Bishop to speak out on Catholic Church’s stance on gay issues

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The Bishop of Lancaster will publish a review of the Catholic Church this month that will condemn the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for its stance on same-sex relationships.

Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue writes in his review: “I must register… my disappointment that our Bishop’s Conference recently could not agree a collegial response to the Government’s legislation on same-sex adoption,” The Telegraph reports.

O’Donoghue claims that the Conference’s statements were “flat and safe at a time when we need passionate and courageous public statements that dare to speak the full truth in love.”

The Conference’s most recent Equality and Diversity Guidelines (2004) state that:

“The Catholic community includes people of heterosexual, homosexual and bi-sexual orientation.

“Every human being, whatever his or her sexual orientation, has the right to live a life free from discrimination and harassment, and we welcome new legislation which protects this right.

“Moreover, people of all sexual orientations have a right to take a full and active part in the life of the Catholic community.

“Catholic teaching, of course, makes a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual activity, and it holds that all men and women are called to a life of chastity, and to fidelity if they choose to marry.

“Catholic organisations and institutions ask their members and staff to respect this teaching.

“In reaching a balance between individuals’ private and family lives and their responsibilities within the organisation consideration may need to be given to the nature of the role and organisation in question.”

Bishop O’Donoghue’s review will also attack what he sees as bureaucracy within the conference.

He claims that this divides major issues into “areas of responsibility” for particular bishops, leaving other bishops “reluctant … to speak out on these issues, as if somehow they had handed over their competence in these areas to the responsible bishops and his particular committee.”