NEWS NOTES: Catholic Universities in Chile Welcome Transgender Students; Director Cites Pope Francis to Defend LGBT Film; And More

Here are some items you might find of interest:

1. Students and administrators at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso in Chile have reached an agreement that a new protocol will be developed to recognize and provide support for transgender students. An official with the Pontifical University of Chile said faculty there had been instructed on respecting trans students, including the need to use students’ preferred names and locker room accommodations.

2. Wanuri Kahiu, director of the film Rafiki and a Catholic, cited Pope Francis in her criticism of the Kenya Film Classification Board’s decision to ban the film because it featured a same-gender relationship. She said that if the pope did not judge lesbian and gay people, then why should others? The film won praise at  the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this  year.

3. The Women’s Ordination Conference granted a scholarship to an openly gay Catholic, Allison Connelly, who said she has experienced rejection and invalidation by the Church due to her sexuality, as well as because she is a women who seeks to be a priest. The Lucile Murray Durkin Scholarship she received supports Catholic women called to priestly ministry who are pursuing theological studies. For more information, click here.

4. Leah Hintz, who is transgender, live-tweeted coming out to her father and Catholic grandmother, who responded, “You’ve always been so kind and sensitive. Now I see femininity in those memories. I’m proud of you for recognizing who you are and living as your true self. You’re a beautiful woman and, no matter who you become, I love you.”

4. Mother Jones, a leading progressive magazine, published an article in June that highlighted the various ways Pope Francis is helping reform the Catholic Church. The author included  a highly positive appraisal of the pope’s LGBT record in contrast to his predecessor, Benedict XVI. [For a catalog of all of Pope Francis’ comments on LGBT issues, positive and negative, click here.]

5. A court in Brazil lifted an injunction against performances of the controversial play, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven, in which Jesus is presented as transgender. Some Christian activists had filed suit against the show for being religiously offensive, but the judge ruled that content considered offensive by some people is not a reason for judicial involvement.

6. America Magazine published an article by a Catholic man who identifies as “same-sex attracted” and promotes the  ministry Courage, an organization which promotes celibacy for lesbian and gay people.  The author, Karl Miller, called for the Church to welcome people who “acknowledge the beauty of her teachings as well as those who struggled with it.”  [Note: for other perspectives on the Courage ministry, click here. here, and here.]

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 11, 2018

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