Quest Bulletin 69 (Spring 2014): Editorial

From the Contents list opposite, readers will note the deaths earlier this year of two courageous friends of gay and lesbian Catholics, Frs Sebastian Moore and Bob Nugent. The witness of their lives is an example to all of us of selfless service to others, even when confronted by criticism, a lack of understanding and hostile opposition. Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may your light shine upon them for ever.

A feature new to this issue is the first of an occasional series of interviews with Quest members – real lives : living faith. Pope Paul VI, the first modern pope to focus on evangelisation, once said, “People today listen more to witnesses than to teachers.” It is hoped that the witness of our lives as LGBT Catholics will be a source of encouragement for others.

The committee appointed to supervise the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child delivered a harsh judgement on the Catholic Church in its report issued in early February. The report covers a wide area concerning children’s rights, but it is the section on the Church’s response to sexual abuses cases that contains the harshest criticism. Commenting on this report, the editor of The Tablet, Catherine Pepinster, had this to say in an editorial (8 February):

The most significant proposal in the report is that a new permanent “mechanism” be set up to supervise compliance with best practice throughout the Church, not just in protection from abuse but in respect, for instance, of the right of the child to a say over its own future, its right to know its true parentage, its right to protection from violence in the family, and the right not to be exposed to out-of-date gender stereotyping in education material or bullying on the basis of sexual orientation.

Sadly, the reaction to the report by the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi SC, was not one of contrition but a sideswipe at “non-governmental organisations interested in homosexuality, gay marriage and other issues” that call for changes in the Catholic Church’s teaching. Such defensive attitudes do nothing to persuade others that the Catholic Church has with humility looked “with penetrating eyes within herself” (Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter, Ecclesiam Suam, 9-11) and struggled to correct her flaws.

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