Excerpted from The Christian Struggle With Christianity (New Statesman, 16 October 2007) which reflects on the case of a Vatican high-flier unpleasantly 'outed' in a recent 'TV sting':
"[W]hen countries began introducing legislation recognising the civil rights of homosexuals and giving their partnerships the status of family... The Vatican [became] a violent opponent of this process and opposed Civil Partnerships and gay marriage across the world and lately in Italy where the conflict between Church and liberal reformers has been heated.
"An attempt earlier this year to bring civil partnerships to Italy foundered in part due to the massive lobbying from the Vatican and attitudes in Italian society hardened on both sides. Fr Tommaso Stenico (who secretly filmed TV sting where he tells a young man he saw nothing sinful in having gay sex) is just the latest victim in this battle and he will not be the last.
"The issue of homosexuality has taken an unexpected leap in relative importance among Christians of all shades in recent years. A matter seen in the past to be of minor ethical “third order” importance – now seems to be for many Christians a “first order truth” demanding absolute obedience.
"The Anglican family of Churches is tottering on its foundations over the place of lesbian and gay people in its hierarchy, divided between those who see homosexuality as an acceptable deviation and no bar to office and those who privately might still enjoy a bonfire or two with gay people as both passive and active participants. [Read the full article here]
(c) Martin Reynolds and the New Statesman
Martin Reynolds is director of communications for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, originally trained as a journalist he has for 30 years been a priest of the Church in Wales. He lives in Newport with his civil partner Chris and their son Andrew and his mother Jane. Chris and Martin have been together for 26 years and are about to adopt two more children. He is an Ekklesia consultant.