More on Gay Catholics, Pope Francis, Science

Yesterday I spoke of the courage of Pope Francis in making the significant—albeit modest—step of allowing priests to bless gay couples (though not acknowledging gay marriage as such).

Father Aris Sison from Saint John Paul II Parish, Quezon City, comments on Pope Francis allowing priests to bless people in same-sex couples but not their union. CNN Philippines

I speak of courage because the pope was up against powerful forces within and without his institution.  Regarding the latter, some American non-Catholic “Christians” called the pope an instrument of Satan.

Within his own church, Pope Francis is taking on his predecessors, Popes JP II and Benedict XVI who wrote dastardly things about homosexuals. 

One friend of mine who is Jewish/Buddhist wrote me about the pope’s opening to gays: “Well! Will miracles never cease! (Let’s hope!)  Now, how to make up for all of the past suffering…”

Today homophobia is on the rise from Christo-fascists as hellbent on controlling homosexuals’ choices as they are about controlling women’s bodies.  Over 500 anti-gay laws were introduced last year alone in America and over 75 of them passed.

The pope finds himself between a rock (St. Peter’s rock?) and a hard place as they say, trying to maneuver a giant patriarchal institution weighed down by centuries of dualism vis a vis sexuality and the body laid out by Neo-Platonist theologians such as St. Augustine 1,600 years ago.  At least Pope Francis did not run from the challenge altogether nor simply cave to those who imagine that doctrines—or anything else that humans concoct—last forever unchanged and that science cannot penetrate them in any way.

Leaders in the Church of England comment as the General Synod voted to offer blessings to same-sex couples in civil partnerships and marriages.

Homosexuality is a question for science, just like the weather is or the question of the sun moving around the earth was 400 years ago.  The Vatican got that question very wrong back then and JP II apologized— promising it wouldn’t happen again.  Gays and lesbians today have no intention of waiting 400 years before, among other things, getting married.

So the Roman Catholic Church seems to be entering a bit, kicking and  screaming, into the 21st century.  The Anglican Church also last week allowed blessings of gay marriages (though its American version, the Episcopal Church, has been doing that for decades including ordaining gay clergy and bishops).  The Methodist Church is witnessing an exit of 40% of its churches over homosexuality and many African churches are rebelling also.

Thus, Pope Francis has demonstrated some courage.  But the future of religion is not with giant institutions that, like humongous ships, can barely stop or turn around.  It is with spirituality and conscience and the living out of our graced natures, as Jesus and other prophets have always taught.

See Matthew Fox, “The Spiritual Journey of the Homosexual…and Just About Everyone Else,” in Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets, pp. 243-266.

And Fox, Original Blessing, pp. 51, 222, 266, 268-271.

And Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, pp. 93,142f., 184, 202, 255f., 345f., 355, 382.

Banner Image: “Love is Love, Love Wins.” Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

How are you living out your graced nature, whether gay or straight, and assisting others to do the same?

Recommended Reading

Wrestling with the Prophets: Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life

In one of his foundational works, Fox engages with some of history’s greatest mystics, philosophers, and prophets in profound and hard-hitting essays on such varied topics as Eco-Spirituality, AIDS, homosexuality, spiritual feminism, environmental revolution, Native American spirituality, Christian mysticism, Art and Spirituality, Art as Meditation, Interfaith or Deep Ecumenism and more.

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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6 thoughts on “More on Gay Catholics, Pope Francis, Science”

  1. Avatar

    Matthew, I agree with the last sentence of today’s DM: “But the future of religion (which I interpret broadly as the spiritual evolution of our human species) is not with giant institutions (especially patriarchal ones reflecting patriarchal societies) that, like humongous ships, can barely stop or turn around, it is with spirituality and conscience, and the living out our graced natures, as Jesus and other prophets have always taught.”
    I feel I am living out my graced nature and purpose by growing in awareness/consciousness of the DIVINE PRESENCE/action within my heart/Eternal Soul of Our Beloved Source~Co-Creator’s Evolving Diverse LOVING ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT… COSMIC CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS ….

  2. Avatar

    The Elderly are more abused than gays, in this society and much of the world. They are the invisible, forgotten and ignored class. Their rights are routinely taken away from them, and handed over to clueless family members. They are helped to stay well through supposed “health care” providers, but only to a point. When, randomly, the point is reached, the family is coerced into putting them in hospice. This is whether the elder is really suffering or not. Or regardless of the years left the elder would have if put on a sensible regimen. The elder is looked at as a burden now, and society has enough burdens… hospice is the only answer, apparently. Try telling an elder that you have been encouraging and supporting to live and thrive, that now it’s time to die. Whether you are ready or not. This is not okay. Everytime I hear another story about gay rights, it’s a time I hear silence about what the elderly endure, needlessly.

    1. Avatar

      As an elder, I understand what you are saying. We have to fight to be heard, just as the queer community does. I do not think that any group is more sinned against, though. I have been blessed with 4 gay folks in my family, although I am down to three after the death of my stepson. Injustice touches many of us, and the root of it is fear of the “other”, or so I believe. We are all one, after all, and as an old crone, I find that opening my heart to all who suffer and supporting them in every way I can, is the way to go. I admire the pope’s courage because he is countering many “religious” people in the RC church as well as other institutions. He is putting himself at risk for a minority. Isn’t that what the whole Christianity thing is about? That we love one another?

  3. Avatar

    I continue to be open and learn, from Matthew and all the members of this meditation group, I have no feelings of division or separation from others, I choose to stay open, I am 83, like Matt and I am so grateful to see ,even little changes in the church, I am always at the beginning,even though I am growing older, blessings and much love,

  4. Avatar

    Graced with (“Neoplatonic”) mysticism, via a direct, spontaneous personal experience and further information through extensive research, I’ve tried to pass along as much of my understanding of authentic mysticism as I can. I hope to dispel some of the confusion and distortions created by the suppression and misinterpretations of this mysticism during the Reformation, Enlightenment, and recent times.

    One of the most important things I’ve learned was that the “official” version of this mysticism (Neoplatonism) was “dualized,” (to coin a term), re-framed/reworked from the direct experience into a different, dualistic message so as to be compatible with our everyday human sense of separation, alienation and moral smallness, and as a way to express our extreme difference from God’s Total (heavenly) Nature. And now it’s usually misinterpreted as a completely intellectual/logic-structured philosophy.
    It’s actually a holistic mystical theology/SPIRITUALITY (or the root or core of a universal religion), with an intellectual/intuitive/bodily/lived experience (human-totality) immersion. That’s why it was used as the metaphor and intended model for the fully-lived, Jesus-exemplified-and-channeled, egalitarian, loving theology for the Trinity.

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