Archive for Roman Catholicism

New report: ordinary catholics are more supportive of gay rights than the general population

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 29 March 2011 by Michael Hampson

A new report from the American Public Religion Research Institute finds that ordinary lay catholics are more supportive of gay rights than the general population, for example:

• 74% support legal recognition of same-sex civil unions
• 71% support gay civil marriage, “like you get at city hall”
• 73% support legislation against discrimination in the workplace
• 63% support gays in the military
• 60% support gay adoption
• 70% fear that messages from America’s places of worship contribute to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth
• 43% support gay marriage without further description or restriction (rising to 71% for “civil marriage, like you get at city hall”)

read on >>


Official catholic doctrine: everybody goes to heaven, nobody goes to hell (universalism, purgatory, and the Rob Bell ‘Love Wins’ controversy)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 29 March 2011 by Michael Hampson

Rob Bell has caused a huge flurry of controversy amongst his fellow evangelicals with his suggestion that hell may be empty.

What he is presenting is universalism, a respectable Christian theological position for centuries, and the official doctrine of the catholic church, as set out in detail in the catechism.

more >>

Irish priests may boycott new translation of the mass

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 11 March 2011 by Michael Hampson

From The Tablet:

The largest body of Catholic priests in Ireland has said it is consulting on whether to boycott the new Roman missal.

more >>

US Catholic Church membership rises year on year, now over 68.5 million

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 16 February 2011 by Michael Hampson

Despite all its woes, membership of the Catholic Church in the US continues to rise year on year, and now stands at over 68.5 million.

The Catholic Church tops this list of the 25 largest denominations in the US, published this week in the National Council of Churches’ 2011 Yearbook.

The Catholic Church is larger than the next sixteen denominations combined.

more >>

The new translation of the mass: a scandal unfolding

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 8 February 2011 by Michael Hampson

Two scandals ongoing:

1 The Process
The new English translation of the mass has been in preparation for over a decade, and yet the level of secrecy surrounding it is such that all we have seen of it are leaks.

2 The Content
Virtually everyone who has seen it agrees that it is dreadful.

More comment below, but sample it for yourself first, in these leaks of the Preface for the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas, 2 February):

read >>

Breaking the monopoly of marriage: why the catholic celebration of celibacy is a positive, not a negative, for LGBT people

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 27 January 2011 by Michael Hampson

In most protestant churches, there is only one acceptable expression of sexuality, and only one acceptable lifestyle: marriage has the monopoly.

Anybody who is not married is regarded as having a lesser lifestyle, and one that must be defined in terms of marriage: not yet married, previously married, failed to marry.

Only the catholic church celebrates an alternative lifestyle that breaks this monopoly: positively chosen celibacy – the vocation of monks and nuns and priests – is celebrated not just as an alternative, but as superior.

This is sometimes seen as a negative for LGBT people – as anti-sex.

But it can be a huge positive, because it breaks the oppressive monopoly of marriage.

It is a positive celebration of an alternative lifestyle, a positive celebration of diversity.

From the book: The sexual minority which is the non-marrying, single-sex religious community is known in cultures throughout the world and throughout history. The importance of the western tradition’s celebration of this sexual minority should not be underestimated, as it breaks the moral monopoly of heterosexual marriage, and does so with absolute confidence. Read on >>

Christianity and Islam: the official position

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 24 January 2011 by Michael Hampson

Surprisingly, there is one – or at least, one that stands out from the crowd.

Whilst thousands of other denominations get by with inherited historic assumptions and occasional votes and reports, the Roman Catholic church (representing more than half the world’s two billion Christians), in response to the Second Vatican Council, compiled its first ever comprehensive catechism, running to approximately 800 pages and containing 2,865 items. It provides a clear, authoritative statement of a highly significant Christian position on virtually any topic – including other faiths. There is nothing to compare in terms of either comprehensiveness or global significance.

So what does it say on other religions?

Catechism items 836 to 847 describe, very positively, the church’s relationship with (in this order and using these terms) “the catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind”, being more specifically: “those who are fully incorporated into the body of the church”; “the baptised who are honoured by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter” (ie the pope); and finally “non-Christians” defined as “the Jewish people”, “the Muslims”, “non-Christian religions”, and “those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church”.

Specifically on Islam (item 841): “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

more >>