Saturday, 21 May 2016


IRELAND HAS BROKEN THE SHACKLES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


BY VOTING TO OPEN MARRIAGE TO SAME SEX COUPLES, IRELAND HAS CHOSEN INDEPENDENCE FROM THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, SAYS FATHER BERNÁRD LYNCH.



In the December 1918 election, the Irish republican party, Sinn Féin won a landslide victory in Ireland. On January 21, 1919 they formed a breakaway government (Dáil Éireann) and declared independence from Great Britain. Today, by voting to open marriage to same sex couples, Ireland has chosen independence from the Roman Catholic Church.
Although still Catholic, the majority of the Irish people have voted that the freedom to love transcends their deepest religious beliefs. This marks a seismic shift in the mind of the nation. This consciousness serves not only the LGBT community but the entire people of Ireland in their long and arduous struggle for justice and co-equality for all Irish citizens.
As LGBT people we had been robbed of our birthright: Our absolute right to live and love as co-equals in our families, churches, towns, villages and the country of our birth. Many of us left our homeland not for work and employment, or education – as the Irish have done for centuries in their millions – but simply because those of us who are LGBT were not welcome. Ireland up and until now failed to honour its own Constitution in not “cherishing all her children equally.” On Friday May 22, 2015 this changed forever. We have broken the shackles of our colonial past and our colonial governance by the Roman Catholic Church.
We now know that whatever organised religion may say, that our way of loving is right. No holy communion is more holy than the human communion of two people in love. I believe that we can honestly assert that what we have learned first and foremost is that it is the oppression and repression of human sexual fulfilment that is the primary cause of sickness in our human communities, straight and gay.

OUR LOVE IS A GREAT GOOD

We know, in our heart of hearts, that our love sexually expressed is a great good. I have always believed from my many years of work in New York and London, primarily with gay men that HIV/Aids was a disease contacted primarily in the search for love, the search for touch. Our spiritual quest within how we love continues to present a radical challenge to religion and the State. We are right to declare that our responsible, non-exploitative explorations of these many possibilities and forms of relationship, which constitute the full potential of loving, are a gift we have to offer to human society at large. In our actions, and sometimes our sufferings, we give witness to the wrongness of the patriarchal heterosexist prescription of human erotic liberation.
There are times in our own imperfect lives when the veil parts between the two worlds we contain – our inner desire for a more divine destiny and the hard reality of our present circumstances. In his poem ‘Postscript’, Seamus Heaney writes about the sideways breeze off the ocean that catches us off guard and blows our hearts wide open.
Such glimpses have an edge to them, marking us forever. Brian Friel’s play, //Dancing at Lughnasa//, for example, features five sexually frustrated sisters in their County Donegal cottage in 1936. It is the time of the annual Celtic harvest festival named after the pagan god, Lugh. Things are not good. Disgrace and penury are killing their stifled souls. Dancing is the key metaphor of the play. In a most extraordinary burst of energy, the five women release their emotional and sexual suppression by dancing to a reel issuing from their new-fangled wireless (radio). It is a glimpse of unquenchable passions that comes from far beyond words.
These almost subliminal but breathtaking glimpses are all tiny incarnations of heaven’s promise that love lived and enfleshed is the answer to our human quest for happiness. Without this most human and humanising experience we forget and lose the way, the way of “truly seeing” as Daniel Berrigan put it. R.S. Thomas calls it “the turning aside like Moses to the miracles of the burning bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is a glimpse of the eternity of Love.”
Whether it be the wild dance across the fields of Ballybeg in Friel’s play, the human communion made holy in the body of a lover, or any of the countless daily acts of friendship that enable us to see into and beyond the immediate reality – transcending and transforming it into a new creation – they are all sustained and intensified by us in the flesh and blood, sweat and semen of our attempts to love each other as LGBT and straight people.

SEEKING OUT THE BEST

It is good to be a seeker. LGBT people have a particular penchant to seek the best, to go after the best, to give generously of their best. While seeking out the goodness of life and love is necessary, sooner or later we must become finders and give the gift we have found into the world.
To my mind this is our moment to gift the world proudly with our love. As Henri Nouwen, a gay brother and theologian, so eloquently put it: “The real conversion is the uncovering of the truth that it is safe to love.”
This is what binds us: Love. This is both sacred and playful for love is above all playful like Lady Wisdom in the Hebrew scriptures. As a people with an in-depth awareness of our own spirituality we know it is safe for us to be vulnerable to each other, to be available to each other, to surrender to each other, to suffer with each other.
“Love and do what you will,” Saint Augustine tells us. It is preposterous and an outrage against all of humanity that any two people have to ask to have their love recognised by the laws of the land. Our love for each other as couples is second to none. We are not better than heterosexual couples, but neither are we less than heterosexuals when we commit to live in covenants of love. Marriage and adoption are our right as a people co-equally made in the image and likeness of a loving creator.
We did not ask for favours or special treatment. We simply said as Irish citizens, our lives and our loves are as much part of what it is to be Irish, what it is to be human, as any and every person born in this land. Our fight for this right was a work of love not only for ourselves, but for all people who desire to live here in freedom, happiness and peace. We must wear our continued struggle for the freedom to love as a badge of honour and belongingness to the Earth from which we are made.
Ireland, you have taken a giant step. It is my most fervent wish that soon the land of my Spiritual birth – the United States of America – will do the same.

FATHER BERNÁRD LYNCH IS CO-CHAIR OF LONDON IRISH LGBT NETWORK

33 comments:

  1. I for one find stating to the obvious to be riviting !!!
    Dundalk Dan

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    1. Could you please translate the above into English?
      What are you trying to say, Dan?
      Pip

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    2. The problem with plain English Pip is that the sentiment can't be simplified anymore. If you can't understand plain English then I can't remedy that Pip. I think my comment was pretty clear. Dundalk Dan.

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    3. I cannot make sense out of this either - nor do four of my work colleagues!
      Perhaps you might try writing in Irish?

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    4. Spelling - riviting - ? - not so sharp either!

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    5. Well, clearly you know what I was saying if you know I mis-spelled it. LOL.

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    6. Golly! Dundalk Dan - you really have problems!
      Now I have found eleven people who cannot make sense of your English! Is it, perhaps, not your native languages?

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    7. Can't make sense of my English. Considering you can't understand the word, it is a wonder you know that I made a spelling error. Is this what most you can contribute to this post? A spelling error? Ironically, either spelled correctly or spelled as I have, pheonetically it sounds exactly the same. So if, as you claim, you are unable to understand it then English may not be your first language either. And you are correct. English is not my first language. So I apologize if you find my best effort to contribute to this blog so offensive. I wish you well in getting help for your zenophobia.

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  2. A load of codswallop from a delusional man who is no longer a Catholic priest though he insists on calling himself "Fr".

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  3. I will sum up the above blog in one word......'Apostasy' or as scripture says more than once 'everyone did that which was right in their own eyes'..... In other words they did it independently from God. Take it or leave it.

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    1. Very much agree - 22.43 & 18.
      Seriously deranged.
      I heard a priest say that Hell's National Anthem is
      I DId It My Way
      Unchanging Catholic - Pip

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    2. I wouldn't say it's apostacy. It's just Pat Buckley. He's spent the past week claiming he knows this and he's got that and written to the Archbishop about the other and in the end he scratches around and finds/publishes something so outdated and pretty much (as a previous commentater said,) 'stating the obvious'. Nothing new. Nothing interesting. Nothing particularly relevant.

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    3. I agree Pip. You could have more respect for these guys if they decided they don't agree with the Church and just leave, but they don't/won't go away and get on with it. They shout from the sidelines and become obsessed with the church they have rejected themselves freely, mind you they attack it while still retaining the perceived status their priesthood gave them by still calling themselves "Father". I would have more respect if they just left the church, roll up their sleeves and get to whatever work they feel called to. I can't help but feeling they keep attacking the Church because secretly they still want to be in it. But in the battle between obedience and pride, their pride has won out - and they can't cope with that fact. That's my humble opinion anyway.

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    4. Hey all. Fist time commenting on this blog so go easy on me. The thing is, that this guy says in voting in favour of gay marriage they have broken away from the Roman Catholic Church. He then congratulates them for it. The congratulation is odd, because where does he think they will now go; to Pat Buckley? (They won't) To him? (They won't) To a church of Protestant or Evangelical tradition? (No. Because most of these Churches will have also been against marriage equality). It's pretty clear to me that they won't go anywhere. They will drift into disbelief in R.Catholicism, and then Christianity. Perhaps the next generation will decide they don't need God's blessing on their union and select a registry office, maybe they won't bother having their children baptised. Then a generation later they will be purely aetheist like the British where God/Faith play no role in their life. Is this what this guy is congratulating the Irish on? Taking a firm step away from God and toward a post-Christian/Atheist nation? It seems a bizarre thing for any spiritual man who claims to have dedicated his life to God to congratulate people on. Or am I mistaken? Has the vote for marriage equality and breaking away from the Catholic Church started a stampede to other Christian Churches? Have they become Jewish or Muslim? I don't believe so. Happy to be corrected if anyone has statistics that suggests different. I don't think this man has considered quite what he is saying/what he is congratulating the Irish on. (Rob, Newry)

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    5. I actually think Rob is totally correct in what he says. It reminds me of a vlogger video i saw the other day. It was regarding that ridiculous trans people being allowed to use any locker rooms law in American. They said as with Marriage Equality, the trans locker room law is never about the issue, it's about the revolution. Satan wants to create chaos in the world. Its to blur lines and break down barriers between order and disorder. I feel that this 'priest' is not so much concerned with what happens to the Irish who he says have rejected their faith. He would rather them to have no faith than to belong to the Roman Catholic Church. He would rather they go to hell, than to believe in the Catholic Church. It tells me that he is not interested in congratulating the people for doing what is right. And he doesn't seem to care about where they go from here: as long as they aren't Roman Catholic. That is all that matters. Anything that scatters the flock is not from God. Christ did not set up the Church for us to triumph in leading people away from it. And I don't just mean the Roman Catholic Church. He is probably equally happy for people to walk away from any Christian Church.

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    6. I agree. I think that most people leaving the RC Church will go to no other church.

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    7. So why would you congratulate them on leaving the Church Pat when you know they will end up having no faith. Would you personally rather people have no faith at all than to be Roman Catholic? That is the big question. This priest clearly thinks so. What is your view Pat?

      (PS. Yes I know Pat that the priest has, and not you. but by posting it you must agree with him. So I am interested in your view)

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  4. Could Bishop Buckley give statistics of the percentages of people who are homosexual og lesbian. I am close to 79 years of age and only know of two - one of each. I have no problem with them and friendly with them as is our priest!
    We take them as we find them!!!
    Pip

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    1. If Pat trundles out the 1 in 10 statistic that gay rights campaigners insist on quoting even though it has been disparaged and discredited by every respected source, I will lose total respect for him.

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    2. What percentage of people are gay? There are all kinds of figures given by all kinds of people.

      Personally I think about 4 -5% of people are gay - that's 4 or 5 in every 100.

      Of course I stand to be corrected.

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    3. What is gay or lesbian. As far as I am aware sexuality is not binary. You are not either hetro or homo sexual. Sexuality is a spectrum. Someone can be just slightly curious of the same sex but not feel the need to explore or they can be totally 100 per cent homosexual. I think very few are 100 percent one way or the other. Don't forget Pip a lot of gay people are private and either don't tell anyone or tell very few. A lot remain celibate all their lives, like myself, and are totally content with it. So you really don't know who is gay or lesbian and who is straight. And the problem of what you consider gay or lesbian makes it very difficult to say. But I think it is interesting that after all the ground swell of support to allow gay people to marry in RoI hardly anyone has. it makes you wonder why all the fuss to get marriage equality. Given that you would have expected the first year of marriage equality to be a tidal wave of gay couples getting married, perhaps next year there will be no gay marriages at all. I have to say I don't actually know any gay friends or couples were are that bothered about marriage equality. It seems to be more an issue for politically correct heterosexuals. That's my experience anyway.

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  5. I agree Ireland has broken the link in principal with the R C Hierarchy. But there is nothing concrete to take its place. Ireland is like a field of sheep without a shepherd. Many sensible people comment on here. Is there the kernel of a group people could come to trust

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    1. Just as the late, great Fulton Sheen said; Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right even if nobody is right. Just because the Irish voted for Gay Marriage does not make it right.

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    2. It is a little known fact that in the Republic of Ireland it is illegal for a Down Syndrome person to get married. I recall a discussion on the news following the referendum where the family of a Down Syndrome man talked about how their family member was denied marriage equality. It is interesting that all these social activists who feel so strongly about Marriage Equality seemed to lose interest in the equality of anyone else. They weren't actually interested in true marriage equality, they just want Gay marriages. It struck me as interesting.

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    3. I have a friend with Downs Syndrome whom I have known since childhood. His parents have now passed away and he lives in supported accommodation in Ireland. He has a girlfriend. Im not sure what level their relationship is at-its none of my business. If they wanted to marry I dont see why not-they have capacity.

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  6. I went to Mass today in a Church where I never attended previously. The priest did his best and made a great effort to engage with the people, especially the children who had just made their First Holy Communion and Confirmation. However, I felt the real presence of Jesus was in the faith and devotion of the people present. This parish would be classed in socio-economic terms as one of the poorest and most disadvantaged in the country. However, I was struck by the richness of Christ's presence in the people. I don't find that in many congregations. I think Jesus is more at home in people who are humble and have no pretensions about themselves.He was poor himself and had little time for pretentious nonsense.
    In my humble opinion,the clergy are limping behind the people. Most people have no interest in church politics or in the finer points of theology. While the powers that be vie for the key positions and wrangle about canon law, the real faith is lived out in the people. No doubt there are good and holy priests, human ones too, but being a cleric carries a lot of risk. It can lead to a sense of pride and entitlement, self-importance, self-delusion even. The priest is an essential part of the Eucharistic celebration, but so are the people. I think clericalism has done the Church little good and is largely synonymous with pharisaism in the minds of many. People have lost trust and faith in priests and with good reason. Priesthood will always be essential to the life of the Church but it needs an overhaul.The seminary system doesn't seem to correspond well to the modern world. It seems to be producing ideologues rather than pastors in many instances.

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    1. I agree with you that the "sheep" are way ahead of the "shepherds".

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    2. Well the point of seminary is to educate and prepare. You can't expect a priest to study for a couple of years and have the answers to everything. It is only through getting out among the people and actually ministering to people that priests develop. I think you are being a bit unfair to priests and to the seminary system to expect them to churn out fully formed pastors. It's like expecting handing a medical student a scalpal on graduation day and sending them off to be a neuro-surgeon. It's not realistic and not fair to expect it. When you meet those wise old priests, don't assume they were that wise at birth. It's through life experience.

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    3. I don't think you can be a good pastor without first being grounded in your faith. You need to be able to be trained for the life and to know your faith more deeply than an ordinary person. You are the head of the congregation and your advice will be sought by people. You can't tell them you don't know the answer to their question but you are fantastic at holding their hand. it's not an either/or situation. Be a great pastor or be grounded and knowledgeable of the faith. You need both. You learn the latter in seminary and the former is developed through experience.

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    4. Well, when the shephard starts allowing himself to be led by the sheep rather than the shephard leading the sheep I think it is evident there will be a disaster.

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    5. Sorry. those posts (15.32 and 15.29) are mine. I should say that I think the men themselves have to take some responsibility. No matter what the training a priest is as good a priest as they want to me. My impression with some priests such as Timothy Bartlett (and I am sure there are others I can't think of) they don't seem to have any interest in being a pastor or being grounded in their faith. They are career priests. If they weren't priests they would be CEOs or Bank Managers. But they figured that the Catholic Church is a good career move. Perhaps I am horribly misjudging them but they seem only interested in moving up the clerical ladder, making bishop, having a bit of power. I don't know anything about Tim Bartlett but does he actually do any ministry? Is he in a parish? Does he go out to do sick calls or pop into the hospital to visit the sick? If he does then I deeply apologise for this comment. But my strong suspicion is that he does zero ministry. He is only in it for the kudos. That's not to say there aren't amazing priests out there. (Rob Newry)

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    6. Tim Bartlett is a briefcase cleric, desperate to be a bishop. Heaven preserve the Church from his dream coming true.

      He has never done a day's pastoral work in his life and he inveigled himself into Armagh, from Down and Connor, making himself indispensable to the walking, talking disaster that was Cardinal Sean Brady.

      Bartlett doubtlessly thought that "stage-managing" and spin-doctoring even a hapless liability of a Cardinal like Sean Baptist, would be a sure ticket to his own being raised to "the dignity of the episcopate".

      Well, we can see how well his managing Sean Brady turned out!!! Eamon Martin sent him back home to Down and Connor. Armagh says "good riddance" and, to D&C, "keep him"!!! The D&C priests, of course, don't want him either!

      Noel Treanor has had to invent high-falutin roles and titles for 'wannabe-a-bishop' Bartlett, who is too precious to get his hands dirty and cufflinks tarnished in a parish, doing an honest day's pastoral work.

      It's pathetic but the Church is riddled with such men who came to be served and not to serve. Ultimately, they are serving and pleasing themselves.

      TB reminds me of a saying attributed to St John XXIII: "there would appear to be a shortage of vocations to the priest; but there is no shortage of priests who feel they have a vocation to the episcopate!"

      Armagh Sagart.

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    7. Pat the Sheep are ahead of the Shepherds but can they find a safe field to pitch their tents

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