FAQ

FAQ2022-12-01T18:37:13+08:00
Do you have to be LGBTIQA+ to attend?2021-12-12T23:26:59+08:00

No, Acceptance Perth is a welcoming safe space for LGBTIQA+ Catholics, their family, and friends. We affirm everyone’s human dignity and their faith.

As a non-judgemental group, we are open to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

We do not discriminate on  age, gender, race, or other distinctions. All are welcome including partners.

Do I have to be Catholic to attend?2021-12-12T23:28:30+08:00

No, you do not need to be Catholic to attend our events. We are a Catholic group, but membership is open to all who wish to be part of Acceptance Perth.

We also welcome people who are wondering whether they should join the Catholic faith, as well as those who Catholics looking to return to the practice of their faith in a safe environment.

Why does Acceptance Perth exist?2022-04-10T14:40:13+08:00

Acceptance Perth is an autonomous group of Catholics who gather for spiritual support, pastoral care and fellowship. We accept the gifts of all who join us and we do not judge or discriminate or encourage a person to change their sexuality or gender.

As Pope Francis said, “If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?”

He continued on in his book, The Name of God is Mercy, “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”

Acceptance Perth actively seeks to embody the principles of the Catholic tradition of the dignity of the human person just as God made us and equality for all including gender and sexually diverse people.

We follow The Catechism of the Catholic Church where it states (# 2358):  [Homosexual people] do not choose their homosexual condition… They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

Many well-respected theologians and spiritual guides including priests, religious and lay people have spoken openly about the church needing to be more welcoming and open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, non-binary, and transgender folks.

An example of this is Sr Ilia Delio who is a Franciscan Sister with doctoral degrees in both science and theology. She wrote in her book, Birth of a Dancing Star:

“A church grounded in the core reality of God’s love must be a church living from the centre of that love, which is why the church can survive into the future only if it opens wide its doors to all those it currently excludes: women, laity, gay, non-binary, transgendered, divorced, and remarried… Love does not fixate on doctrines and canon laws, but is “patient and kind,” as St. Paul wrote.”

Sources:

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-explains-who-am-i-judge

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/arts-and-media/news/sr-ilia-delios-birth-dancing-star-memoir-about-discovering-god

Can LGBTI people live their lives fully as Catholics?2022-04-10T14:39:27+08:00

From our experience, we have found that some people are lucky to have found parishes and faith communities where they are welcomed and included. Unfortunately, we do have some participants who have had bad experiences. Some of them choose to leave the church altogether because of their experience of homophobia, transphobia, ignorance, hate, and discrimination in church contexts.

LGBTIQA+ Catholics often hear anti-gay and anti-trans slogans, advice and language from church people or their religious families and it leaves them traumatised for its insensitivity, poor pastoral judgement or ignorance. Church teaching about sex and sexuality must also be read alongside church teaching about God’s love for all, human flourishing, relationships and conscience.

The church’s teaching on sex and sexuality is challenging and challenged by many Catholics today. So, it is not surprising that many LGBTIQA+ Catholics who follow church teaching in general, find the church’s teaching on sex and sexuality both outdated and unhelpful, even damaging to their life and loves.

Just as the church’s teaching on conscience informs all Catholics on difficult and complex moral decisions, so is the case with some complex issues raised by the church’s teaching on sexuality for LGBTIQA+ Catholics. Catholics of diverse sexualities, genders or who are non-binary and who value their God-given identity as gift to be celebrated may find the anthropology, psychology and moral theology of the church damaging to their sense of self-worth and their relationships. By invoking the church’s teaching on conscience to resolve the conflicted conscience, they will choose the better path for their spiritual and mental health that promotes human flourishing as LGBTIQA+ persons. They will also value life-giving loving relationships as a matter of conscience. The assistance of a good and wise pastoral guide maybe needed to navigate this sometimes difficult territory.

The doctrine of the ‘primacy of conscience’ means that people must follow their fully formed conscience carefully and responsibly. The teaching from Vatican II in Dignitatis Humanae (#3), states: “They must not be forced to act contrary to their conscience. Nor must they be prevented from acting according to their conscience, especially in religious matters.”

Gaudium et Spes states: “Deep within his conscience a person discovers a law which they have not laid upon themselves but which they must obey. For a person has in their heart a law inscribed by God… conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary. … There they are alone with God whose voice echoes in their depths” (#16). This teaching is found in Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal John Henry Newman and Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Newman famously wrote that “Conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him [God], who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ [another phrase that means ‘original Pope’], a prophet in its information.”

Newman also wrote, “I shall drink to the Pope, if you please, still, to conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”

It is Catholic teaching that one must follow their informed conscience. Our conscience is formed through prayer and study applying the principles of Catholic teaching and gospel wisdom to specific complex decisions.

Acceptance Perth respects the rights of LGBTIQA+ Catholics and their conscience decisions as taught by the church. Our community welcomes all gender and sexually diverse individuals, couples and their children. We also welcome families of LGBTQA+ Catholics and others seeking to support us, learn with and celebrate with us. We also welcome those discovering or questioning or transitioning. As the Pope says: “Who are we to judge?”

We also realise some LGBTIQA+ Catholics are finding their way back to the church after a time. You are welcome to journey with us, your LGBTI family, without conditions or expectations – we are happy to share our lives with you.

Sources:
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/conscience-takes-priority-over-church-teaching-says-catholic-catechism-1.3518377
https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/conscience-still-aboriginal-vicar-christ-now-adults

Why are there varying views about sexuality in the Catholic Church?2024-03-06T10:43:45+08:00

Change in the church is as difficult as change in society – it comes slowly based on new knowledge and new understandings about religion, the bible and science. New knowledge and understandings in the area of homosexuality and church teaching include all these. The idea of diverse sexual identities as we now experience and know it scientifically is very recent.

Still today there are many countries where being gay or engaging in gay relationships is illegal with penalties including incarceration and death. When church people interpret certain bible texts inaccurately it can lead to vilification of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Church teaching based on poor biblical interpretation and unscientific anthropology has led to interpretations of church teaching that have harmed, disadvantaged and justified discrimination against LGBTIQA+ people.

Where science, good theology and accurate biblical interpretation are respected, church teaching particularly in the area of morals, can be interpreted in an inclusive way. Just as other church moral teachings have been adjusted to meet current reality, such as the death penalty, war ethics and slavery, so has church teaching on homosexuality and gender diversity.

But it is new and emerging and, in some church statements, there is still some work to do. Those who find this emerging theology around gender and sexual diversity difficult can be caught in an undignified cultural war that demeans LGBTIQA+ people unjustifiably. Thus, at this time of change we have differing views. This is unfortunately at all levels of church life.

We encourage conversation and dialogue especially at the level of experience and pastoral practice. Often the view of those wedded to no change remains at an academic level. They are seemingly unconcerned about the clear church teaching that LGBTIQA+ people must be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catholic Catechism 2358). They are unaware or unconcerned about the harm their view may do.

Views can change especially through meeting and sharing faith, ministry, and life with LGBTIQA+ people. Austrian Cardinal Christopher Schönborn, Editorial Secretary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at one time, was opposed to a more liberal view until he was confronted with the fact that a gay man in a gay relationship was voted onto the parish council his diocese. The parish priest sacked him because of his relationship status. Cardinal Schönborn had a meal with this man and his partner and reinstated him to the parish council.

This pastoral approach is the one Pope Francis uses and recommends.

The Catholic Herald (UK) reported in 2015 that after Cardinal Schönborn saw a friend who had many short-lived relationships finally be in a stable relationship and seeing his friend grow – he said that “It is an improvement. They share a life, they share their joys and sufferings, they help one another. It must be recognised that this person took an important step for his own good and the good of others…”

“We are not at risk of diluting the clarity [of Church teaching] while walking with people because we are called to walk in the faith,” he said.

In 2021, Cardinal Schönborn said that the Church should not refuse same-sex blessings.

Also in 2021, German priests dedicated a whole day to same-sex relationship blessings despite a Vatican ban.

Despite this, Pope Francis has voiced his support for same-sex civil unions. He also encourages people in religious life who have often been vilified for helping LGBTIQA+ people to keep up the good work. You can find out more about this at:

In Australia, bishops have supported LGBT pastoral care in various ways.

  • Paramatta Diocese supports LGBTIQA+ Catholics through a working group and in Catholic Schools Paramatta where pastoral care for LGBT students has a high priority.
  • Well-regarded and openly gay theologian, James Alison, was invited by Catholic Religious Australia and Catalyst for Renewal in 2023 to talk about pastoral care for LGBT people. He was the keynote speaker at 30+ events during his short visit all across Australia.

There are many other positive expressions of good pastoral support in the Catholic Church worldwide.

Acceptance Perth follows this model of positive non-judgemental journeying with LGBTIQA+ Catholics and allies. If you would like to join us or find out more, please contact us.

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