And now some Valentine's Day statements for you — about love (and what assaults on love in the name of "God" can do to people):
In a new report entitled "In the Name of Love: The Church, exclusion and LGB mental health issues," the Oasis Foundation states (pdf),
Through pastoral ministry, proactive outreach and the personal testimonies of team members, volunteers and church attendees, Oasis has become increasingly aware of how the Church's traditional narrative around sexual identity and same-sex relationships has been destructive to the lives, wellbeing and mental security of people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
In the past three decades, a growing body of research has demonstrated that people of sexualities other than heterosexual are significantly more likely to experience poor mental health ranging from depression and anxiety to self-harm and suicide. Similarly, researchers have been able to link these problems to a sense of "societal discrimination" and a perception of inferiority. This report however, is the first of its kind to explicitly make the link between local churches' pastoral practises of discrimination and its substantial contribution to negative attitudes in society, to a reduction of mental health and quality of life in lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Francis Debernardo, "On St. Valentine's Day: A Romantic Story of Gay Love Fulfilled":
In a radio interview, [Rev. Bernard] Lynch [who married Billy Desmond in Ireland recently] criticized church teaching and practice in regard to LGBT people, saying that he felt the church had God's message "very wrong":
"He said the Catholic Church 'does terrible damage and it is part of the destruction of gay people's lives and how that can be Godly? How can that be Christ’s message? Who would choose to be gay? It is God given and our choice is to embrace it.' "
Samantha Donovan, "Homosexuals Not Accepted at Sydney Catholic Seminary, Royal Commission Hears":
The Royal Commission has heard this morning that a Sydney seminary doesn't take on trainee priests who identify as homosexual.
But little is done to check on whether candidates have a sexual interest in children.
(Thanks to friends Chris Morley in Manchester and Michele Bence in Melbourne for providing the Oasis Foundation statement and the report from ABC Australia.)