10 January 2015

DRACHMA LGBTI MONTHLY MEETING


The next monthly meeting of Drachma LGBTI will be held on Friday, 23 January 2015 at the University Chaplaincy at 20.00 (8.00 pm)

Everyone is invited to attend.




20 October 2014

Press Statement regarding the Bishops’ Synod currently being held in Rome, October 2014

Drachma (Drachma LGBTI and Drachma Parents Group) welcomes the positive developments in the Catholic Church, especially regarding the Synod of Bishops currently being held in Rome. Drachma, as well as the European Forum of Christian LGBT groups (to which Drachma is affiliated), acknowledge that in the Relatio (the provisional document of the Synod) there is a welcoming change in the tone, language and terminology used that possibly reflects a change in the hierarchy’s attitude towards LGBTI persons, their relationships and towards children of same-sex families.  It is indeed promising that the Relatio refrains from using the usual language of ‘sin’ and ‘intrinsic disorder’ but rather attempts to understand these realities with greater sensitivity and with a genuine respect for LGBTI persons. We appreciate that for the first time, the Church hierarchy is recognising the valuable gifts and qualities that LGBTI people bring to the Church and to the Christian community. The Synod is finally recognising the intrinsic value of the mutual love, self-sacrifice, and care LGBTI persons are able to give in same-sex relationships. It is also positive that the Church finally understands the need of more ‘human’ pastoral ministry with gay persons and their families. 

Drachma appreciates the valuable contributions made by Bishop Mario Grech during the Synod. We warmly remember the number of heart-to-heart meetings with the Maltese Bishops during this last year. We appreciated that during these meetings, the bishops were keen to listen to the sincere experiences of many gay persons who are struggling to integrate their sexuality and spirituality. They listened to parents of gay persons who also go through considerable suffering.  We recall Bishop Scicluna’s participation during Drachma’s celebration of the International Day against Homophobia held last May. At the same time, we also acknowledge and appreciate the courageous and humane spirit reverberating so strongly in Mgr. Grech’s speech last week. His speech acknowledged the same spirit, compassion and humanity contained in a letter that Drachma Parents presented to the Bishop in February 2014, with suggestions for the Synod. We are sure that these meetings with the bishops have been fruitful and will continue to help the Church in Malta become a pioneer in this field, especially by becoming a more welcoming space for gay people. We look forward to an age when all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can feel at home in our churches and parishes and are empowered to become more pastorally involved in these same communities.

Earlier this month, Drachma participated in an international conference held in Rome organised by the European Forum of LGBT Christian groups. The Conference ‘Ways of Love’ included many internationally recognised speakers, including James Alison who is a renowned Catholic theologian who has written several books on LGBTI spirituality. We are pleased to inform the public that Drachma will be hosting James Alison in November 2014 (26-29 November 2014). In this conference, a Maltese mother of an LGBTI person, who is also co-founder and coordinator of Drachma Parents, was one of the keynote speakers. She shared with the Conference participants her own personal experience as a Catholic mother, concluding with a strong message of empathy and courage to so many parents to love their children unconditionally, including their LGBTI children.

At the same time, Drachma and the European Forum note with concern that the Relatio also continues to deliver ambivalent messages, in particular with the use of the new fundamentalist slogan of ‘gender ideology’ that clearly is not helpful when dealing with LGBTI issues. It is also very disappointing that the issue of criminalisation of homosexuality in many countries (especially Africa but not only) is not mentioned at all, even though there are several countries that persecute and even kill LGBTI persons because of their sexual orientation. The church should refrain from sending mixed messages and become a true defender of the human rights of all people, including LGBTI persons. We know that unfortunately there are several bishops and priests who have promoted hate speech and supported criminalisation bills in many countries. Putting pressure on them in the form of public critique by the Church is a question of justice and care for the marginalised people in these countries.

Drachma appreciates the significant step taken by the hierarchy to discern more sensitively the role and place of LGBTI people in the Church. Yet, it is worthwhile to note that the same Holy Spirit that is now guiding the bishops has long been working at the roots of the Christian community inspiring many individuals and communities, to realise the evil of discrimination and induce them to work in favour of so many emarginated people within this mystical Body of Christ. We must acknowledge the incessant work of so many individuals, theologians, pastors, LGBTI organisations and so many LGBTI persons who have been living this challenge on a daily basis to integrate healthily their sexuality and spirituality through living out intimate relationships and this too, we feel, is a sign of the dynamic action of the Holy Spirit who is ever present in our midst.

We also understand that the Relatio is only a working document for the Synod that still needs to be discussed at great length by the Synod Fathers in small groups, and the discussion will continue during the next year and will only be concluded in the Bishops’ Ordinary Synod held in October 2015. A lot can happen and a lot can change. Yet, we continue to observe closely this process, hoping that the positive attitude enshrined in this document will be strengthened further in the final document of the Synod next year.

This is truly a positive moment for the Church and the community of LGBTI Christians and their families. We thank God for enriching the Church with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and pray that the Church will continue to be renewed in light of the signs of the times. We remain confident that from this very positive opening in this Synod, the Church may become more of a welcoming family giving a safe space for all persons at the periphery so as to be the gem that they have always been for Christ and His Church.


Drachma 
Drachma LGBTI and Drachma Parents Group
drachmalgbt@gmail.com
drachmalgbt.blogspot.com

16 October 2014

Kumment lill-Midja dwar is-Sinodu tal-Isqfijiet f’Ruma f’Ottubru 2014

Drachma (Drachma LGBTI u Drachma Parents Group) tilqa’ b’mod pożittiv l-iżviluppi li qed isiru fil-Knisja Kattolika, partikolarment fis-Sinodu tal-Isqfijiet li qed jitlaqqa’ f’Ruma f’dawn il-jiem. Drachma, kif ukoll l-Forum Ewropew ta’ Insara LGBT, iħarsu lejn ir-Relatio (id-dokument tas-Sinodu) bħala bidla pożittiva fl-attitudni tal-Knisja lejn persuni LGBTI u tapprezza l-bidla fit-ton u l-lingwa/terminoloġija wżata fil-konfront ta’ persuni LGBTI. Naprezzaw ferm li għall-ewwel darba l-Knisja Kattolika qiegħda tirrikonoxxi li persuni LGBT huma sors ta’ għana għall-Knisja u għall-kommunita’ nisranija. Napprezzaw ukoll ir-rikonoxximent tal-Knisja li relazzjonijiet bejn persuni tal-istess sess għandhom valur, speċjalment meta wieħed jikkonsidra s-sagrifiċċju u l-għajnuna reċiproka li persuni gay jafu jagħtu lil xulxin f’dawn it-tip ta’ relazzjonijiet. Naprezzaw ukoll li l-Knisja fl-aħħar qed tirrealizżża l-bżonn ta’ aktar ħidma pastorali ‘umana’ ma’ persuni gay u l-familji tagħhom. Huwa ferm pożittiv li r-Relatio ma jitħaddidtx b’diskors ta’ ‘dnub u ‘diżordni intrinsika’, imma jfittex li jħares lejn dawn ir-realtajiet b’sensittivita’ u b’rispett ġenwin lejn persuni LGBT.

Drachma tapprezza wkoll il-kontribut siewi li l-Isqof Mario Grech għamel waqt is-Sinodu. Bi pjaċir niftakru fin-numru ta’ laqgħat ta’ djalogu li Drachma kellha mal-Isqof Grech, kif ukoll mal-Isqof Scicluna u l-Arċisqof Cremona matul din l-aħħar sena. Apprezzajna li f’dawn il-laqgħat, l-Isqfijiet kienu lesti jisimgħu l-karba sinċiera ħierġa mill-qalb ta’ tant persuni gay, u ta’ tant ġenituri ta’ persuni gay li jippruvaw jintegraw s-sesswalita’ u l-ispiritwalita’ tagħhom, għalkemm sikwit b’ħafna tbatija. Infakkru fil-preżenza tal-isqof Scicluna waqt iċ-ċelebrazzjoni ta’ quddiesa fl-okkażżjoni tal-Jum Internazzjonali kontra l-Omofobija f’Mejju 2014. Iżda, fuq kollox f’dawn il-jiem napprezzaw b’aktar qawwa l-kliem tant kuraġġuż u mimli mogħdrija u umanita’ tal-Isqof Grech waqt dan l-istess Sinodu. Naraw ħafna riżonanza fil-kliem u fl-ispirtu tad-diskors ta’ Monsinjur Grech mal-kontenut ta’ ittra li Drachma Parents ppreżentaw lill-Isqof Grech fi Frar 2014 b’suġġerimenti għas-Sinodu tal-Isqfijiet. Aħna m’għandniex dubju li dawn il-laqgħat mal-Isqof Grech, kif ukoll mal-Isqfijiet l-oħra Maltin, għinu u jkomplu jgħinu biex il-Knisja f’Malta tkun pijoniera f’dan il-qasam u ssir aktar post akkoljenti għall-persuni gay, waqt li tgħin biex f’pajjiżna u fil-kommunitajiet ekkleżjali Maltin igħib kull forma ta’ diskriminazzjoni u kull diskors iebes u insensittiv lejn persuni LGBT. Inħarsu ‘l quddiem lejn żmien fejn kull persuna, indistintament mill-orjentazzjoni sesswali u mill-ġeneru tiegħu jew tagħha, tħossha komda fil-knejjes u l-parroċċi tagħna u tingħata ċ-ċans li tkun attiva pastoralment f’dawn l-istess kommunitajiet. 

Aktar kmieni f’dan ix-xahar, Drachma attendiet għal konferenza f’Ruma organiżżata mill-Forum Ewropew ta’ Nsara LGBT bl-isem ‘Ways of Love’, li fiha kien mistieden biex jitkellmu fost l-oħrajn James Alison, teologu Kattoliku magħruf u kittieb ta’ bosta kotba li jitrattaw it-tema ta’ spiritwalita’ għall-persuni LGBT. Bi pjaċir ngħarrfu lill-publiku li Drachma ser tospita lil James Alison f’Malta f’Novembru li ġej (24-29 Novembru 2014). F’din l-istess konferenza, tkelmet ukoll omm Maltija ta’ persuna LGBT, li hija ko-fundatriċi u kordinatriċi ta’ Drachma Parents Group. Hija tat l-esperjenza tagħha bħala omm nisranija, kif ukoll tat kelma ta’ kuraġġ lil tant ġenituri biex iħarsu bi mħabba lejn uliedhom kollha, inkluż dawk li huma gay.

Fl-istess ħin, Drachma, kif ukoll il-Forum Ewropew tal-Insara LGBT, jixtiequ juru t-tħassib tagħhom għall-fatt li fir-Relatio, il-Knisja introduċiet it-terminoġija fundamentalista tal-‘Ideoloġija tal-Gender’, li fil-fehma tagħna ma jistax jagħmel ġid. Inħossuna wkoll imħassba li l-kwistjoni tal-kriminaliżżazzjoni tal-Omosesswalita’ f’ħafna pajjiżi (speċjalment fl-Afrika) lanqas biss ġiet imsemmija, speċjalment meta hemm tant pajjiżi fid-dinja li jaħqru, jippersegwitaw u saħansitra joqtlu persuni LGBT minħabba l-orjenazzjoni sesswali tagħhom jew il-ġeneru tagħhom. Inħossu li l-Knisja għandha tafferma lilha nniffisha bħala difensur tad-drittijiet umani kollha, inkluż ta’ persuni LGBT. Aħna konxji li sfortunament hawn numru ta’ isqfijiet u saċerdoti li ppromovew diskors ta’ mibegħda u anke taw appoġġ għal liġijiet li jikkriminaliżżaw l-omosesswalita’. Nemmnu li l-knisja għandha titkellem ċar u dan huwa neċessarju sa biex l-prinċipju ta’ ġustizzja lejn persuni marġinaliżżati jkun dejjem imsaħħaħ aktar.

Dan hu żgur mument pożittiv għall-Knisja u għall-kommunita’ ta’ persuni LGBT nsara u l-familji tagħhom. Nirringrazzjaw lil Alla li għadu jgħanni lill-Knisja bl-ispirtu qaddis tiegħu biex tkompli tifhem u tiġġedded fid-dawl tas-sinjali ġodda taż-żminijiet. Nibqgħu fiduċjużi li minn dan il-bidu sabiħ f’dan is-Sinodu, l-Knisja tkompli ssir familja li tilqa’ lil kulħadd u tagħti l-ispazzju lill-persuni li huma fil-periferija biex ikunu l-ġawhra u t-teżor li kienu minn dejjem għall-Knisja ta’ Ġesu’ Kristu.

Drachma – Drachma LGBTI u Drachma Parents Group
drachmalgbt@gmail.com
drachmalgbt.blogspot.com