The Challenge of Same-Sex Unions – Angela Hanley

Open House published an article in the June/July edition by theologian Angela Hanley on The Challenge of Same-Sex Unions.

Open House was founded in Dundee in 1990 as an independent Scottish Catholic journal of comment, opinion and reflection. Mary Cullen is the editor.

It followed a speaking engagement at the Edinburgh Newman Circle on the invitation of Paddy Ferry on “Tradition and the Challenge of Same-Sex Unions.”

This is the link to the article:




Similar Posts


  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    I read that the 2003 CDF document was written by lower level officials in a vacation period and that its publication was an embarrassment to the higher ups. I’m not sure how this could be. It is certainly an embarrassing document.

    Angela Hanley is right that the acceptance of gay marriage has hugely altered how we see loving unions between two men or two women. No longer abnormal or “perverted” they are now recognized as a normal and natural life-project. Too bad for the millions who were denied this possibility because of mistaken religious teaching for thousands of years…

  2. Mary Vallely says:

    Angela’s piece should be required reading for all clergy. I agree that repressed sexuality is extremely damaging and our Church has been particularly slow in owning up to this and acknowledging the many, many men of same sex orientation in their midst.

    It is no wonder so many young people have turned their backs on the Catholic Church when they see how closed their minds are to learning from the witness of the many loving same sex relationships we see around us and that are regarded as perfectly normal nowadays (as if course they are!) This failure to engage in discussion and openness to empirical research comes across as arrogant and dismissive of half of humanity.

    I know my own PP Archbishop Eamon has called for a renewal of family prayer in praying the Rosary in October but it would be better to start being honest about the fact that ‘ family’ has changed and is not the exclusive woman + man + children any more. The Jesus of the Gospels preached inclusiveness but so far we are not following His example. Listen. Listen to the pain of those excluded from that sweet little cosy image we have of ‘family’ and reach out to all those hiding their God given sexuality, both ordained and non-ordained. Let’s eradicate hypocrisy!

  3. Paddy Ferry says:

    Mary, very well said. I completely agree.

  4. Joe O'Leary says:

    People are leaving the church in droves, says Mary McAleese. We all know that. CDF stonewalling about women and lgbt folk is a major reason (along with secularization, bad liturgy, and the sex abuse scandals). Mismanagement. Why not try a real Synod about this crisis?

  5. Paddy Ferry says:

    Fr. James Martin SJ writing today:

    “The Bishop of Dresden, Heinrich Timmerevers, has called on the Catholic Church to reposition itself on homosexuality.
    “It is my wish that we further develop and strengthen acceptance and tolerance for homosexuals in our parishes as well as in the whole church,” the Bishop of the Diocese of Dresden-Meissen told Germany’s Catholic News Agency (KNA) in an interview on Monday. He also advocated permitting blessings for gay couples which the Catholic Church does not currently allow.
    “The question is: what do I bless? I bless people. And if a person stands before me and asks for a blessing–how can I refuse this blessing? After all, a blessing is God’s approval.” That did not mean that he blesses and approves of everything a person does, Timmerevers added. A clear distinction should be made in that respect.
    Timmerevers recently appointed two pastoral ministers specifically for the pastoral care of gay people in his diocese. “I am well aware that the integration of homosexuals and my current efforts to achieve this in our church are not supported by everyone,” said the catholic bishop. Many bishops and pastoral ministers found it disturbing, perhaps because it was unfamiliar territory. “The fact that I am encouraging it now may also encourage a process of reflection.” This should take place at all levels, in parishes and in the Bishops’ Conference, he said. “And last but not least, I believe the Catholic Church must reposition itself: How do we deal with same-sex people in our pastoral work, and how do we evaluate this?”
    Bishop Timmerevers referred to conversations with gay and transsexual Christians in his diocese who had told him their life and faith stories. “That moved me deeply because I noticed what a struggle many go through. They want to be Christians and live their faith in the church. And I do not want to leave these people alone in that struggle,” said the bishop.
    (Translation from KNA)
    Dresdner Bischof für neuen Umgang mit Homosexualität | MDR.DE

  6. Mary Vallely says:

    Bishop Timmerevers comes across as a true pastor. God bless him. However when he asks, “How do we deal with same-sex people in our pastoral work…” I must say I find it disturbing. It is as if ‘same sex ‘ people are somehow a new phenomenon and alien to humanity. Maybe I’m wrong but the ordained priesthood is full of same sex people so surely there should be more understanding of the struggles to be accepted as normal and human! Perhaps he really is unaware. After all the hypocrisy in the official Church towards same sex orientation is appalling. There is a woeful lack of honesty and a lack of acknowledgment of the depths of self hatred and struggling that so many endure. Just my thoughts as a natural left hander who endured mild discrimination for being ‘odd’ in my childhood. It is the mindset that needs to change and we are such slow learners in this Church of ours.

  7. Soline Humbert says:

    Well said Mary.
    But I don’t think the bishop is unaware.
    It’s just the fiction that there are no gay bishops, popes, cardinals, priests, seminarians, monks, religious, nuns which must be preserved at all cost… especially at the cost of honesty and integrity.
    The truth will set us free…Until then we tie ourselves into knots of lies, acting out, and double lives. And perpetuate spiritually abusive sexual teachings which cause huge harm.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.