Tag: unions

Former priest explains why the Bible does NOT condemn same-sex unions / Queerty

Former priest explains why the Bible does NOT condemn same-sex

Pope Francis
Pope Francis (Photo: Shutterstock)

Roman Catholic attitudes toward gay people have made headlines this week after the Vatican issued a decree on Monday stating priests could not bless same-sex unions. The statement, made with the approval of Pope Francis, said the church “does not and cannot bless sin.

A former Orthodox priest turned civil rights activist disagrees. He has seen one of his social media postings go viral, in which he says there is no condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible and says it’s all down to mistranslations.

Related: The Catholic Church is trending and you know that can’t be good for the gays

Nathan Monk lives in Tennessee with his wife and three children. He is the author of the memoir Chasing The Mouse: A Memoir About Childhood Homelessness, Charity Means Love, and a novel, The Miracle.

In his Facebook posting Monk said, “Because of the recent ruling of the Vatican, many have asked me what the Bible really says about same-sex relationships. Others have questioned if it is even possible for the Church to evolve on the issue of marriage equality.

(Photo: Father Nathan Monk/Facebook)

“I believe that it can. More importantly, I believe the Church has devolved on the issue and has allowed malicious translations of scripture to marginalize the LGBTQ+ communities around the world. The Church must repent of this grave error that has spanned centuries and, instead, become fully and utterly inclusive as God intended.

“The Bible does not condemn same-sex relationships. The word homosexual wasn’t added to the Bible until the 1940s. You read that right, the word didn’t appear until the 20th century. The issue officially became foggy when the scriptures were being translated from the Greek, Hebrew, and Latin into German, French, and English. But the real issue boils down to the Apostle Paul.

“Paul literally invented a word, arsenokoitai, which is a compound word derived from two Greek words meaning male (arsén) and bed (koité.) The word was an anomaly for Biblical translators and it took different forms from translation to translation. Eventually, scholars began to believe that Paul was harkening back to Leviticus 20:13 which parallels Leviticus 18:22. A simple reading of the text would imply that same-sex relationships are against the customs of God, but like most things in life, context matters.

“In Leviticus chapter 18 the verses begin with God commanding the people not to, ‘do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you.’ and in chapter 20, the preamble warns not to practice the religious customs of Molek.

“It was widely believed that Molek required child sacrifices and temple sex, specifically with temple prostitutes that were enslaved. The holiness code in Leviticus 18 and 20 is condemning of the Molek temple practices. It was not a wholesale condemnation of same-sex relationships.

“The reason that Paul was attempting to recall the verses from Leviticus the two times he used the word arsenokoitai, found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10, is because in his first letter to the Corinthians he was drawing parallels as the body as a Temple and in 1 Timothy he was discussing being lured away by false teachings. These verses were meant to mirror the dangers of falling into a type of false temple worship, similar to the warnings about Molek in the Old Testament.

“The other verses that are misused to condemn the LGBTQ+ community is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. This verse has nothing to do with consensual same-sex relationships.

“The reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was clearly defined in Ezekiel 26:49, ‘Behold, this was the guilt of Sodom: pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.’ The reason that Lot was spared is because he kept the custom of hospitality and invited the angels into his home and protected them from the assault of the mob. But the sin of Sodom was not consensual same-sex relationships, but their violence, greed, and inhospitable nature.

“The Bible does not, and has not, condemned same-sex relationships. What has happened is that the scriptures have been weaponized over time against the LGBTQ+ community. It is time for the Church to acknowledge these grave translational errors and step into the light of love and truth.”

His posting has been shared over a thousand times and prompted hundreds of comments.

“Thank you for posting this very concise explanation. It out a heartbreaking what the church has done to LGBTQ people,” said one commentator.

Related: Pope says Catholic Church can’t bless same-sex relationships because they’re “sin”

The Vatican’s statement on Monday has upset many LGBTQ Catholics and divided many in the church. It has been criticized by some hoping the church might adopt a more welcoming approach, including Belgian Bishop Johan Bonny. He wrote an opinion piece on Wednesday saying he felt “shame for my Church” and “intellectual and moral incomprehension” at the Vatican’s statement.

Priests of the progressive, Europe-based Pfarrer-Initiative (Priests’ Initiative) released a statement on Wednesday expressing similar disappointment, saying they were “deeply appalled” and vowing they would “not reject any loving couple in the future who wants to celebrate God’s blessing.”

Meanwhile, in the Pope’s homeland of Argentina, a former priest turned LGBTQ campaigner announced he was leaving the Roman Catholic church because of the statement. Andrés Gioeni wrote in a letter to the church, “I do not want to continue being an accomplice to this institution, because I realize the harm they are doing to people.”

Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples

Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples

Pope Francis endorses civil unions for same-sex couples

Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions in’ major step forward’

Pope Francis holds his speech during an International Prayer Meeting for Peace

Pope Francis holds his speech during an International Prayer Meeting for Peace (Vatican Pool/Getty Images)

Pope Francis has given his backing to same-sex civil unions for the first time, in a major break from Catholic teachings.

The 83-year-old leader gave the nod to gay unions in an interview for the documentary Francesco, which premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday (October 21).

The pontiff said: “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

He added: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

The comments are a significant break from his own past comments as well as the position of the church, which has long deployed its lobbying influence to oppose any legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

Pope Francis has previously opposed same-sex civil unions and adoption.

As noted by the Catholic News Agency, in his 2013 book On Heaven and Earth Pope Francis condemned laws “assimilating” homosexual relationships to marriage as “an anthropological regression”.

 He also warned that same-sex couples gaining the right to form unions and adopt could “affect children”, insisting: “Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.”

Catholic opposition led to repeated defeats over a civil union law in Italy, before a watered-down version was finally approved in 2016 in the face of continued opposition from the church.

As the bill was discussed in 2014, high-ranking cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, claimed: “It is irresponsible to weaken the family by creating new forms of unions… it only confuses people and has the effect of being a sort of Trojan horse, undermining culturally and socially the core of humanity.”

Pope Francis arrives to lead his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 21, 2020.
Pope Francis arrives to lead his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 21, 2020. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2003, under Pope John Paul II, the Vatican warned: “Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity.”

While Pope Francis has a track record of public comments in support of LGBT+ people’s individual freedoms, critics say he has done little on paper to end the church’s discriminatory practises and lobbying in opposition to equal rights.

There are still countless cases of Catholic schools firing teachers for being gay, and Catholic adoption agencies have fought for the right to exclude same-sex parents. Bishops have also led the defence of conversion therapy practises, which pro-LGBT+ voices in the church say is still commonplace in Catholicism.

Pope Francis’ comments on same-sex civil unions hailed as a ‘major step forward’.

Responding to his the remarks, the pro-LGBT+ Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin said they were a “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”

He said: “The Pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws.”

Director Evgeny Afineevsky received considerable access for the film Francesco, part of which addresses the leader’s outreach to LGBT+ people.

The film recounts the story of two gay Italian men who say the leader encouraged them to raise their children with the Pope.

“He didn’t mention what was his opinion on my family. Probably he’s following the doctrine on this point,” one of the men said.

Pope Francis has had a chequered history with the LGBT+ community.

In 2013, he made global headlines when he called on the Catholic church to “show mercy, not condemnation” to gay people – representing a stark shift in tone from his predecessors.

But in 2019, he told a Spanish newspaper that parents who see signs of homosexuality in their children should “consult a professional” – a comment that was considered by many to endorse conversion therapy.

Meanwhile, he has been staunch in his opposition to trans identities, comparing them to nuclear war and genetic manipulation in 2015.

In 2019, the Vatican released a document claiming that “gender ideology” is a “move away from nature”.