Catholic Italian Church doesn’t shut the door at homosexual believers
By Delia Vaccarello, L’Unità (Italy), 29th August 2011, page 39
Is it possible for lesbian and gay to feel at home in Church? The dialogue gives the idea to be welcome; it can take place between a diocese and a group or inside a parish church. There are parish churches that have created a pastoral ad hoc: Turin, Parma, Cremona with some experiences also in Crema and in Leghorn. Some parish churches set in Catania, Palermo, Bologna, Padova and Florence create initiatives.
In Milan, the two active homosexual Christians groups, La Fonte and Il Guado, have no difficulties in their relationships with the churches where the memorial for the victims of homophobia takes place. Turin’s experience was born after the meeting between cardinal Poletto and lgbt associations. It followed the publication, by the priest Walter Danna, on the behalf of Cardinal Poletto, of the text “Fede e omosessualità. Assistenza pastorale e accompagnamento spirituale”. (Faith and Homosexuality. Pastoral assistance and spiritual accompanying) .
It confirms the thesis of the magisterium, the book tells about homosexuality, there is a sentence by cardinal Hume: “Love between two people, of the same sex or of different sexes, must be appreciated and respected”. To love another person means reaching God who is present with his lovableness in the person we love… To love another person, either of the same sex or of a different one, means to enter in the area of the richest human experience”. On the cover, among many yellow and red apples, there are two apples of the same colour.
In Cremona, on the initiative of the archbishop Dante Lafranconi, the group “Alle querce di Mamre” has beeen formed, a priest periodically meets homosexual Christians to debate and to pray together. The willingness of the archbishop and the sensation of serenity of those who participate give comfort: “We hope that other men “enlightened” by the Spirit take similar decisions”, is commented on the web. In 2010 the archbishop headed the memorial against discriminations.
In Parma, on July 2010 Monsignor Solmi met the group “L’Arco” on the occasion of one of the monthly meetings. On “Vita Nuova”, the weekly magazine of the diocese, you can read: this meeting “is a clear recall : don’t discriminate”.
Homosexual Christians don’t want to live separate, faith on one hand and love on the other, and they want to create good relationships.
In Crema, in fact, the dialogue with the archbishop started thanks to a letter written by Silvia Lanzi: “I am lesbian and I want to be useful for my church”. In Leghorn, few months ago, there was a meeting, in the bishop’s palace, between Arcigay and the archbishop Simone Giusti who announced an engagement in order to eliminate the contraposition between Church and the homosexual situation.
There are the parishes: the group Fratelli dell’Elpis operates in the SS. Crocifisso Crocifisso della Buona Morte in Catania. Homosexual Christians organize some public activities like the other ones and participate in the community life. In Florence there is the Kairos group which is hosted in the church of Madonna della Tosse headed by Don Giacomo Stinghi: “This year, on the occasion of the memorial for the victims of homophobia the church was full as if it was Sunday”, tells Innocenzo Pontillo. We had similar experiences also in Bologna and in Padova (in the church of Cristo Risorto)
The judgement and the rigidities can fade and the dialogue can become fertile. Pastoral means: going toward each other, to feel welcome, not compelled to renounce. “Otherwise the groups go away. Many people, and also bishops, asked us for information on these pastorals. The other believers we meet in the parishes feel liberated”.
They tell us: “it is necessary to know you and not trust the media – says Pontillo – It is possible to overwhelm prejudices meeting each other”. And overcome the too many silences.