Activists Protest Outside Vatican for Lesbian Mothers’ Rights; And More News

Here are some items that may be of interest:

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi

1. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi of Bologna praised progressive Italian writer Michela Murgia on the occasion of her death. Murgia is known for being an advocate of progressive causes, including LGBTQ+ equality. Murgia authored the controversial book God Save the Queer: A Feminist Catechism, and she was also outspoken in support of women’s ordination and abortion rights. Zuppi, who is president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, was a friend of Murgia, and extolled her in a letter read at her funeral in Rome. John Allen, Jr., editor of Crux, cited this friendship as an example of the Catholic Church’s focus on a “both/and” approach to the world, rather than forcing people into “either/or” choices, modeling dialogue and engagement.

2. The Catholic Pedagogical Institute, a Hungarian church-affiliated publisher, replaced the word “gay” with “Hungarian” in a well-known poem about migration and marginalized people included in a high school textbook the publisher printed, reported Daily News Hungary. The poem, “The Word” by Ágnes Kiss Judit, actually reads, “Stay, for you must be protected Who has nowhere to go, Be poor, be homeless, Jewish, gay, Roma.” The poet said the publisher did not inform her that the poem would be included in the textbook and would be edited, and one expert said that if the publisher’s action was not an embarrassing error, it could be a serious copyright offense. Church leaders in Hungary are highly LGBTQ-negative, and have supported the government’s increasingly strident efforts to stop LGBTQ+ equality.

Lesbian activists protesting for mothers’ rights outside the Vatican in August 2023

3. LGBTQ+ advocates from the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community demonstrated in John XXIII Square, near the Vatican, to protest the Italian government’s move to strip some LGBTQ+ parents of their legal rights. Italy’s right-wing government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, has sought to stop Italian cities from listing both parents in a queer relationship on their child’s birth certificate, and even remove non-biological parents from existing certificates altogether. Parents not listed on the birth certificate do not have custody of their child, as marriage equality is not legal in Italy. Crux reported that the activists sought to make clear that “lesbian mothers exist and therefore no law that violates this already existing relationship” can be just. They promised to continue opposing such discrimination which creates two classes of mothers. The Vatican did not comment on the demonstration.

4. Ty Wahlbrink, S.J., a contributor to The Jesuit Post, wrote a reflection on the tenth anniversary of Pope Francis’ famous “Who am I to judge?” comment. Wahlbrink notes how much LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church has evolved in the past decade, citing both the pope’s positive and negative remarks and actions, concluding that while teaching remains the same, “the tone of the Vatican has shifted.” He continues, “To the handful of L.G.B.T.Q.+ Catholics I know, this development has meant everything. And this sudden change in tone is why ‘Who am I to judge’ stands out so prominently in the memories of my queer friends of faith.” The full commentary is available at America.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, September 2, 2023

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