40 years ago today!

This happened.

Well that didn’t turn out like I hoped or imagined it would.

I wanted to be a priest ever since I was a little boy and I overcame the greatest of odds to achieve my life’s goal.  On Saturday, November 22, 1975, I was ordained a Catholic Priest at the Cathedral of Saint Francis de Sales in Oakland, CA.

Sadly, it all came crashing to a halt only 6 years later with the publication of my doctoral dissertation.ordination

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, my religious community at the time, assigned me to post graduate studies in San Francisco in 1978.  I completed that assignment in January 1981 with my dissertation, Gay Catholic Priests; A Study of Cognitive and Affective Dissonance.  A media firestorm erupted shortly there after when I publicly identified myself as gay. (I had come out to my provincial superiors before I was ordained six years earlier.)

When word got to Rome, however, the Oblates began a process to dismiss me from the community.  They erroneously accused me of “living a false lifestyle” because of my public declaration a month earlier.  The community leadership claimed that anyone who would self identify as gay must also be sexually active.  In their defense, it was 1981, and I had just studied a population of gay priests in the active ministry, years and years before the Church could even bring itself to admit that there were such a thing as gay priests in their midst. Nonetheless, my efforts to explain myself and the nature of self-identification fell on deaf ears.  I was to be made an example of how others would be treated if they came out.

Priesthood was my whole life.  To be cut off from the community and ministry in an instant, without due process nearly killed me.  And thus, began a grueling 13-year battle with the Church to save my good name, my priesthood, and my ministry.  I chronicled this odyssey in a book published in 2011, Secrecy, Sophistry And Gay Sex In The Catholic Church.

1976I lost the battle in 1994; I was dismissed from the Oblates.  But I believe I won the war.

Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”  Looking back on the last 40 years, I can see clearly that Dr King was right.  LGBT people have gone from pariah status to having their relationships granted the same legal and socitial status as straight people.  Acceptance of LGBT people is at an all-time high in this country and throughout most of the world.  And young U.S. Catholics overwhelmingly accept LGBT people.

Unfortunately, Church leadership continues to drag it’s feet.  While there are some enlightened bishops, and certainly the Pope is pointing the way, most of the otherbishops have their head in the sand.  The rear-guard action of trying to defend the indefensible continues unabated.  Gay priests are still persecuted for coming out and the clerical closet continues to make Catholic priest sick, sometimes even to death,  One has to ask; how can anyone preach the Good News while living a lie?


Forty years after ordination, I believe that I now know the real meaning of priesthood and ministry.  And I can safely say that it has nothing to do with the ritual depicted in the photos above.  My priesthood and ministry are rooted knowing who I am and knowing that God called me as I am.  My priesthood is to the people on the margins and the sexual fringe.  And my priesthood means speaking truth to power and supporting others to do the same. I continue to stand against the fear, ignorance, and repression that destroys God’s people and if I have to do my priesthood standing this distance from the altar, then I’m ok with that.


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Not all gay Catholics are pleased about how Vatican priest came out of the closet


Krzysztof Charamsa, left, who worked for a Vatican office, appears at the news conference with his partner, Eduardo, on Oct. 3 in Rome.


Two days before a longtime Vatican official burst from his stained-glass closet last month, he was dining with an Italian media consultant inside an elegant restaurant on the right bank of Rome’s Tiber River. The topic of conversation: How should the official come out?

Krzysztof Charamsa was still employed at one of the Holy See’s most powerful offices, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But after decades of hiding, the 43-year-old gay Polish priest wanted to come out with a flourish. He was no longer afraid to confront a church he saw as intrinsically “homophobic” and proposed a symbolic news conference outside the headquarters of the Congregation — the very institution charged with defending and disseminating Catholic teachings around the globe.

But Emilio Sturla, a public relations consultant who worked closely with gay Catholic groups and was helping Charamsa, strongly suggested he reconsider, both men recalled. The public and the church, Sturla insisted, would see such a move as too incendiary.

“But that’s what he wanted,” Sturla said. “To be provocative.” And that’s what he did.

Their conversation suggests how even before it happened, Charamsa’s high-profile debut — including its timing right before a major Vatican meeting of the church hierarchy — was already controversial among the small group of gay Catholics aware of his plans.

Charamsa’s move brought the expected denunciations from the church and religious conservatives, who pointed out that he had violated his vow of chastity and the church’s teachings on homosexuality. More surprisingly, his actions have also sparked a split among gay Catholics.

The church officially teaches that homosexual desires are not sinful unless acted upon and calls on gays and lesbians to live lives of chastity. It teaches that gays are deserving of human dignity. But it also describes homosexual acts as a sin that is “intrinsically disordered” and a “grave depravity.”

As Pope Francis opens the door to more inclusion of gay people, Charamsa’s coming out — and the reactions to it — cuts to the heart of a debate raging among gay Catholics worldwide: Should they use gentle dialogue or open confrontation in pushing for change?

Many gay activists are cheering Charamsa’s action, heralding him as a Vatican whistleblower. In two days of extensive interviews with The Washington Post, for instance, Charamsa said the Vatican office where he worked routinely shut down priests and bishops calling for more acceptance of gay people. He describes an angry uproar in its halls on the day in 2013 when Francis, responding to a question about gay priests, famously declared, “Who am I to judge?”

Yet at a time when they can almost smell what they call the sweet scent of change, some gay Catholics counter that Charamsa’s “theatrical” coming out may have done more harm than good. It could, they say, embolden church hard-liners and have a chilling effect on the slowly thawing relations between gay people and the Catholic Church.

Spanish Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, right, reads a newspaper showing a picture of gay bishop Krzysztof Charamsa and his partner Eduard before the start of the morning session of the Synod of bishops on family issues, at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Last week the Vatican fired Charamsa who came out as gay on the eve of the meeting of the world's bishops. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Spanish Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez, right, reads a newspaper showing a picture of gay bishop Krzysztof Charamsa and his partner Eduard before the start of the morning session of the Synod of bishops on family issues, at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Last week the Vatican fired Charamsa who came out as gay on the eve of the meeting of the world’s bishops.

Charamsa is unbowed. The church, he said, has deployed “Nazi words” against gays, and the time has come to respond. Referring to the 1969 New York riots that became a milestone in the American gay rights movement, he said, “The church needs a Stonewall.”

From closet to stage

“Here I go,” Charamsa said with a grin, walking down the center aisle of the Morality Theater on a recent evening in Arenys de Munt, Spain — a small town 28 miles northeast of Barcelona. He is a tad nervous. Laughing a little too hard. His hands perspiring. It is his first major public appearance since his big splash on Oct. 3, and he wants it to be good.

Charamsa doesn’t get far before 72-year-old Jaume Torrent grabs his arm. Torrent’s bear cub of a husband, a 39-year-old bearded construction worker, is standing close, wearing a tight T-shirt and a smile of admiration as the two gush praise at Charamsa.

“You!” beams Torrent, a self-described gay Catholic. He’s one of a crowd of more than 100 — a good chunk of them gays and lesbians — who have turned out to hear Charamsa speak. “You brave man. You did not hide. We are so proud of you.”

Charamsa is living a sort of self-imposed exile now, in an apartment in Barcelona he shares with his Spanish boyfriend, Eduardo. He refuses to say when or where they met, though people familiar with the couple say it was at least a year ago. Yet Charamsa is not focused on telling his own story — he’s still guarded about his childhood, his partner, his gay life as a priest. Instead, he’s focusing on what he feels is the big issue: homophobia within the Catholic Church.

He grew up in the Baltic port city of Gdynia, the son of an economist father and a mother who was a devout Catholic. At a young age, he became an altar boy, and then, a priest, at a time when the priesthood in Poland was a convenient place for gay men to remain unmarried and yet still obtain a measure of social standing. In fact, some studies have suggested that homosexuality is more prevalent in the priesthood overall than in the general population. But Charamsa describes his calling from God as genuine.

When Charamsa was young, the church’s teachings on homosexuality — something it calls an “intrinsic moral evil” — led him to personal torment and self-hate, he said. Today, he blames the church’s grip on largely Catholic Poland for a powerful strain of homophobia that still lingers there.

“It was the horrible problem of my life,” he said. “It was like hell. I prayed for years for God to take away this illness.”

His thinking had not changed, he said, when he began working at the Vatican in 2003, laboring in a mid-level administrative post and analyzing doctrinal papers. There are regular, if unofficial, social meetings of gay priests in Italy, including those from the Vatican, according to one gay priest who has attended them. But Charamsa says he was never part of that crowd.

Instead, he said, until meeting Eduardo, he led a highly closeted life that allowed him to observe homophobia close up at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Inside its halls, Charamsa said, the issue of homosexuality “is only spoken about in jokes.” He compares it to the macho climate of, say, a sports team. Modern textbooks on human sexuality are rarely, if ever, studied. He said he saw careers destroyed after clerics appeared to get soft on gays. Suspicion of being gay, meanwhile, was reason enough to bar the promotions of priests to higher ranks.

Any move toward a more accepting stance, he said, was routinely stamped out. He recalls, for instance, an “internal persecution” of Bishop Piero Marini in 2013 after the Vatican official openly called for recognition of the moral value of same-sex unions. The Congregation, Charamsa said, insisted the bishop clarify true church teachings.

On the day in July 2013 when Pope Francis responded “Who am I to judge?” after being asked a question about gay priests, Charamsa said, there was an uproar within the Congregation. Its conservative prefect, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, had “only bad things” to say about the pope in response, Charamsa said.

The Vatican declined to comment on any of Charamsa’s allegations.

Today, he calls his highly public coming out a form of “protest,” one that came together recently after he accepted himself and came to feel that the church, not his sexual orientation, was the problem. He is now on a one-man mission to challenge its teachings — something he is doing in regular media interviews, a book he is penning, even a blunt letter to the pope in which he derided the church for its “diabolical instruction.” It is a series of decisions that have come with a high price.

In fact, by Oct. 3 — the day that Charamsa held his news conference — he had already come out in interviews published over the previous 24 hours in the Polish and Italian media. But it was only that day, as he faced reporters, that his story truly went global.

Sturla, the media consultant, ultimately persuaded Charamsa to move his news conference to a lower-key setting at the Rome restaurant where the two had dined two days earlier. As the cameras rolled, Charamsa held hands with, and hugged, Eduardo while vowing to make “an enormous noise for the good of the church.”

Soon after, Charamsa was evicted by the nun running the Rome convent where he had lived for years as a chaplain, he said. His brother’s children are being bullied at school, and his mother is facing pressure at her church in his native Poland, he added. The Vatican fired him on the spot, leaving him unemployed. And his bishop in Poland suspended him, stripping him of the right to wear the Roman collar and celebrate Mass.

Technically, Charamsa said, he remains ordained. In a statement, his bishop left the door open for Charamsa’s return to the practicing priesthood should he repent. But it’s an offer, Charamsa told his applauding audience in Spain, that he has declined.

“I’ve come out of the closet,” he said, “and I’m not going back.”

Strategic differences

Critics of Charamsa’s public protest also question his timing. On Oct. 3, the day of the news conference, Andrea Rubera was across town helping manage a major meeting in Rome of gay Catholics. Rubera, the spokesman for an Italian gay group advocating a gentler approach toward change in the church, was hopeful about the major Vatican synod starting the next day. Bishops were set to discuss, among other issues, the church’s approach toward gays and lesbians. His group had even managed to secure a Catholic bishop — the Rev. José Raúl Vera López of Saltillo, Mexico — to speak at the meeting.

Then Charamsa dropped his bombshell.

“We spent a year organizing that conference,” Rubera said. “But the day it happened, the press showed up, and all they wanted to talk about was Charamsa.”

Under Francis, Rubera said, he has sensed a subtle but important shift in the icy relationship between homosexuals and the Catholic Church in Italy. One local parish in Rome, he said, is now openly inviting gay Catholics to participate in church events — something once unthinkable. Yet Charamsa’s “theatrical” coming out, he says, put those gains in jeopardy and sabotaged the synod, which failed to break any new ground on homosexuality.

“Our fear now is that his coming out, and the way he came out, will build a wall, not a bridge,” Rubera said.

Said Michael Brinkschröder, coordinator of the European Forum of Christian LGBT Groups: “I think many cardinals — for example, Cardinal Müller — might have felt pressured [by Charamsa’s move]. My position is that pressure is not the appropriate means to achieve change.”

In fact, shortly before Charamsa’s announcement, the priest had consulted with a small group of leading voices in the gay Catholic communities in Poland, Britain and Italy. All were strongly in favor of his coming out. But several disagreed with him on key points.

Charamsa says that gay Catholics advocating less confrontational methods have thus far failed to produce results. He welcomes Francis’s more inclusive approach but also describes it as mostly “words.” Rather than being a product of his coming out, the lack of a new approach at the synod is the product of entrenched church thinking that needs to be more boldly challenged, he said.

That, he says, is his new calling.

“I was in a prison of my mind,” he said.

But no more.

Complete Article HERE!

The true deadly sins

The true deadly sins

Gay and Catholic: What it’s like to be queer in the church

After the synod’s slightly reformist report, LGBT Catholics reflect on their religion and sexuality

My appearance on the BBC’s program World Have Your Say

I was honored to be among today’s guests on the BBC’s program:  World Have Your Say.  Today’s topic — Being LGBT And Catholic.

If you missed the live program, check out the archive HERE!!



Gay priest decries ‘inhuman’ treatment of homosexual Catholics

Krzysztof Charamsa

A senior Vatican priest, stripped of his post after admitting being in a gay relationship, has launched a scathing attack on the Roman Catholic Church.

In a letter to Pope Francis this month, Krzysztof Charamsa accused the Church of making the lives of millions of gay Catholics globally “a hell”.

He criticised what he called the Vatican’s hypocrisy in banning gay priests, even though he said the clergy was “full of homosexuals”.

Pope Francis has yet to respond.

Until 3 October, Monsignor Charamsa held a senior post at the Vatican at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department that upholds Roman Catholic doctrine.

The Vatican immediately stripped him of his post after he held a news conference in a restaurant in Rome to announce that he was both gay and in a relationship. Roman Catholic priests are meant to be celibate.

At the time, the Holy See said the priest’s decision to come out on the eve of the Vatican’s synod on the family had been “irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure”.

‘Rights denied’

The Polish priest has released to the BBC a copy of the letter he sent to the Pope, written the same day as the announcement, in which he criticises the Church for “persecuting” and causing “immeasurable suffering” to homosexual Catholics and their families.

He says that after a “long and tormented period of discernment and prayer”, he had taken the decision to “publicly reject the violence of the Church towards homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people”.

Krzysztof Charamsa (left) and his partner Eduard

The priest has accused the Church of causing “immeasurable suffering” to homosexual Catholics

Spanish Cardinal Ricardo Blazquez Perez (right) reads a newspaper showing a picture of gay bishop Krzysztof Charamsa and his partner Eduard before the start of the morning session of the Synod of bishops on family issues at the Vatican (09 October 2015)

His decision to “come out” has caused consternation in some Roman Catholic circles

The 43-year-old says that while the Roman Catholic clergy is “full of homosexuals”, it is also “frequently violently homophobic”, and he calls on “all gay cardinals, gay bishops and gay priests [to] have the courage to abandon this insensitive, unfair and brutal Church”.

He says he can no longer bear the “homophobic hate of the Church, the exclusion, the marginalisation and the stigmatisation of people like me”, whose “human rights are denied” by the Church.

Church attitude unchanged

The priest goes on to thank Pope Francis – who is thought to have a more lenient attitude on homosexuality than some of his predecessors – for some of his words and gestures towards gay people.

The Pope recently met a gay former student of his during his recent visit to the US, and has previously said that gay people should not be marginalised in society.

But Krzysztof Charamsa says that the pontiff’s words will only be worthwhile when all the statements from the Holy See that are offensive and violent against homosexuals are withdrawn.

He also urged the Church to annul a decision taken by his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to sign a document in 2005 that forbids men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies from becoming priests.

The Polish priest terms “diabolical” Pope Benedict’s statement that homosexuality was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”.

Pope Francis (left) greets cardinals and bishops at the end of a mass for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at St Peter's basilica (25 October 2015)

Pope Francis is thought to have a more lenient attitude on homosexuality than some of his predecessors

Pope Francis leads a mass to mark the closure of the synod on the family in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (25 October 2015(

The Synod on the Family ended on Sunday, but made no change to its pastoral attitude to gay Catholics

The priest writes that LGBT Catholics have a right to family life, “even if the Church does not want to bless it”.

He later criticises the Vatican for putting pressure on states which have legalised equal or same-sex marriage.

He also expresses his fears about the impact his coming out may have on the treatment of his mother in Poland, “a woman of unshakeable faith”, saying she bears no responsibility for his actions.

The synod ended on Sunday, but made no change to its pastoral attitude to gay Catholics.

The final document agreed by the Synod Fathers reiterated Church teaching that gay Catholics should be welcomed with “respect” and “dignity”. But it restated that there was “no basis for any comparison, however remote, between homosexual unions and God’s design for marriage and the family”.

The synod voted through a paragraph saying that it was unacceptable for pressure to be put upon local churches over their attitude towards same-sex unions, or for international organisations to make financial help contingent on poor countries introducing laws to “allow or institutionalise” marriage between people of the same sex.

Complete Article HERE!

Polish bishop defrocks gay priest who sparked Vatican fury

A Polish bishop has defrocked Father Krysztof Olaf Charamsa, pictured at a press conference on October 3, 2015, in the wake of his public declaration that he is gay and has a partner

A Polish bishop on Wednesday defrocked a high-ranking Catholic priest fired by a furious Vatican earlier this month after he came out as gay on the eve of a key synod on the family.

Bishop Ryszard Kasyna has decided that Krzystof Charamsa should no longer be able to celebrate mass, administer sacraments like communion and baptism or wear a cassock, according to a statement on the website of their northern Pelplin diocese.

Charamsa had held a senior position working for the Vatican office for protecting Catholic dogma, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The 43-year-old priest sparked outrage at the Vatican on October 3 by publicly declaring his homosexuality — and presenting his Catalan boyfriend Eduardo — on the eve of a bishops’ synod set to touch on the divisive issue of the Catholic Church’s relationship to gay believers.

Bishop Kasyna said he was forced to defrock Charamsa for failing to abide by his vow of celibacy following an earlier official warning.

“Considering Father Charamsa’s lack of will to correct his behaviour and public statements indicating he will continue to break rules governing the behaviour of Catholic priests,” the bishop decided to defrock him, the statement said.

“This penalty is intended to encourage Father Charamsa to mend his ways and can be rescinded depending on his behaviour,” it said.

Father Krysztof Olaf Charamsa (L), with his partner Edouard on October 3, 2015, has been barred from celebrating mass and performing other priestly functions, though he has not been excommunicated

While Charamsa can no longer perform priestly duties, he has not been excommunicated, a move that would entirely banish him from the Catholic church.

After coming out, Charamsa presented a 10-point “liberation manifesto” against “institutionalised homophobia in the Church”, which he said particularly oppressed the gay men who, according to him, make up the majority of priests.

He also revealed plans for a book about his 12 years at the heart of a Vatican bureaucracy only just recovering from a scandal under previous pope Benedict XVI over the influence of a “gay lobby” among senior clergy.

A Vatican spokesman described Charamsa’s action as “very serious and irresponsible”.

Crisis for Pope Francis as top-level cardinals tell him: your synod could lead to the collapse of the church



Update, 3.20pm Monday: As I write this, various cardinals have said they didn’t sign the letter, some of them waiting several hours before distancing themselves from it. Now Erdö says he didn’t sign it. It’s extremely hard to get at the truth. ‘Not signing’ can mean a number of things, ranging from an outright false claim that a cardinal supported the letter to panicky backtracking by cardinals who did assent to it but are grasping at the technicality that they didn’t personally append their signature. But the damage to the synod is done.

A group of cardinals – including some of the most powerful figures in the Catholic Church – have written to Pope Francis telling him that his Synod on the Family, now meeting in Rome, has gone badly off the rails and could cause the church to collapse.

Their leaked letter, written as the synod started, presumably explains why a few days ago the Pope suddenly warned against ‘conspiracy’ and reminded the cardinals that he, and only he, will decide the outcome of the synod.

This is the gravest crisis he has faced, worse than anything that happened to Benedict XVI, and he knows it.

And, talking of the Pope Emeritus, I suspect that, had he been free to sign the letter, he would have done so.

The cardinals warn the Pope, in diplomatic language, that (a) the synod is being hijacked by liberals obsessed with the narrow issue of giving Communion to divorced and remarried people; (b) going down the route of ‘pastoral flexibility’ could lead to the Catholic Church falling apart in the same way as liberal Protestant denominations; and (c) the synod working papers prepared by the Pope’s allies Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri and Archbishop Bruno Forte are a mess and going down badly with the Synod Fathers.

The seniority of the signatories shows how close the church is to civil war. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith – the Church’s doctrinal watchdog – is on the list. So is Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s finances, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, in charge of the Church’s worship.

Sarah is the most prominent African cardinal in the church, along with Cardinal Wilfred Napier of Durban, who has also signed. Add to that the name of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and it becomes clear that the loss of confidence in Pope Francis extends far beyond the Vatican.

He is, however, passionately supported by liberal cardinals in Europe and Latin America, among them Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops. He can also count of the unquestioning loyalty of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

As the Catholic Herald reported this morning:

Two of the cardinals who signed the letter, published in full by [Vatican commentator] Sandro Magister, have prominent roles in the synod. Cardinal Péter Erdö is its relator general, and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier is a president delegate. [NB: On Monday afternoon, several hours after it appeared Cardinal Erdö denied signing the letter.]

Other signatories included Vatican officials Cardinal Gerhard Müller and Cardinal George Pell.

In the letter, the cardinals expressed concern that ‘a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried’.

The letter continued: ‘The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.’

The cardinals also asked the Pope to ‘consider a number of concerns we have heard from other synod fathers, and which we share’ and criticised the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris, or working document.

‘While the synod’s preparatory document, the Instrumentum Laboris, has admirable elements, it also has sections that would benefit from substantial reflection and reworking,’ the letter said.

‘The new procedures guiding the synod seem to guarantee it excessive influence on the synod’s deliberations and on the final synodal document. As it stands, and given the concerns we have already heard from many of the fathers about its various problematic sections, the Instrumentum cannot adequately serve as a guiding text or the foundation of a final document.’

Here is the list as originally reported by Magister:

  • Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy, theologian, formerly the first president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family;
  • Thomas C. Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada;
  • Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, United States;
  • Willem J. Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;
  • Péter Erdö, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, president of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and relator general of the synod underway, as also at the previous session of October 2014 [He has now denied signing the letter, though there was a noticeable delay before he did so];
  • Gerhard L. Müller, former bishop of Regensburg, Germany, since 2012 prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith;
  • Wilfrid Fox Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014;
  • George Pell, archbishop emeritus of Sydney, Australia, since 2014 prefect in the Vatican of the secretariat for the economy;
  • Mauro Piacenza, Genoa, Italy, former prefect of the congregation for the clergy, since 2013 penitentiary major. [He now denies signing the letter];
  • Robert Sarah, former archbishop of Conakry, Guinea, since 2014 prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline;
  • Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy. [He now denies signing the letter];
    Jorge L. Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela;
  • André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, president delegate of the synod underway as also at the previous session of the synod of October 2014. [He now denies signing the letter.]

Note that not all these cardinals are regarded as outright conservatives: Cardinal Dolan, for example, is gently orthodox, an amiable figure far removed from the thundering traditionalist Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has been excluded from the synod.

Moreover – and this is very dangerous for Francis – the main point of contention is not the question of whether the church should be give communion to divorce people in second marriages, or whether gay unions should be given some degree of recognition.

This is an argument about the wisdom of calling the synod in the first place, and expresses the suspicion of over 100 Synod Fathers that the organisers are manipulating proceedings by confronting them with working papers and procedures designed to push them in a liberal direction. Others are simply fed up with the amateurish nature of the proceedings and wonder why, after last year’s chaotic preparatory synod, the Pope left the same people in charge. To quote the Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge, ‘At times our work has seemed more muddled than methodical’.

I’m one of countless commentators who has warned that holding this synod could split the church. Now it’s happening, much faster than any of us anticipated.

Complete Article HERE!

I have a better idea…

i have a better idea

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