Saturday, 11 September 2010

Times: Catholic Church ‘misogynist and homophobic’

Wednesday, 8th September 2010; PA

The Catholic Church was accused yesterday of being “deeply misogynist”, intolerant of gay people and “monarchical” in its approach by members of a group calling for change within its ranks.

Organisers of Catholic Voices for Reform said they wanted to see an “open discussion” on issues within the Church such as women’s ordination, sexual orientation and clerical celibacy.

The group has drawn up six questions it plans to deliver to the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols and the Vatican’s Ambassador to the UK to pass to Pope Benedict when he visits Britain next week.

The questions describe the Church as “over-centralised”, ask why the rules on compulsory celibacy for the priesthood cannot be relaxed and describe the ban on women priests as “purely cultural and historical”.

The crisis over sex abuse within the Church has also highlighted an institutional Church that is “too monarchical” and lacking in transparency and accountability, they said.

Bernard Wynne, a spokesman for Catholic Voices for Reform, said he doubted they would get “anywhere near the Pope” during his visit to ask the questions but he believed many of the issues would be discussed “behind closed doors”.

He said he believed at least half of the “average” Mass-going Catholics in Britain would support many of their demands.

He said: “The Church has now reached a stage where an open discussion about how it can best fulfil its sacred mission in the modern world is the only way forward.

“What we are seeking is an open, transparent discussion about the real need for change within the Church.”

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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