Nun and Priest ministering to gays/lesbians gagged by Vaticangreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholicism -- Uncensored : One Thread
Controversial speech is out at VillanovaVILLANOVA - Saying there is no space for the event, Villanova University has canceled a speech by a nun and a priest who have been told by the Vatican to stop their work with homosexuals and to not speak about it.
The talk was to be given by a nun and a priest who ran afoul of the Vatican's stance on homosexuality.
By Erin Carroll, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
When organizers of the talk, to have been given by Sister Jeannine Gramick and the Rev. Robert Nugent, scheduled the event, they overlooked the fact that the date, Sept. 16, fell on Homecoming weekend, officials of the Catholic school said yesterday.
"We're expecting 25,000 [visitors] here," said Barbara Clement, the university's assistant vice president for public relations.
While a room may have been reserved for the speech, she added, Homecoming takes precedence.
But Call to Action, the liberal Catholic group that was to cosponsor the talk with several university departments, said it believes Villanova canceled the reservation of a room at the student center last week for fear of being rebuked by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
University officials "feel as though they are going to get a letter from Cardinal [Anthony J.] Bevilacqua saying they shouldn't have the event," said Joe Boyle, president of the Philadelphia chapter of Call to Action. "They're censoring themselves before they can be censored."
He said he was looking for another Main Line site for the speech.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese responded by saying: "We're not going to comment on what Call to Action is speculating."
Sister Gramick and Father Nugent, both of Baltimore, had ministered to homosexuals since 1971. The Vatican ordered them to stop last summer, saying they were failing to explicitly convey that the church regards homosexual acts as evil and "intrinsically disordered."
This summer, the Vatican went further, forbidding Sister Gramick and Father Nugent from speaking about their prior work. Father Nugent said he would abide by the order. Sister Gramick said she would continue speaking out.
The Rev. James McCartney, who chairs Villanova's philosophy department and helped arrange for the speech, said the pair would not have talked specifically about their ministry and thus would not have violated the Vatican mandate.
He also said, while the event may have been canceled because of Homecoming, recent attention generated by Sister Gramick and Father Nugent was likely a factor.
"There's so much controversy that it would have been a major media feeding frenzy," Father McCartney said. "If we were going to have four or five hundred people, they couldn't even have parked."
When asked whether the speech could have been held at the university on a different day, Father McCartney said: "I don't know. My guess is that it would have been a different outcome."
Last year, gay and lesbian Catholic groups lauded Villanova for its introduction of an honors class titled Constructing and Deconstructing Homosexuality. Offered last semester, it was the first of its kind at a Catholic college.
Yesterday, some said the school had let them down.
"I'm really disappointed in Villanova," said one, Marie Summers, adding that she planned to attend the speech wherever it could be held.
"We thought [Villanova officials] were being courageous," said Summers, a member of Dignity/USA, a national advocacy group for sexually active gay and lesbian Catholics.
"Evidently, they weren't ready to do this."
Please someone explain to me how the Pope can justify his morality with this gag order? What is the difference between today's gays and lesbians and the lepers of Jesus' time, whom Jesus ministered to?
The older I get, the harder it is for me to swallow all this hypocrisy. It's a wonder that Mother Theresa didn't get slapped on the wrist by the Pope too.
-- Judas (didn't.have@chance...), August 22, 2000
Thanks for posting this. I have followed this case with some interest.
The Vatican ordered them to stop last summer, saying they were failing to explicitly convey that the church regards homosexual acts as evil and "intrinsically disordered."
"This summer, the Vatican went further, forbidding Sister Gramick and Father Nugent from speaking about their prior work. Father Nugent said he would abide by the order. Sister Gramick said she would continue speaking out."
I heard Father Nugent on the radio -- he sounded sad that he was being silenced, and I got the sense that he didn't feel he could leave the church, probably because he is dependent upon it. I am very glad that Sister Gramick has the courage and the decency to go against the Vatican and speak out.
There's a new book out about gay priests that promises to be very interesting. The strange thing is on the one hand the Pope condemns homosexuality as "evil" (his words from the pulpit in June), yet his clergy is filled with gay priests. Not very good for the morale.
Jesus ministered to all, and the Pope's continued condemnation of a minority people truly frightens me. It reminds me of Nazi Germany, where people were singled out for being different, and declared morally defective.
The outcry against the Vatican's policies toward gays will only increase until they accept the fact that human rights includes gay rights and women's rights.
-- Frederick (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 22, 2000.
This is one of the things I've never understood about the church. I was taught to "love one another" and "do unto others" and especially one's enemies..... And then I see stories such as this one.
So how exactly does the church reconcile its attitude and behavior towards those it deems "unsuitable"? Not very Christian at all.
-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), August 22, 2000.
I was pretty neutral about homosexuality until I read the Pope's denunciation. Then I understood what sort of life it must be like to be gay in a culture whose religions uniformly seem to denounce it. The pope tries to sidestep this by saying he is merely denouncing their sexual practices, not the people themselves, but I believe we ARE our sexuality, and that our sexual natures are the essence of who we are as individuals. You cannot simply divide your sexuality from your personality and put it in a little box.
Likewise, a lot of gay people have claimed that they did not choose to be gay, and I believe them. So how can the pope justifiably condemn people for what they are born into? To call what they naturally are born to do sexually "evil" is to denounce them as evil, pure and simple.
Perhaps this is further evidence of the Church's denial of sexuality in general. Just don't have sexual impulses at all, don't feel that part of yourself, that integral part of yourself. And if you must, be sure to feel guilty and shameful about it!
-- Frederick (email@example.com), August 23, 2000.
"The pope tries to sidestep this [denunciation] by saying he is merely denouncing their sexual practices, not the people themselves, but I believe we ARE our sexuality"
Hi, I think the biggest point that can be derived from the latest papal denunciation is that, rather than denouncing the homosexual *act* as had been previously done so many times, he went on to describe the homosexual *inclination* as being intrinsically disordered. This, to me, is a new departure & is yet another step up in the hate campaign of the RCC against homosexuals .... Pete C
-- Pete Cassidy (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 24, 2000.
"I heard Father Nugent on the radio -- he sounded sad that he was being silenced, and I got the sense that he didn't feel he could leave the church, probably because he is dependent upon it. I am very glad that Sister Gramick has the courage and the decency to go against the Vatican and speak out."
Without trying to judge Father Nugent, I'd speculate that it's simple politics, i.e., he might be embitious to move up the church hiearchy, as opposed to Sister Gramick who has nowhere to move up to.
"Jesus ministered to all, and the Pope's continued condemnation of a minority people truly frightens me. It reminds me of Nazi Germany, where people were singled out for being different, and declared morally defective."
Yes indeed. The only difference with Hitler is that the Pope does not preside over an army. But his declarations feed the Nazi mindset, the gay bashers. Has the Pope decried the violence his "good Catholic" subjects inflict on the gays? I don't follow the Pope, nor go to church, so I'm out of the loop.
-- Judas (didn't.have@chance...), August 24, 2000.
Pete, Thanks for contributing. And if you see anything interesting over at the alt. recovery board, feel free to crosspost it here. I did see a good essay about how the Catholic rightwing speech about abortion is very similar to how the Nazis employed propaganda to serve hate and fuel violence. In fact, I think a Jewish doctor wrote to the Pope to protest the language the hierarchy was using about abortion, which fuels such violent emotion that doctors are murdered. I'll look it up and post it in a new thread.
Judas, thanks for the insight about moving up the hierarchy. I didn't think of that, but you're right, Sister Gramick has nowhere to go. The Church has lost an incredible about of nuns the last twenty years, which is no wonder, since they often were made to serve as low- paid servants to the priets.
Did the pope speak out against Catholics who bash gays? The pope said that we need to treat homosexuals with compassion, so perhaps that was his nod to not going overboard and spin off into violence. But obviously, his condemning them could well lead some sick person to justify violence in his own mind. The whole church seems heavily focused on punishment and humiliation, so the tragic thing is the pope cannot see or admit how his words could fuel hate.
I'm really curious that more has not been made of this by the gay lobby. They are making quite a campaign against Dr. Laura, but I'm wondering if they will campaign in equal force against the Vatican. It's a little strange, since so many priests are gay, and that the church has long served as a haven for them.
-- Frederick (email@example.com), August 25, 2000.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 19, 2001.