Monday, September 22, 2014

Out and About – Summer 2014


As I write this the autumnal equinox is taking place in the northern hemisphere. In other words, summer is ending and autumn (or fall) is beginning.

During the autumnal equinox, the sun can be seen at its zenith before its direct rays shift into the Southern Hemisphere for the next six months. Neither of Earth’s hemispheres is tilted toward the sun, which results in roughly twelve hours of daylight and darkness at all latitudes (but not exactly, as Joe Rao explains here).

Given how much of my spirituality resonates with themes and images of journey, balance, and transformation, I find myself drawn to this meteorological event and moreover to Cliff Séruntine's eloquent and insightful reflections on it.

September: Time of the darkening equinox, the balance between sun and shadow. Full of the magic of change – not always a comfortable magic. Its twilight empties the heart of its mortal dream. Yet, September is not a bleak month, but a time of transformation. There is no dream as fair as the host rushing “twixt night and day,” a symbol of the continuance of life in the Otherworld. This is the Celtic spiral of life – death and rebirth. This balance . . . it is the mystery of the time of the Autumnal Equinox.


In light of all of this, the autumnal equinox seems an appropriate time to pause and take a look back on the past summer, a looking back that I periodically do as part of The Wild Reed "Out and About" series of posts. I began the first of these series in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay Catholic man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the Church and the world. I've continued the series in one form or another every year since – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Let me begin this Summer 2014 installment by saying something that will be obvious to anyone who follows this blog on a regular basis. And that is this: some of the ways I embody God’s justice and compassion in the Church and the world, especially as they relate to my work life, are changing – and have been changing since around 2011, perhaps earlier. You'll get a sense of this below, but let me say that even though some of these changes have recently become quite clear, where they are leading me remains not so clear. It's a time of transformation, which, as Cliff Séruntine notes above, is not always comfortable. But I'm dealing with it, living through it in a spirit of hope and trust. And that's the important thing.

I'm also living through it in a spirit of deep gratitude for my family in Australia and my many friends here in the U.S. – many of which, though by no means all, you'll see in the following images.



For the first time in years I didn't work at the annual Twin Cities Pride festival. By this I mean the organization for which I serve as executive coordinator, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), didn't have an informational booth at this year's festival, held in Loring Park, Minneapolis on the weekend of June 28-29. This was because, after 34 years, CPCSM is in the process of disbanding. This isn't a bad thing. As I explain here, after many groundbreaking achievements the organization has run its course . . . and there are two local groups capable of continuing much of the work CPCSM pioneered. These groups are the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (which CPCSM helped co-found in 2009) and Dignity Twin Cities (from which CPCSM grew out of in 1980).

As you can see from the photo above, Dignity Twin Cities had a presence at the 2014 Twin Cities Pride festival. That's my friend and Dignity USA associate director Jim Smith pictured at left. Jim served with me and others on the board of the 2010-2013 CPCSM initiative, Catholics for Marriage Equality MN, which played an important role in securing marriage equality in Minnesota.



Above: Hello, boys! Two attendees at this year's Twin Cities Pride festival in Loring Park, Minneapolis – Saturday, June 28, 2014.

For The Wild Reed's 2014 Queer Appreciation series, see:
Same-Sex Desires: "Immanent and Essential Traits Transcending Time and Culture"
Lisa Leff on Five Things to Know About Transgender People
Steven W. Thrasher on the Bland and Misleading "Gay Inc" Treatment of the Struggle to Overturn Prop 8
Chris Mason Johnson's Test: A Film that "Illuminates Why Queer Cinema Still Matters"
Sister Teresa Forcades on Queer Theology
Omar Akersim: Muslim and Gay
Catholics Make Their Voices Heard on LGBTQ Issues




Above: My young friend Joey at his senior violin recital – Saturday, June 28, 2014.

I've known Joey since he was a toddler! It's been a pleasure and honor to watch him grow up to be the very thoughtful and talented young man that he is. And now that he's turned 18 and graduated from high school, he's embarking on a whole new chapter of his life. I wish you all the best, Joey!

Regular readers of this blog would know that over the years Joey, his mother Kathleen, and I have made some memorable road trips together – to St. Louis, Wisconsin, Trempealeau Mountain, Kansas City, and Pahá Sápa (the Black Hills of South Dakota).



Above: Joey with our mutual friend Brigid McDonald, CSJ.



Right: With friends Greg and Roman at Joey's recital.




Left: With my dear friends Brigid McDonald, CSJ, and Rita McDonald, CSJ.





Above: Joey's mother, Kathleen (second from left) with Roman (second from right) and Brent and Lisa.

Kathleen, Brent and Lisa all served on the board of CPCSM/C4ME-MN.



Above: My friend Raul – July 4, 2014.


Right: With friends Walter and Raul – July 4, 2014.



Above: July 4th celebrations in Minneapolis.



Above: Friends Michael and Paul on their wedding day – July 19, 2014.





Above: A participant in the August 5, 2014 mourning ritual to mark Tisha B'Av.

Tisha B'Av is a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem as well as other tragedies throughout Jewish history. On August 5 I joined with around 50 Twin Cities-area Jews and their supporters in Minneapolis to mourn the tragedy of the destruction of Gaza and what organizers declared the Israeli government's "ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and the deprivation of Palestinians' human rights."

For more photos and commentary on this event, click here.

See also the related Wild Reed posts:
Something to Think About – July 18, 2014
"We Will Come Together in Our Pain"
Thoughts on Prayer in a "Summer of Strife"




Above: Celebrating my friend George's birthday – August 19, 2014. From left: George, Joan, me, and Raul.



Above: Joanne, Johan, Joan, Karla, Lucinda,and Raul.



Above: My friend Phil with his niece Amelia – Saturday, August 23, 2014.



Above: With Phil and friends Anna and Tina at the Red Stag in northeast Minneapolis – Thursday, August 28, 2014.



Above: Friends Carmen, Liana, and Phil – Sunday, August 24, 2014. We're on the rooftop of Carmen and her partner Mark's apartment building. That's the new Minnesota Vikings' stadium being built in the background.



Above: My friend (and Phil's dad) John with his granddaughter Amelia – September 7, 2014.



Above: My friend Curtis with his (very happy) daughter Amelia.




Left: Ziggy!



Right: The always dignified-looking Quinn.



Above: Eddie the "wonder dog"! For more images of Eddie, click here and here.



Left: Julianna.



Above: Friends Curtis and Liana with their daughter Amelia (and Eddie!). You may recall that I had the honor of officiating at Curtis and Liana's wedding last summer.



Above: John with (from left) Quinn, Ziggy, and Eddie.



Above: Just one sunflower came up this year in my garden . . . but it was a beauty!

For another picture, click here.





Above: On Sunday, August 31, a number of friends and I celebrated the birthday of our mutual friend Angela, pictured at right with my good friend and housemate Tim.




Left: With my friend Amy – August 31, 2014.







Above and right: On the evening of Thursday, September 11, 2014, my good friend Joan and I saw the phenomenal Lisa Fischer in concert at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis.

Here's just a little of what the Star Tribune's music critic Jon Bream says about Fischer's performance:

Lisa Fischer’s voice has filled stadiums and arenas around the world. But she brought art-songs, not arena rock, to the Dakota Jazz Club Thursday for two sold-out shows. The evening will certainly rank among the year's most musically satisfying and rewarding performances.

Twenty-three years after scoring a No. 1 R&B song and a Grammy for her debut album, Fischer has undertaken her first solo tour. She’s been mostly a backup singer for The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Sting, Nine Inch Nails, Luther Vandross and others. But the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary about background singers, 20 Feet from Stardom, unexpectedly made her a star.

Her magnificent voice was on display at the Dakota, a wondrous instrument that can seamlessly blend classical, jazz, soul, gospel, rock and folk into the same song and sometimes the same sentence. What she didn’t do in the 95-minute first set was cut loose like she does at Stones concert. She didn’t have to.

She mesmerized, haunted and seduced with nuance, dynamics and remarkable inventiveness. She inhabits her songs, taking listeners on a journey filled with generous heart, soul and spirituality, whether interpreting Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” as spaced out jazz infused with gospel, soul and Afro-jazz or the Stones’ “Jumpin Jack Flash” as a slow-burn Southern soul song.



Earlier in the summer Joan and I saw Rufus Wainwright (left) in concert at the Minnesota Zoo Ampitheater.

Notes Ryan Jasurda in his review of Wainwright's June 24 performance:

Rufus is no stranger to playing the Weesner Family Ampitheater at the Minnesota Zoo , and he made it known, calling the stage in front of the lake “dramatic,” as if the shiny suit was but an ironic touch. All flair aside, Rufus gave the nearly sold-out crowd his bread and butter. He began the set with a few piano tunes, only to move to the acousic guitar—an instrument he is far less proficient at—for the majority of his nearly two hour set. Mixing songs old and new, Wainwright gave the adoring crowd everything they needed.


Well, that last part's definitely an overstatement, but it was still an enjoyable evening of music.



Above and below: At an apple orchard just outside of Hastings, MN, with friends Tim, Curtis, Liana, and little Amelia!




Above: Late summer blooms.

For more images of summer beauty, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Summer Light
Photo of the Day – August 11, 2014
Photo of the Day – August 26, 2014
Summer Blooms




Above and below: I feel very fortunate to live so close to Minnehaha Creek and its surrounding areas of parkland and urban wilderness.






Summer 2014 Posts of Note:
Prayer and the Experience of God in an Ever-Unfolding Universe
Has Archbishop Nienstedt's "Shadow" Finally Caught Up With Him?
Roman Catholicism's Fundamental Problem: The Cultic Priesthood and Its "Diseased System" of Clericalism
How Can I Tell You?
Thoughts on Prayer in a "Summer of Strife"
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence
James Foley: "Prayer Was the Glue That Enabled My Freedom, An Inner Freedom"
"Even in This Darkness"
Debunking Paul Johnson's Gay Reading of Song of Songs
"Can You See the Lark Ascending?" – A Compilation of Reviews of Kate Bush's Triumphant Return to the Stage
Visions of Crazy Horse: Depictions of the "Strange Man of the Oglalas" in Art, Film, and Sculpture
Memet Bilgin and the Art of Restoring Balance
A Visit to the Weisman
Louis Crompton on the "Theological Assault" of the Ulpianic-Thomistic Conception of Natural Law

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Spring 2014
Out and About – Winter 2013-2014


Friday, September 19, 2014

Quote of the Day


There are many with a deep and abiding understanding of the depth and breadth of the climate, economic, ecological, social, political crisis we are facing and its common twisted roots. They will not just travel to New York [this weekend to participate in the People's Climate March] and then go quietly home afterwards feeling satisfied and personally redeemed.

They will be there, some long beforehand, doing the serious heavy lifting required to build a movement. They will be participating in the "Convergence for People, Planet and Peace Over Profit", discussing strategy, sharing knowledge and forging plans for the future monumental task that is "System Change Not Climate Change". They will link up to learn from and build solidarity with frontline communities and activists at The People's Summit.

They will stick around after the march to get on with the relentlessly demanding work of building the "post-march world" which means moving mountains, confronting the criminal corporate behemoths, speaking truth to power, putting their hearts, souls and lives on the line to make and shape a just, peaceful, healthy and yes, even potentially beautiful, future.

What less can we aspire to?

Those who will take on this task are mothers and fathers who care for future generations. They are people who cannot simply accept the drowning of nations and starvation and violent obliteration of millions. They are people who cherish and understand the intricate grace of nature and mourn its brutally evident dying. They are those who can still hear the voices of their ancestors calling on them to live honorably as stewards on this earth.

They are people who understand that climate change is not just one among an army of issues, but rather it is the "perfect storm" of all issues—a sum greater than all its parts, spawned by a convergence of abuses: from wars and genocides to drilling, pumping, burning and mining the place to ruins, from racism, sexism and colonialism, to spewing toxic chemicals, mowing down ecosystems and poisoning the oceans.

Climate Change is not just an "inconvenience" to be resolved by plugging into some other currency of extraction ("sustainable, green and renewable" energy). It is the defining context of our lives and of this time in the history of life on earth.

– Rachel Smolker
Excerpted from "After the Climate March, Then What?"
Huffington Post via Common Dreams
September 19, 2014


UPDATES:
New York Climate March Draws Hundreds of Thousands – Barbara Goldberg and Natasja Sheriff (Reuters via Yahoo! News, September 21, 2014).
Inside the Biggest Climate March in History – Tim McDonnell and James West (Mother Jones, September 21, 2014).
18 Witty Signs and Costumes from the People's Climate March – Max Knoblauch (Mashable, September 21, 2014).
Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Crisis Sit-In – Jennifer Peltz (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, September 22, 2014).
After People’s Climate March, Thousands Re-Kindle Occupy Wall Street – Joshua Holland and John Light (BillMoyers.com, September 23, 2014).



Image: Michael Polard (Mother Jones).


Related Off-site Links:
A People’s Climate Movement: Indigenous, Labor, Faith Groups Prepare for Historic MarchDemocracy Now! (September 19, 2014).
Climate Change You Can Believe In – Bill Moyers and Michael Winship (Common Dreams, September 19, 2014).
Making the Connection: The Peoples Climate March and International Day of Peace – Robert Dodge (Common Dreams, September 19, 2014).
A Climate Week to Change Everything – Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan (Democracy Now!, September 18, 2014).
Errors and Emissions: Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free? – Paul Krugman (New York Times, September 18, 2014).
Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on the Need for a New Economic Model to Address Ecological CrisisDemocracy Now! (September 18, 2014).
The Left vs. the Climate: Why Progressives Should Reject Naomi Klein's Pastoral Fantasy — and Embrace Our High-Energy Planet – Will Boisvert (The Breakthrough, September 18, 2014).
Pope Francis' Radical Environmentalism – Tara Isabella Burton (The Atlantic, July 11, 2014).
Pope Francis, the Environment, and the U.S. – Michael Sean Winters (National Catholic Reporter, July 14, 2014).
Eight Pseudo-scientific Climate Claims Debunked by Real Scientists – Joshua Holland (BillMoyers.com, May 16, 20140.
Will We Adjust to Life on a Finite Planet or Continue Devouring Our Future? – Chris Hedges (TruthOut.org, January 14, 2013).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Superstorm Sandy: A 'Wake-Up Call' on Climate Change
Quote of the Day – May 31, 2011
Threshold Musings
A Creative Exploration of the "Spiritual Dialectic of WONDER?!"

Opening image: Recent flooding in Kashmir has lead to hundreds of deaths and hundreds of thousands of evacuations. (Photo: Svenska Röda Korset)


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Louis Crompton on the "Theological Assault" of the Ulpianic-Thomistic Conception of Natural Law (Part I)

My theologian friend Terry Dosh is downsizing his library and recently offered me a number of his books. One of the titles I accepted was Homosexuality and Civilization by Louis Crompton (pictured at right). Described by Q Syndicate columnist Richard Labonte as a "master work of interpretive scholarship," Homosexuality and Civilization is a readily accessible book that deftly and entertainingly examines how major civilizations of the last two millennia have treated people attracted to their own sex. In its review of the book, Amazon.com notes that "in a narrative tour de force, Crompton chronicles the lives and achievements of homosexual men and women alongside a darker history of persecution, as he compares the Christian West with the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, Arab Spain, imperial China, and pre-Meiji Japan."

In the following excerpt (the first of two) Crompton examines the "theological assault" on homosexuality, indeed on human sexuality in general, that is the understanding of natural law formulated by theologian Thomas Aquinas. It's an understanding that is built, in part, on the third century Roman jurist Ulpian. As Crompton notes, Aquinas' magisterial work Summa Theologiae, which wedded Catholic theology with Aristotle, systematized and rationalized the church's long-held opinions on (and thus hostility towards) any form of non-procreative sexual expression, including homosexuality. It's an "assault" that continues to this day as the Ulpianic-Thomistic conception of natural law remains the underlying philosophical and theological presuppositions for the Vatican's teaching on human sexuality.

Of course, in light of human experience and the findings of science, these presuppositions and the teachings that stem from them are now widely recognized as erroneous and inadequate. They also remain potentially fatal – especially for LGBT people. After all, for centuries, homosexuals were publicly put to death in horrendous ways for living lives contrary to what was deemed "natural" by the church's clerical caste. As Crompton notes in his book's preface, "A candid examination [indicates] that, from the very birth of Christianity, a hatred existed fully comparable to the hatred directed at pagans and Jews in the first millennium and at heretics, Jews, and witches in the first seven centuries of the second. Certainly, the resulting deaths were in this case fewer, but the rhetorical condemnations were violent in the extreme and chillingly insistent on the need for the death penalty." Today the hierarchy's homo-negativity impacts LGBT people, and youth in particular, in more subtle though no less potentially fatal ways.

I share this excerpt from Homosexuality and Civilization as part of The Wild Reed's ongoing exploration of natural-law theory. For alternatives to the Ulpianic-Thomistic approach, see The Wild Reed's series, "Beyond the Hierarchy: Liberating Catholic Insights on Sexuality."


In 1120 a joint council of church and state held in the Near East was an ominous harbinger of the future. Crusading Norman and French knights had carved out a kingdom in the Holy Land after their capture of Jerusalem in 1099, but their position there was hardly secure. Gormund, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, lamented that beleaguered Christians dared not go even a mile outside the towns they occupied. In 1119 forces under Roger of Antioch had suffered an especially devastating defeat on the so-called Field of Blood, a reversal that seems to have kindled the same kind of siege mentality that had infected Carolingian society three centuries earlier.

Church and state now cooperated in a council that met at Nablus, a historic town thirty miles north of Jerusalem, with a mixed population of Franks, Samaritans, and Muslims. Though the meeting ranked formally as a church council, it was in fact a quasi-political assembly of ecclesiastical and secular officeholders, presided over jointly by King Baldwin III and Gormund. As at the Council of Paris, military anxieties led to harsh morals legislation and several statutes on homosexuality. Active and passive partners were both to be burned. Male rape victims were spared only if they had "cried out loudly," but they still had to perform a religious penance; if a man was raped twice, he might be burned as a consenting sodomite. Self-confessed sodomites were to do penance for the first offense and to be exiled after a second confession. It has been conjectured that concerns about same-sex relations in the Holy Land sprang from several sources: their well-publicized prevalence among the Normans, the fear that crusaders would adopt the freer mores of the Islamic East, and the scarcity of Christian women.

A council held in far-off Palestine would, of course, be remote from the centers of European affairs. But the Third Lateran Council, which met in Rome in 1179, also raised the issue of homosexuality. Convened by Alexander III to deal with his conflict with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, it was the grandest council the Latin church had yet seen. It addressed the growing threat of heresy, made new rules for papal elections, decreed that no one might (like John of Orléans) be made a bishop before the age of thirty, and issued decrees on sodomy. Canon 11 declared that married clergy should lose their benefices and that priests "involved in that incontinence which is against nature" should be deposed from clerical office and relegated to a monastery to do penance.

By this decree errant priests were hidden from public view and spared secular punishment. Laymen faced a much more severe fate, since the same canon provided that they should be "excommunicated and completely isolated from contact with believers." In the medieval world, excommunication could have dire consequences. In Denmark, Aragon, and the German empire, for instance, it could mean a sentence of death if the secular authorities chose to act.

Far more important, however, than such canons in definitively fixing the church's stance on homosexuality was a magisterial work, completed in 1267-1273, which sought to reconcile faith and reason by wedding Catholic theology with Aristotle. this was the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Though he had earlier been suspected of heresy, Thomas was finally canonized in the fourteenth century, and in 1879 his writings were recognized by Leo XIII as the official philosophy of the Catholic Church. There is, however, nothing innovative about Aquinas' judgment of homosexuality; here the Summa systematizes and rationalizes long-held opinions.

The distinguishing feature of the Summa is its attempt to justify traditional Christian morality by an appeal to natural law. Thus, Aquinas both embraces Old Testament standards and develops a philosophical point of view he thinks has validity quite apart from scripture. Accordingly, he classifies "unnatural" sex acts into four categories according to their seriousness. First is "solitary sin" or masturbation; second, heterosexual intercourse in the "wrong vessel" (that is, anal or oral intercourse) or in the wrong position; third "sodomy," that is, relations with the wrong sex; and finally, most sinful of all, bestiality.

Aquinas' condemnation of homosexuality as unnatural rests on two principles of natural law, both as ancient as Plato's Laws. The first was the theory that animals do not engage in same-sex behavior, and the second was the fact that it is non-procreative. The doctrine of natural law has been enshrined in Roman law by the third-century jurist Ulpian, who in a passage incorporated into Justinian's Digest had defined natural law as "what nature has taught all animals." "This law," Ulpian declares, "is not unique to the human race but common to all animals born on land or sea and to birds as well. From it comes the union of male and female which we call marriage, as well as the procreation of children and their proper rearing. We see in fact that all other animals, even wild beasts, are regulated bu understanding of this law." Though Ulpian speaks only of heterosexual pairings, Aquinas, in the Summa, turns his definition into an implicit condemnation of homosexuality, declaring that some "special sins are against nature, as, for instance, those that run counter to the intercourse of male and female natural to animals, and so are peculiarly qualified as unnatural vices."

All this points to a broader question, again as old as the Greeks: is it really appropriate to take animals as our models? Animal behavior may be admirable or horrifying. Whatever our concern for other species, most people would regard most human achievements as something distinct from animal behavior. Charles Curran, commenting on the use of the Ulpianic-Thomistic conception of natural law in Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical on contraception, has suggested that "a proper understanding of the human should start with that which is proper to humans . . . Ulpian's concept of natural law logically falsifies the understanding of the human." Obviously, an appeal to animal behavior as a guide to morals under the rubric of natural law is open to a multitude of reservations.

Today, modern biological science has raised another objection. Extensive research has shown that same-sex behavior is quite common in the animal world. Zoologists publishing in scientific journals have documented same-sex activity among more than 450 species "in every major geographical region and in every major animal group." These include groups as diverse as gorillas, elephants, lions, dolphins, antelopes, kangaroos, llamas, warthogs, gulls, and turtles. Indeed, the "natural" world seems deliberately designed to confound natural-law moralists, for not only do hundreds of species engage in every kind of same-sex eroticism but more than one-third form male or female couples, bond as devoted pairs, and on occasion feed, protect, and rear young.


COMING SOON: Part II


For more on natural law at The Wild Reed see:
Aquinas and Homosexuality
Daniel Helminiak on the Vatican's Natural Law Mistake
Nathanial Frank on the "Natural Law" Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage
Homosexuality is Not Unnatural
Rediscovering What Has Been Written on Our Hearts from the Very Beginning
Dialoguing with the Archbishop on Natural Law
Spirituality and the Gay Experience
Joan Timmerman and the "Wisdom of the Body"
Good News on the Road to Emmaus
Relationship: The Crucial Factor in Sexual Morality
Liberated to Be Together
The Blood-Soaked Thread

See also The Wild Reed series, “Perspectives on Natural Law,” featuring the insights of:
Herbert McCabe, OP
Judith Web Kay
Daniel Helminiak
Garry Wills
Gregory Baum
William C. McDonough


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

The tragic story [of sixteen-year-old Sergio Urrego's suicide] is why it matters that discussions of Catholic families include discussions of gay Catholic families. And of Catholic families who have gay members.

And of Catholic institutions whose coldness and brutality towards those who are gay can make a life-or-death difference, especially for vulnerable young people.

– William D. Lindsey
"Another Suicide of Gay Teen: Catholic Context"
Bilgrimage
September 15, 2014


Related Off-site Links:
Gay Teen Commits Suicide After Being Outed and Harassed by Catholic School Officials – Adrian Garcia (The Gaily Grind, September 11, 2014).
The Makeup of Synod of Bishops on the Family is Disappointing – Thomas Reese (National Catholic Reporter, September 10, 2014).
Pope Francis’ Course and Crew for Synod Family Sail Can Sink the Vatican Titanic – Jerry Slevin (Christian Catholicism, September 2014).
How LGBT-Friendly Are the Appointees to the Synod on Marriage and Family? – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, September 11, 2014).
The Ways of Love: International Conference Towards Pastoral Care with Homosexual and Trans People – October 3, 2014Ways of Love (September 2014).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Minnesota Catholics, LGBT Students, and the Ongoing Work of Creating Safe and Supportive Schools
Confronting Classroom Homophobia
Making Sure All Families Matter
The Blood-Soaked Thread

Image: Source.