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If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Telephone 619-354-6466 or 858-945-2235
GLBT Community Outreach
Our parishes focus our commitment as individuals, and as a Church, on growing and maturing in the grace of God so that our living faith might be accompanied by the works of compassion and forgiveness that characterize God's Kingdom. It is the spirit of life that invigorates our bodies: so also our works of service to God animate our Christian faith (James 2:25). We trust that all our endeavors - in the presentations, classes, study-groups, and workshops that make up our ministry in the Church - will enable us to better witness to Christ in our lives, empowering the members of our parishes to serve those in the world who are equally precious in God's eyes because we are all of us sisters and brothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Increasing numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people are taking a closer look at the Catholic Church of America because we reach out to all of God's people in equal faction. Many are beginning to reclaim their membership in the Body of Christ and the Church. Many are discovering in the Church, a spirit of openness.
Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ. "Therefore... we are members of one another." (Ephesians 4:25) Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body." (I Corinthians 12:13)
Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and grounded in Catholic moral and social justice tradition, our Ministries are a resource and network of pastoral care regardless of sexual orientation on individuals and their families.
Our ministry respects the human dignity and human rights and sees our sexuality as a gift from God, and affirms that all who are baptized are called to full participation in the life, worship and mission of the church.
"By the grace of God I am what I am, and God's grace to me has not been without effect." (I Corinthians 15:10)
Members of the GLBT Community of the Catholic tradition are often tempted to abandon their faith and the practice of their religion out of anger against a Church in which they feel unwelcome. The Catholic Church of America though invites all people to worship in a mutually supportive atmosphere. We invite other members of the Church Universal to dialogue and understanding in order to heal this brokenness within the Church’s community.
As faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we have been incorporated into His body by our baptism. Our ministry is based on justice and charity. At the same time, we must accept our own responsibility to live lives based on virtue and good conscience. We fully accept both the comfort and the challenge of our faith. Like all Christians, we strive to be earnest seekers after the truth.
It is in this spirit, the faith community of the Catholic Church of America addresses itself to the members of the Church Universal. From the substantial store of our ministry experience, we offer the following counsels. We urge all involved in ministry and teaching to give this advice serious consideration and to join us in the necessary work of reconciliation.
We as a Church reexamine the use of Scriptures concerning sexuality. Contemporary Christians no longer regard as moral guides many Scriptural passages about sex, such as the stricture against intercourse during menstruation, Paul's recommendation of virginity whenever possible, or the description of the roles of husbands and wives. Impressive scholarship has now demonstrated that in even more serious ways the Biblical passages concerning same-sex acts are irrelevant to the contemporary discussion about sexuality. We examine and respond to this scholarship-- either with a reasoned and credible rejection of its findings or with an honest and humble acknowledgment of its conclusions. We further look beyond these Scriptural passages to the total "Gospel perspective" regarding sexuality.
We continue to our explore of the understanding of our sexuality. Contemporary historical research has shown that central Christian doctrines-- like the divinity of Christ, the hierarchical structure of the Church, the nature and number of the Sacraments, salvation outside the Church-- have not always been the same, but have developed over time. Similar scholarship demonstrates that Church Universal's teaching on sexuality has not been clear and constant and that factors other than ethical concerns explain the current severe condemnation of same sex acts that stems from the 13th century. We need to continue to understand greater the diversity in our sexuality as this further evolves.
We accept the findings of human sciences about sexuality. Homosexual people have been often been regarded as sick or criminal. But psychologists have found homosexual persons to be as emotionally healthy as other persons. Sociologists have found that the social adoption of homosexual persons to be nondeviant. Anthropologists have found them to be a variant in virtually all cultures. We desire to be faithful to the traditional Catholic insistence that truth is one, that scientific truth and religious truth must be reconcilable. Catholics should welcome ministry based on this concept that our differences are a normal variation within the human family.
We listen to the witness of all Catholics. Many testify that they experience their sexuality as God's good gift that enables them to relate intimately and responsibly to others and more securely and passionately to God and want their personal spiritual experience to be heard and taken seriously. They would like the profound influence that Church leaders have on their lives to be more sensitive and more positive and we will provide an environment for this to grown. We answer this with a resounding yes. As church, as members of Christ's mystical body, we affirm the need to be sensitive and minister to all.
We respect the consciences of persons. Our church teaching defends the ultimate need of a responsibly formed conscience in every moral decision. All Catholics would welcome recognition of their personal integrity and respect for their consciences.
We support the healing and nurturing ministry for all people. Homosexuals who come to the Church Universal for ministry often feel wounded by a hurtful and prejudiced society. To be effective, ministry needs to concentrate on the healing of these hurts. We provide Church environment that accepts all regardless if sexuality with the hope of promoting self-esteem and the healing process.
We support the development of a variety of ministries to gay and lesbian persons and their families based on their needs. Gay people who are "coming out" want help in that often difficult process. Their families want healing, advice and support. Gay people want meeting opportunities that foster friendships and growth, rather than promiscuity. Lesbians may want some women-only space within the Church. Gay couples want respect for their relationships. Lesbian couples with children want to be accepted as families within the parish community. Gay alcoholics and drug abusers want spiritual help in their rehabilitation process.
We support ministries for persons with AIDS. People suffering from AIDS are the lepers of our time. A number of Church leaders have spoken out against the ways in which these people, who are sick to death, are often treated by society. Many within the Church Universal have proposed an anti-discrimination policy for persons with AIDS. And such witness can be made more effective through the establishment of hospices and social support programs based on healing and reconciliation.
We provide pastoral care for all people. We need to do much to reduce the climate of fear by publicly legitimizing our ministry and by providing spiritual and financial support to those who have taken on this task.
We are an advocate for change in the Universal Church's teaching on sexuality as we have taken provide educational materials, speakers, and other resources to parishes, gay ministries, and other interested groups; maintain ongoing dialogue with other Churches; represent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the media; present positive testimony from a Christian perspective on civil rights legislation; support an AIDS ministry; and offers many other services.
One asks what is Apostolic Work? In the broadest sense, it is an apostolate in the care of the soul. Christians are called apostles because all Christians are called to play a personal role in the Church's mission. This role is called an apostolate. An apostolate is (according to the Pocket Catholic Dictionary by John A. Hardon, S.J.) "The work of an apostle, not only of the first followers of Christ but of all the faithful who carry on the mission originally entrusted by the Savior to the twelve to make disciples of all nations." (p. 26) The document on the laity from the Second Vatican Council is entitled Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. Another way to put that would be "Decree on the Work of Lay Apostles". "Each member of the lay faithful should always be fully aware of being a 'member of the church' yet entrusted with a unique task which cannot be done by another and which is to be fulfilled for the good of all." (The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful, 28)
We are all called in some special way to use the talents, the gifts God has given us.
Once a week, our parish offers bags of nonperishable basic foods such as rice, canned goods, boxed cereals, pasta, and peanut butter to needy individuals and families. With local rents increasing much faster than the minimum wage, such assistance has become very important to the working poor of our community. The Food Pantry is supported by individual donations, by some parish funds, and by donations of food by parishioners, especially on Food Bank Sunday, the fourth Sunday of each month.
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