishops’ conferences Oct. 18. It asks the conferences to quiz their populations on the topics that sometimes have sharply divided the United States church.

The topics the bishops’ conferences are asked in the Vatican document to question their Catholic populations include “How persons in same-sex marriages are treated and how children they may adopt are cared for.”

—  Steve Ramos

Keller church drops Boy Scout affiliation

KellerA Catholic church in Keller will stop sponsoring a Boy Scout troop in 2014 when a policy allowing gay Scouts goes into effect — mostly because, he admits, many Catholic priests are pedophiles.

Monsignor James Hart, the pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, cited his experience working with the Fort Worth Diocese and the lawsuits against pedophile priests as his reasoning — what he called a “very sad involvement in the various lawsuits filed against the Diocese for violations against the moral law in times past.”

He said these incidents “destroyed lives and caused many to lose their faith.” He blamed the crimes on priests “with a same-sex orientation.”

And he pointed out that those men had “taken an oath of celibacy in the service of a higher good.”

Because these priests had sex with young boys, the pastor concludes, obviously gay teens will have sex with each other.

“Given the facts of this known past, which as a Priest has broken my heart, do you honestly expect me to believe that when the time comes in the life of the Boy Scouts of America that there are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old boys put together in overnight situations, some of whom with a self-professed same-sex orientation and attraction, that nothing undesirable is going to happen?” he said.

—  David Taffet

Feedback • 03.02.12

Column on gay Catholics misguided

While I am not a member of Dignity, I am a gay Roman Catholic and felt Phyllis Guest’s article titled “Efforts to resurrect local gay Catholic group are misguided” was both unnecessary, and showed a lack of a broader understanding of the diversity of the LGBT community. I take this article as a blatant attempt to promote anti-Catholic bigotry in the name of gay rights. Hate for whatever reason is unacceptable. While I respect Guest’s right to her personal opinion, that opinion in my opinion is misguided and unhelpful.

LGBT people of faith have shown that change is indeed possible. For us Catholics who are LGBT we understand the tension that exists between our Catholic leadership and gay rights/marriage equality. We understand our journey will be a difficult one at times putting our own comfort on the line for moving the envelop of change within the church. Using Guest’s opinion as a guiding example would she say the same of Catholic women should they also throw out the baby with the water in terms of their faith?

I think Guest needs to educate herself about the Catholic faith, and more to the point the history and vision of Dignity. Apparently she seems to think that evolution played no part in those other churches who openly welcome LGBT people. I think Guest does a disservice to our community when she promotes division over unity. GLBT Catholics are as an important part of this community as any other group, and we owe none an apology for practicing our faith.

I would encourage any Catholics who are LGBT in Dallas and want to restart a Dignity chapter there to do so. While I belong to another national Catholic LGBT organization you should know you are not alone and, in my opinion you not only have our support, but the support of gay Catholics in Dallas. Especially during this season of Lent, I encourage you on your faith journey.

Joe Murray

Executive Director 
Rainbow Sash Movement

 

Attacks on Leppert are reprehensible

Not only are the attacks on Tom Leppert reprehensible and repugnant, the whole holier-than-thou attitudes of Cruz, James and Pittenger are disgusting. I could name several sins I’m sure that these men and woman have committed that would disqualifies them from their finger-pointing.

Personally I believe Thomas Purdy is a little late in his thinking that the Log Cabin Republicans will “…ensure the Party of Abraham Lincoln remains so and does not become the Party of Anita Bryant. …” The Republican Party is already worse than Anita Bryant’s “Party” ever thought of being. Also, Rob Schlein’s statement that he’s changing support from Cruz to Tom Leppert because of the attack on Leppert is assinine. Leppert has demonstrated he’s as big a hypocrite as the others. How any gay person truly interested in preserving the rights of “the community” can support a Republican candidate for anything is definitely open to question.  I seriously doubt there would be any candidate of the Republican Party at this point who would be willing to step up for LGBT causes. Frankly, gay Republicans have their heads in the sand and I don’t understand it.

Daniel Prado

 

Guest article borders on hate speech

It’s disturbing to find that the Dallas Voice would publish something like Phyllis Guest’s attack on Jim Davis’ attempt to rebuild Dignity Dallas, and the Roman Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality.

All Mr. Davis seems to be doing is trying to build a community for like-minded people to be a part of.

As to the church, why single them out? It would be one thing if its views were unique among mainline Christian denominations. Unfortunately for the most part they are all the same. And though there are movements to make positive changes toward homosexuality in some, to the best of my knowledge no major church has been able to totally accomplish this goal.

She says she has nothing against the Roman Catholic Church. I’d suggest you couldn’t prove that from reading her column.

Attack speech like this boarders on hate speech, and I hope this is the last time I see anything like this appearing in the Voice.

Frank M. Stich
Dallas

—  David Taffet

AIDS housing funding survives challenge in Houston city council

Helena Brown

The city funding for four Houston nonprofits providing housing to at-risk populations living with HIV/AIDS survived a challenge from city council member Helena Brown last Wednesday. Under consideration by the council were ordinances to dispense almost $2.5 million in federal funds managed by the city to the SRO Housing Corporation, Bering Omega Community Services, Catholic Charities and SEARCH Homeless services.

Brown initially used a parliamentary procedure known as a “tag” to delay the funding for the Houston SRO Housing Corporation and Bering Omega. Any council member may tag an item under consideration, delaying the vote on the item for one week. Brown explained that she objected to government funding of charitable entities:

“I spoke last week on this very issue on grant funds and the idea that we are, you know, fighting with other entities and other governments for grant funds that really isn’t there. The federal government is in a worse condition than the city of Houston and to continue to try to milk the system where there’s no milk, is just, I mean, we’re fighting with our brothers, as I said last week, to get credit for who is going to push a friend over the cliff… We need to continue to look at the private sector and the business sector. Because even, I attended this event where this wonderful speaker was talking about the generosity of Americans and 80% of donations to nonprofits come from private individuals, not even corporations, and we need to continue to rely on that right now because the government right now, we’re broke – we need to face that reality.”

Other council members spoke passionately of the need for continued funding, arguing that by assisting people living with HIV/AIDS in achieving independence, particularly those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness,  the programs added to the tax based and help insure long-term stability.

“We don’t live in a perfect a world,” said freshman council member Mike Laster (the first out gay man to serve on the Houston City Council). “These organizations do their very best to raise money to care for the people among us, but they still need to reach out to entities that have that kind of capital, and by the grace of God this city and this government as an entity has some of that capitol, and I’m very proud that we’re able to provide those kind of services to some of my community members.”

Council member Wanda Adams, who serves as chair of the council’s Housing and Community Development Committee, also spoke in favor of continuing funding. Council member Ellen Cohen, whose district contains both SRO Housing and Bering Omega, spoke of how her life had personally been touched by AIDS:

“One of the first young men to pass away in New York City was a cousin of mine of something [then] called a very rare form on pneumonia… which we now realize was not. So I understand the need for these kinds of services. On a personal note I worked with Bering and I know all the fine work that they do, I’m addressing all the items but I’m particularly addressing [the Bering Omega funding] and feel it’s absolutely critical that we provide the kind of funding items, and that we are, in fact, our brother’s and our sister’s keepers.

After Laster asked Mayor Annise Parker the procedure for overriding a tag Brown removed her tag, but raised a new concern about HIV/AIDS housing, saying that her office had requested a list of the owners of apartment units where those receiving rental assistance lived. City Attorney David Feldman explained to Brown that federal law prohibits making public information that could be used to identify people receiving assistance through the housing program. Feldman said that, in his legal opinion, revealing the names of the owners of the apartments would violate federal law. Brown said that she was concerned that their might be a “conflict of interest” with apartment owners that needed to be investigated, claiming that as the reason for her tag.

Brown eventually removed her tag, rather than have it overturned. All four ordinances providing funding passed with only Brown voting “nay.”

—  admin

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

‘¡Gaytino!’ tonight at Latino Cultural Center

Latin flair

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing).

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

—  Rich Lopez

Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

OPUS Fi-NOM-us: It’s time for NOM to acknowledge its Catholic impetus

***NOTE: This post is meant to be an exploration. This is a public presentation of what we have learned, which might just result in more questions that definitive answers. So please take it in the spirt in which it is intended: Not as an “accusation” or a period on any subject, but rather as fair exploration of a powerful, connected, highly-financed nationwide network. Our prevailing interest is to get the National Organization For Marriage, an organization opposed to CIVIL rights, to its most transparent, largely faith-based center.

Let’s get started.

***

Examination Point 1: Legatus, a membership organization for Catholic business leaders, first came on our radar during Prop 8. That’s when the National Organization for Marriage’s general counsel at the time, Charles LiMandri, contributed to a Legatus magazine piece meant to rally Catholics against marriage equality:

NOM president Brian Brown is also a Legatus member (Legates, they are called).

Examination Point 2: Another Legate is a man named David LeJeune. David is the Executive Director of Fidesco USA, a Catholic volunteer organization. David is also the managing partner of something called OPUSFidelis, a new media marketing firm.

Examination Point 3: For the past few months, OPUSFidelis has been controlling the National Organization For Marriage’s Social Media properties. That’s why you might have noticed duplicate content popping up in a number of different places within the NOM realm (e.g. NOM blog, Brian Brown’s Twitter, the “Protect Marriage” Facebook page, etc.). It’s all being controlled by a central hub run by OPUSFidelis:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.15.06 Pm

[SOURCE]

Examination Point 4: The person doing most of the NOM Social Hub blogging is someone named Casey Fimian:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.17.04 Pm

[SOURCE]

Examination Point 5: Last fall, this same Casey Fimian hit up all of the prominent Catholic colleges on Facebook…

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.18.38 Pm

…seeking FIDESCO USA volunteers:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.18.59 Pm

Yes, the same FIDESCO USA of which OPUS Fidelis’ David Jejeune is the E.D.

Examination Point 6: In the past four years, Casey’s father Keith has unsuccessfully ran for Congress from VA’s 11 District. In both elections, much was made about the candidate’s Catholic outreach and the financing directed his way by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monagan. Much of that conversation, fair or unfair, was due to Mr. Fimian’s prominent role on the national board of directors of – Legatus (which Monagan himself founded).

Exploratory circle=complete.

Okay, so that’s pretty much what we know for now: Lots more Catholic connections from the already canonical NOM. Connections that would be 100% fine, if only NOM would start identifying itself and its cause for what it is. Because they have every right to work from a Vatican-focused place and even every right to use their personal views in their political advocacy, just as long as they do so within the boundaries of law. Obviously. But by not being honest about these deep faith connections, which firm up more and more every day, NOM is doing a disservice to this *CIVIL RIGHTS* conversation and all who engage in it. They owe all of us, both pro- and anti-, a more honest marriage debate.

***

**MORE: Another OPUS Fidelis founder is Joe Giganti, a personality whose lengthy conservative resume includes a stint as strategist of Alan Keyes’ presidential campaign. Here’s Mr. Giganti talking to Focus on the Family about how LGBT civil rights supposedly insult “real civil-rights laws and the people that have struggled…” And when Mitt Romney distanced himself from Gen. Peter Pace’s claim that homosexuality is immoral, Giganti said that Romney’s words “clearly display that he has a complete misunderstanding and does not grasp the moral values on which our country has been founded and that the conservative movement is trying to preserve.




Good As You

—  David Taffet

Ontario Catholic school board member compares gay-straight alliances to ‘Nazi groups’

Now she’s denying, a la Rick Warren and the infamous DOMA brief, that she meant to “compare” gay clubs and the Nazis. Then why invoke them at all?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

RI Governor, Speaker calmly rebut Catholic Bishop who ‘lashed out’ on marriage bill

Yesterday, the Providence Journal reported that the state’s Catholic Bishop “lashed out” against the proposed marriage law. Instead of kowtowing to the Catholic Bishop, the Governor and Speaker of the House concisely explained why they are pushing marriage:

Chafee, who is Episcopalian, stood by his support of gay marriage, repeating an argument he made in his inauguration speech that permitting gay and lesbian couples to legally marry is, to some degree, an economic issue for the state.

“The status quo economically is not working. Our foundation here in Rhode Island was built on tolerance and acceptance, and this is an area I want to move our state forward on, by building on our strengths of centuries ago,” he said. “Let’s give marriage equality a chance to grow our state.”

Chafee senior adviser Stephen Hourahan said later that the governor believes that legalizing gay marriage can provide incentive for “the best and brightest” talents — especially gay and lesbian professionals — to consider relocating to the state for job opportunities. It can even help boost the wedding industry. “It’s the idea that to have it in place is a very positive thing to a state,” said Hourahan.

Fox also spoke out against the bishop on Friday. “This has been debated for decades, and it will be debated [again]. No one is saying just because we want it early in the session that it’s not going to get a full debate. Of course it’s going to get a full debate,” he said. “We’re familiar with the issue. It’s not being rushed. But at some point, at some time, you need to bring this to a conclusion, and I think this is the year to do it.”

Elected officials in heavily Catholic countries like Ireland, Spain and Portugal have ignored the rantings of their Bishops over same-sex marriage laws. It’s good to see that some politicians in the United States are able to do the same thing.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin