Seventh National Symposium coverage continues today with a pair of articles from Chuck Colbert, veteran reporter of the Catholic LGBT scene. His main article in the Rainbow Times entitled “Catholics gather in support of LGBT equality in church and society” features two of the Symposium’s plenary speakers: Maryland Governor Martin O’ Malley and theologian Patricia Beattie Jung.
Two weeks before the Symposium began, O’Malley signed marriage equality into law, making Maryland the eighth state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize unions for lesbian and gay couples.
Introducing the governor, New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, Sister Jeannine Gramick thanked him for
“. . .his service to God’s people who are lesbian or gay, by his signing the marriage equality bill in Maryland. . . . I am proud of him because he is a Catholic. I am proud that the people of Maryland, and this nation, know that a Catholic practices his faith by serving the people, just as Jesus did, even when it may be unpopular or when it may engender criticism from the religious establishment. I am proud that our Governor is giving a lot to the Church through the service of God’s people.”
Colbert’s article quotes from O’Malley’s speech:
“ ‘I am not here as a Catholic, I’m here as the governor of all Maryland,’ he said.
“ ‘At the end of the day, all of us want the same thing for our kids — we want our children to grow up in caring, committed, and loving homes, protected equally under the law,’ said O’Malley, adding, success in the state legislature rested on a ‘belief in the dignity of every individual.’
“O’Malley has framed marriage equality as a balancing of protections for religious liberties and provisions for equal rights.”
Patricia Beattie Jung made a case not only for extending civil marriage to same-sex couples but also to promote the idea that sexual fidelity is an essential part of all marriages, heterosexual and homosexual:
“ ‘Sexuality is ambiguous,’ she said. ‘It can be dangerous and a grace. So we channel it in marriage. Monogamy entails promises to be steadfast and sexually exclusive.’
“ ‘I’m pretty conservative,’ explained Beattie Jung, who said her main reason for promoting sexual fidelity is its service to ‘love’ and to ‘life.’
“ ‘Great sex is wholehearted,’ she said. ‘This is what makes it graceful and us vulnerable and vicious. These promises give us the time and focus to learn how to love.’
“ ‘Can fidelity serve same-sex lovers the same way?’ asked Beattie Jung. ‘Yes!’ ”
Jung’s talk generated a substantial discussion about sexual fidelity both during the question-and-answer period, as well as throughout the Symposium. Colbert’s article highlights some of this discussion.
In another Rainbow Times article entitled “Lesbian denied communion addresses Catholic symposium,” Colbert features the Symposium appearance of Barbara Johnson. He notes that while Ms. Johnson spoke,
“. . . any number of symposium attendees fought back tears.”
Symposium coverage should conclude here tomorrow. For previous posts on the Symposium, check out:
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry