Sydney, Australia: Liturgy of Apology to Sodomites Is the “Beginning of New Possibilities for Our Church?”
You know we are in the Days of Noah and in the endtimes when you see this garbage. It doesnt get any more Novus ordo than this...
Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Last month, Bondings 2.0 reported on plans to hold what was likely the world’s first Liturgy of Apology to LGBT people. The event, held near Sydney, Australia, was a response to Pope Francis’ historic call for the the Church to apologize to lesbian and gay people.
The event was a profound and moving experience, according to an account published in an Australian LGBT newspaper, The Star Observer. One of the organizers from St. Joseph’s parish, Newtown, where the liturgy was held, explained some of the considerations in planning such an event:
‘It was difficult to choose which personal stories to share during the liturgy; each individual’s story is so powerful, unique and precious,” Francis Voon, a Catholic organiser said.Part of the liturgy included a Well of Tears, and congregants were invited to approach it to pray for emotional healing from harm caused them by the church. St. Joseph’s pastor, Father Peter Maher, issued the official apology at the liturgy.
As organisers we wanted to make sure the event was ethical, respectful and safe for all. There are so many heartbreaking stories of our LGBTIQ siblings.
Some have been badly hurt by us as a church community. Others we have failed completely, to the point of suicide, because of prejudice, ignorance and fear, and worse still, in God’s name.
Tonight, with Pope Francis’ encouragement, in the name of God, we apologise for religious LGBTIQ-phobia, and we pledge to work towards healing and reconciliation in this Year of Mercy.
A gay man who had experienced a form of the widely discredited “conversion therapy,” which mistakenly promises to change one’s sexual orientation, spoke at the event and told about his resulting attempt at suicide.
One participant described the experience of the liturgy, the Well of Tears, and hearing the apology:
It was a powerful and raw moment of letting go and of forgiveness.Benjamin Oh, Chair of the Rainbow Catholics InterAgency for Ministry, one of the event’s sponsors, commented:
I came tonight with trepidation and deep reservation having not been to church for over 20 over years, having been deeply hurt by homophobic actions and words of Catholic church leaders. I feel hope and peace. That there are many ordinary and good Catholic people working hard to hold the church accountable for the violence they have inflicted on LGBTIQ people, including LGBTIQ Catholics here and elsewhere.
I couldn’t believe the diversity of communities leaders who are here this evening for this historical ceremony, and the fact that Christian leaders actually came up to us and other LGBTIQ folks saying how sorry they are for the way by which the church has in the past and some parts that still lend support to those who wish to vilify and hurt LGBTIQ people.
Some of the liturgy participants pose for a photo after the Mass.
Melody Gardiner from Australian Catholics for Equality noted that the liturgy was in line with the way many Catholic Australians feel about LGBT issues:
Saying sorry is a good start. There are thousands of LGBTIQ people and families in our parishes and many more who no longer feel they belong or are welcome. The majority of Australian Catholics support and celebrate LGBTIQ people, we are their families and friends.Gardiner also hoped that the Australian liturgy example would be emulated by others:
Some church leaders don’t care to hear our stories, let alone ask for forgiveness for what they have done to us. Tonight is the beginning of new possibilities for our Catholic and Christian communities here in Sydney and across Australia.Yes, here at New Ways Ministry we pray that other Catholic faith communities will offer similar public expressions of apology to LGBT people. As this Australian example shows, healing and reconciliation can blossom because of such events.
‘Rainbow Christians globally are watching and we hope to see other Churches and communities follow the example Liturgy of Apology we have seen tonight.
Francis appointed Bishop of Paramatta in Australia demands Catholic Faith accept "sodomy!"
Misleading article by @gregbrown_TheOz - read what Bishop Vincent ACTUALLY said about acceptance of all people here
The Bishop's original comments are found here.
The bishop of the Catholic diocese of Parramatta has called on the church to accept homosexuality, lamenting that the faith is not a “trailblazer” against inequality. Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen has gone further than the Pope, who has said God loves and accepts gay people.
Bishop Long said it was not good enough to treat gay people with compassion and then define their lifestyle as “intrinsically disordered”.
The comments, delivered in a speech in western Sydney last month, are likely to cause consternation in the church hierarchy, which is against same-sex marriage.
“We cannot talk about the integrity of creation, the universal and inclusive love of God, while at the same time colluding with the forces of oppression in the ill-treatment of racial minorities, women and homosexual persons,” Bishop Long said. “It won’t wash with young people, especially when we purport to treat gay people with love and compassion and yet define their sexuality as ‘intrinsically disordered’.
This is particularly true when the church has not been a shining beacon and a trailblazer in the fight against inequality and intolerance.”
Bishop Long was appointed by Pope Francis in May to lead one of Australia’s largest dioceses. The speech is in direct contrast to the views of his predecessor at the diocese, Anthony Fisher, who is now the most senior Catholic in NSW as Archbishop of Sydney.
The Australian reported in May that Archbishop Fisher condemned the anti-bullying Safe Schools program as even more radical and dangerous social engineering than same-sex marriage, to which he is also vehemently opposed. Bishop
Long fled Vietnam on a boat in 1979, eventually making it to Australia as a refugee. In his speech, he said the gospel showed that it was the holders of tradition who were often guilty of “prejudice, discrimination and oppressive stereotype”.
“That is what Jesus consistently does. He has a habit of challenging ingrained stereotyped attitudes, subverting the tyranny of the majority, breaking social taboos, pushing the boundaries of love and redefining its meaning,” Bishop Long said. “He questioned the prevailing assumptions and stereotyped attitudes. He turned the presumed order of moral goodness upside down.”