1) At the end of 2013, Bishop Casimiro Lopez Llorente of the Segorbe-Castellon Diocese, Spain, wrote a pastoral letter entitled The Good News of Marriage and the Family, in which he denounced same-gender marriage. He claimed that same-gender marriage, which has been legal in Spain since 2005 has been “weakening the lasting love between spouses, maternal and paternal love, familial love, the significant increase in children with severe disturbances of personality and the development of a climate that often ends in violence,” according to On Top magazine.
2) Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, China, eliminated all negative messages about same-gender couples from his Christmas message in 2013, though he was extremely strident against gay and lesbian couples in his 2012 message. Columnist Alex Lo of the South China Morning Post believes the change in tone is due to Pope Francis’ more accepting attitude toward sexual minorities.
3) The Boy Scouts of America’s new policy of accepting gay youth as members went into effect on January 1st, and the organization reports that there has been no mass exodus of members or sponsoring organizations, which include hundreds of Catholic parishes. The Sheboygan Press explains the details of the new policy.
4) Irish Redemptorist Father Tony Flannery, who attracted the ire of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) because of his progressive views, including support of gay and lesbian couples, said that though he is hopeful about the papacy of Pope Francis, he recognizes that the CDF’s ban on his public ministry as a priest will likely not be lifted. Flannery, who foundered Ireland’s Association of Catholic priests, is beginning a speaking tour in that country, according to The Irish Times.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry