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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Same-sex couples find God's love in marriage, too

Memo to the Vatican: Same-sex couples find God's love in marriage, too

On a warm October day in 1998, Dan McNeil and Patrick Canavan walked down the aisle with their families at a church in Washington, D.C., singing "Lover of Us All."

A friend of theirs — a Catholic priest affiliated with the Washington chapter of Dignity, a Catholic LGBTQ advocacy organization — officiated and blessed their union in an Episcopal church.

Having the priest there to recognize the sacramentality of their marriage was important, McNeil said. But marriage is the one sacrament conferred by the two people "standing before God" with the priest as a witness, he said.

Responding to a March 15 Vatican decree banning priests from blessing gay unions on the premise that God "cannot bless sin," McNeil, Canavan and other LGBTQ Catholic couples and advocates told NCR the Vatican is out of touch with the reality that LGBTQ Catholics find and mirror God's love in their relationships.

"[The Vatican decree] is insulting," McNeil said. "If there's ever a place where I experience God, it's in the midst of our commitment to each other, our care for each other, our relationship."

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Sr. Simone Campbell isn't sure what's next, but knows the Spirit will lead her

For 40 years, the little Catholic social justice lobby Network had toiled in relative obscurity on Capitol Hill. As the group celebrated its anniversary in 2012, Sr. Simone Campbell, the group's executive director since 2004, and her colleagues wondered how to get their name out.

Four days later, the Vatican announced it was censuring the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for a host of alleged sins. Among them was working too closely with Network, which in Rome's view focused too much on social justice and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.

The censure led to national media attention, and Campbell gave interviews on television shows, spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and said a prayer at the 2020 convention. And, of course, it led to Nuns on the Bus, which raised Network's — and Campbell's — profile even further.

At the end of March, Campbell will step down from Network's helm to go on an extended sabbatical to see where the Spirit will send her next. As for the first 75 years of her life, Campbell has no regrets.

"The Vatican named [Network] as being a bad influence, but that's how we got the bus," Campbell said. "It's a web. It's all woven together. I feel blessed beyond belief."

Read more about Campbell at Global Sisters Report.

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