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Converts? March 28, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Justin McAleese (the name is so familiar) makes some very solid points here about the lack of welcome for LGBTQI+ people in the Catholic Church in the context of the World Meeting of Families which is to be held in Dublin this August. There’s already a big push on about this in the RC. McAleese writes:

In August, the World Meeting of Families takes place in Dublin. Last October, Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy said that it should be an inclusive event for all families, including gay families. He said about family: “It anchors us in life, defines us. It’s comfort when we are in difficulty and the first place to go to celebrate.”
I got married last year and our final stop on honeymoon was to a group of nuns that I’ve known for years. They didn’t mention church doctrine or conversion therapy – they just saw us as a newly married family.
Over a lot of tea and buns, all they wanted to hear about was the ceremony, the dinner and dancing and to see as many photos as possible. It was Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia in action.


However, my wedding photographs have no place at the Dublin World Meeting of Families (WMoF2018). In the last three months, the organisers of the WMoF2018 have shown a staggering zero-tolerance policy towards the LGBTI+ community.

The organisers have removed inclusive language on the family by Pope Francis and LGBTI+ pictures from their pamphlets, and deleted references to gay families by a bishop in the catechesis.

Which is depressing. Even worse McAleese notes that:

The Diocese of Meath is also home to the parish of Coole. In that parish’s bulletin of March 3rd last, it promoted an organisation called CourageInternational which is about the business of providing conversion therapy for homosexuals.
Shockingly, in 2012 one of its founding members Fr Benedict Groeschel, said: “Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster – 14, 16, 18 – is the seducer”. Fr Groeschel subsequently apologised but his choice of words cannot be explained away as clumsy language.
The very idea that conversion therapy exists or is legal in 2018 will surprise many. However, it is unsurprising that its main proponent is the Catholic Church – an organisation that in Ireland doesn’t even recognise the existence of homosexuals in its guidelines for schools.

This concept of conversion therapy is an utter abomination. It is appalling that the Catholic Church would support it. I can’t imagine that many people regard the Church with much favour when they hear of it. Indeed as a means of losing members or dissuading converts it’s difficult to think of anything better given the times we now, thankfully, live in.

That said, I was talking to a friend who discussing Mary McAleese expressed incomprehension as to why she would want to be part of an institution that is palpably misogynistic and homophobic. I understand that, but I also understand the pull – whether religious or cultural and social or some mix of all of those, for people who genuinely believe, or even don’t believe but see religious institutions as a framework within which to structure their lives and attitudes. Those of us who take a different view, whether sympathetic or unsympathetic, may find that pull contradictory, hypocritical or baffling, but it does exist for many. And there’s a further point that it is not as if, for all the rhetoric, religions – most particularly Catholicism, are utterly unchanging or unamenable to change.

But, as noted in the previous post, there’s the feeling that there may not be much of a church left the way things are going… and an inability to change sufficiently fast or perhaps to take people with them while doing so is surely part of that.


1. korhomme - March 28, 2018

The RCC and the DUP are aligned on this; Iris Robinson offered, through a ‘Christian psychiatrist’ some sort of ‘conversion therapy’. The theology of the DUP comes directly from the Free Presbyterians, though experts say that they are more like Baptists. The Free Ps are actually a tiny minority in NI, but have quite remarkable and unchanging influence.


Aonrud ⚘ - March 28, 2018

Just looking this up, Wikipedia suggests there are 15,000 Free Presbyterians in NI, out of a population of 1.8 million (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Presbyterian_Church_of_Ulster). That’s a good deal smaller than I would have thought – something like 0.008% of NI.

In contrast, this article from a 2014 survey suggests 30% of DUP members are Free Presbyterian.

As you say, it’s a remarkable degree of influence for a small religion.


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2018

Did I post up a copy of the Protestant Telegraph I have? If not I must.


EWI - March 28, 2018

Just looking this up, Wikipedia suggests there are 15,000 Free Presbyterians in NI, out of a population of 1.8 million

There must be more – I’ve dated one.


2. rockroots - March 28, 2018

“That said, I was talking to a friend who discussing Mary McAleese expressed incomprehension as to why she would want to be part of an institution that is palpably misogynistic and homophobic.”

That’s the bit I have trouble comprehending. The Catholic Church is what it is, what it more-or-less always has been, but membership is entirely optional. You don’t join Fine Gael and then get irate that they’re not committed to revolutionary socialism, so why would you expect anything other than conservative misogyny from an organisation which has been like that for 2000 years. There are probably 100 religious options in Ireland, take your pick.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2018

That’s very true, still I suppose if you’re born into it you don’t join in quite the way you would a party. And I think that it’s telling it’s the McAleese generation (and the ACPI) who are driving a lot of this because with the Second Vatican Council there was a feeling of the Church opening up (and liberation theology as well come to think of it). Added to which the general evolution of thought on misogyny and homophobia since the 60s in tandem with the above and I guess it’s difficult for some to pull away from that. On a purely utilitarian level I do think McAleese and some others have been positive – dissent from within is always more convincing than dissent from without (it’s like Daniel O’Donnell – one can bet his support for marriage equality brought in a fair few votes which might have gone a different way).


E C - March 28, 2018

Agreed. We are talking about a church run by virginal (?) men living in luxury in the centre of Rome. One senses from McAleese and her son a desperate wish for magical thinking on this. I can’t sympathise. Is the future thinking of the Catholic Church to make gains in Asia and Africa and be willing to forego the secular West to a degree? Stuff like conversion therapy is a weapon of choice in that regard? I don’t know, others here may have more of an idea, those who don’t like me just reflexively feel that the CC can FRO, as the young people put it


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2018

And yet, if one looks at the Protestant churches one sees enormous changes in them across the last hundred, or even fifty years. It’s not impossible. So I imagine that’s what McAleese etc place their hope in. But I agree, there’s also every chance that their hopes are illusory and that the CC will think gains made elsewhere will defray huge losses in Europe and so on.


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2018

I also think that the CC is not able to make the shift on even basic stuff like women priests, married priests (though there’s no end of hiding on the latter given married CofE clergy who have gone over to Rome and somehow are still married!). It’s an interesting one and I sometimes think it is oddly like the retreat of social democracy and even left of social democracy – that in the ‘west’ (ill-defined) similar enough reasons are behind the fall off in both – though I don’t think that the two should be linked (in the sense that religion and politics would be linked).


GW - March 29, 2018

Ah now – less of the ‘virginal’. If one supports complete sexual self-determination then you have to support people’s right to be celibate if they want.

There’s an absolute crisis of recruitment of clergy among the Western RC church, with pensioners being called of retirement to man parishes, and what new recruits there are being ahem the best. Or so I’m told. The solution would be to allow marriage and / or women priests. But that’s unlikely to happen until too late.

It’s not true in African and Asian countries – so the next pope is likely to be a conservative from there.

Enjoy Francie while he lasts, for all his faults.


GW - March 29, 2018

-> not the best.


3. Alibaba - March 28, 2018

It is worth noting that Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield has introduced a bill to prohibit conversion therapy.

“I am hopeful that the cross-party support we have received for this Bill will ensure its passage through the Oireachtas.

To date, twenty one Senators have co-signed the bill; from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, Green Party and Independents.”


Liked by 1 person

dublinstreams - March 29, 2018

would such a thing not already be banned under broader laws?


4. irishelectionliterature - March 28, 2018

I don’t doubt for one bit that Justin McAleese is sincere in his writing, I do wonder is the timing of it in any way related to the upcoming FF Selection Convention in Dublin Rathdown


E C - March 29, 2018

I don’t think there’s any need for that level of cynicism 😆

Liked by 1 person

5. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ?? – Jeshuaisten / Jeshuaists - May 3, 2018

[…] Converts? […]


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