Monday, October 12, 2015

International group of theologians calls on Synod to give full equality to gays and women in the Church

Religión Digital (English translation by Rebel Girl)
October 12, 2015

Keeping intact a certain model of family, proper to a time and culture, is not part of the Faith of the Church. According to the gospels, Jesus of Nazareth was deeply critical of the family model of his time and culture. Therefore, the Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII deems it necessary to present the following proposals to the Synod of Bishops that is being held in Rome:

1. We believe that the different sexual identities, options, and orientations must be respected as an expression of the diversity of ways of experiencing sexuality among human beings. Consequently, homosexuality and homosexual marriages should be recognized in the Catholic Church on equal terms with heterosexuality and heterosexual marriages. Christian homosexual people should not be excluded from any church task, activity or responsibility, or from participation in the sacraments.

Respect for non-heterosexual people doesn't seem to reconcile with their exclusion from certain church roles, for example being a godparent at a baptism or the priestly and theological ministry. Both exclusions have occured recently -- in the Diocese of Cádiz with a transsexual man and in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with a homosexual priest -- and they demonstrate clear discrimination because of sexual orientation and belie the often repeated concept in Church teaching documents of acceptance towards non-heterosexual people.

2. We believe that the indiscriminate condemnation by Church teaching of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy should be reviewed. We consider it necessary to repeal Canon 1398 of the Code of Canon Law decreeing excommunication for anyone who procures the abortion, if it occurs, and that it is contrary to the absolution of the sin of abortion decreed by Pope Francis on the occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Also the right of women to decide in conscience on this matter should be respected.

3. There are no biblical, theological, historical, pastoral, much less dogmatic reasons, to exclude married men or women from any ecclesial ministries, ordained or unordained. Equality of Christian men and women through baptism must translate into equal conditions for men and women in access to the realm of the sacred, in the development of theological and moral doctrine, as well as in participation in church duties and governing bodies, without any discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnicity or social class. Therefore we ask that sexist ideological, cultural and normative barriers be removed and that the full incorporation of women in the above areas, including access to the priesthood and episcopate, be implemented.

4. As regards divorce, there is no dogma of faith that prevents it, nor that prohibits the access of separated or divorced and remarried people to the Eucharist. The current exclusionary discipline in this area, perhaps understandable in the past, has no justification today and, far from drawing people in those circumstances to the Christian community, it marginalizes them, drives them away, and stigmatizes them. In addition, it lacks a gospel basis. We therefore believe that the Synod of Bishops should remove that prohibition, currently in force, and facilitate access to Eucharistic communion by separated or divorced and remarried persons without imposing any corrective requirements. We believers are moral agents with the ability to decide freely in conscience in this area. This decision must be respected.

5. It is necessary to acknowledge the significant advances made by feminism on equality between men and women and in their liberation. In light of these developments, the patriarchal structure of the doctrine and practice on Christian marriage should be revised.

6. The Synod can not be reduced to matters relating to Christian marriage. We believe it a priority for it to do an analysis of the situation of poverty and social exclusion in which millions of families find themselves, to prophetically denounce it, to express its solidarity with the most vulnerable families and contribute to the elimination of the causes of this situation based on the ethical gospel option for poor and marginalized people.

Statement signed by:

Xavier Alegre. Asociación de Teólogos y Teólogas Juan XXIII. Spain
José Arregi. Theologian. Spain
Olga Lucía Álvarez. Asociación Presbíteras Católicas Romanas. Colombia
Juan Barreto. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Fernando Bermúdez, Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Leonardo Boff. Ecotheologian, member of the Earth Charter Commission and writer.
Ancizar Cadavid Restrepo. Theologian. Colombia
José María Castillo. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
José Centeno. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII, Spain
Juan Antonio Estrada. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Máximo García. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Antonio Gil de Zúñiga. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Ivone Gebara. Theologian and philosopher. Brazil
Axel Hernández Fajardo. Emeritus Professor at the Escuela Ecuménica de las Ciencias de Religiones. Universidad Nacional. Costa Rica
Rosa María Hernández. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Mary Hunt. Theologian. Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER).
Gabriela Juárez Palacio. Theologian. Co-founder of Teólogas e Investigadoras.
Rosa Leiva. Federación Latinoamericana de Presbíteros Casados. Ecuador
Juan Masiá. Theologian. Japan
Federico Mayor Zaragoza. President of the Fundación Cultura de Paz and the Comisión Internacional contra la Pena de Muerte. Spain
Cyprien Melibi. Theologian. Cameroon
Arnoldo Mora Rodríguez. Co-founder of the Departamento Ecuménico de Investigaciones (DEI). Costa Rica.
Mario Mullo. Federación Latinoamericana de Sacerdotes Casados. Ecuador
Carmiña Navia. Theologian. Colombia
Marisa Noriega. Theologian. Co-founder of the Asociación Mexicana de Reflexión Teológica Feminista. Mexico.
Gladys Parentelli. Auditor at Vatican II. Venezuela
Federico Pastor. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain.
Victorino Pérez Prieto. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Suyapa Pérez Scapini. Theologian. El Salvador
Margarita Maria Pintos. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Javier Omar Ruiz Arroyave. Activist. Masculinidades Liberadoras. Colombia
José Sánchez Suárez. Theologian. Comunidad Teológica de Mexico
Santiago Sánchez Torrado. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Fernando Silva. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos de Juan XXIII. Spain
Aida Soto Bernal. Asociación Presbíteras Católicas Romanas. Colombia
Juan José Tamayo. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Elsa Tamez. Theologian and biblical scholar. Mexico
Andrea Toca. Theologian. Co-founder of the Asociación Mexicana de Reflexión Teológica Feminista. Mexico.
Fernando Torres Millán. Theologian. Coordinator of Kairós Educativo. Colombia
Olga Vasquez. Theologian. El Salvador
Evaristo Villar. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain
Juan Yzuel. Asociación de Teólogas y Teólogos Juan XXIII. Spain

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