George Pell walks free after High Court quashes conviction, citing “significant possibility” he is innocent


The former financial controller of the Vatican and most senior Catholic Church official to be found guilty of child sexual assault, Cardinal George Pell, will be released from prison and have his conviction overturned. He has served more than 400 days in isolation behind bars.

In December 2018, a Melbourne jury unanimously convicted Pell of five charges relating to child sexual abuse dating back to a Sunday service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996. 

However, on the 7th of April 2020, the High Court said there was “a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted because the evidence did not establish guilt to the requisite standard of proof”. 

The bench also said the jury should have entertained a doubt around Pell’s guilt with respect to each of the individual offences. Because there was reasonable doubt, the High Court quashed all of Pell’s convictions and ordered verdicts of acquittal be entered in its place.

It was not enough that the jurors found the complainant and witnesses to be believable, credible and honest. 

Pell’s legal team, led by Bret Walker SC (Senior Counsel), argued it was “literally impossible” for the complainant to have been abused on the day in question and claimed a “formidable list” of factors and events providing Pell with an alibi.

Pell’s first appeal was shot down on a majority of two to one. This ‘botched decision’ by Victoria’s highest court left Pell in prison for an additional seven months for crimes he never committed.

Walker SC argued on behalf of Pell before a full bench of seven High Court judges in Canberra. Walker SC claimed that just because the complainant was believable, it shouldn’t discount other evidence placing Pell’s conviction in doubt.

The High Court decision does not deny the validity of the complainant, a former choir boy who testified he and a friend were sexually assaulted by Pell. Walker SC and Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC, agreed the choirboy was a credible, believable witness.

However, all seven High Court judges, Australia’s finest legal minds, decided in Pell’s favour. 

Pell learned of his success from inside his isolated cell at Barwon Prison, home to some of Australia’s most dangerous criminals. 

Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme

Image: Al Jazeera

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eNews 3 – Revelation, more StKevins +

Adobe’s Document Cloud – https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Abe8385f0-5935-44b2-a30d-870667c6af34

Each of these 3 marvellous ABC Documentaries reveal more of the Institutional deceptions of Child Sexual Abuse!
Twitter samples – positive + occasional negative feedback, during 3rd Episode.
Timely image of Gerald Ridsdale, accompanied by George Pell – early Court appearances.

Revelation 2/3

Sorry, if this post is shorter than the 1st! Tue nite’s 2nd Revelation hit home a lot harder for me + my weekly Counselling call starts in a few hrs. While I tried to take some notes, of how Catholic patterns were carried on in both school classes + individual attacks-instances. Even while noting these out, my mind feels like it’s returning to a spinning-whirlwind feeling. Predators knew this + took advantage of it.

PAUSE Take a break, from what you’re doing. These moments can be very complex and anyone involved, may be drawn into the trappings. Put your phone, or computer down and clear your mind. You can always return later.

Advice on STRESS-tension

While I was returning, to continue typing (after my break), an advert of the 3/3 Episode of Revelation was playing on TV. Whilst I had been making comments, when I 1st saw it on Tue nite actually watching it directly had a ‘freezing’ effect. Not temperature, but in my movements. I hadn’t felt like that, since after another church incident in 1990. 🧊

ABC’s iView has available online viewings of these Revelation Episodes, which also allow you to watch what you can, pause + replay whenever you’re ready!

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/revelation

Watching Revelation in iview

Revelation 1/3

As of the middle of March2020, our ‘Royal Comm BBC Blog’ has reached 1,000 Subscribers! From something that began to support + share (from a CSA Victim/Survivor’s POV) more of the secrets, (hidden) truths, impacts, strategies + particularly to offer collected HELP, from multiple ‘Old Boys’-families-communities: ‘we’ve now achieved more than a tonne’. As parts of society now accept the facts… In the midst of the ABC’s ‘Revelation’ Documentary, many similarities/reminders/parallels are both answering some unanswered questions and asking many more.

Sarah Ferguson (‪@FergusonNews)

An awaited audience had made breathtaking comments, jaw dropping feedback and startling responses. Those who had endured previous CSA watched on in understanding, proud that more of these (hidden) secrets were becoming shared with our wider public. Through ‘lifting the lid’ on this immoral human nature of both male + female Predators, is not stopping it from occurring, yet shares further the reality of what should + should not be allowed. Our children always deserve to lead their developing lives into adulthood, as unaffected as possible. Child Sexual Abuse is wrong.

Following are some of the responses made, from the 1st Ep:

@abctv: Award-winning reporter @FergusonNews presents #RevelationABC, a ground-breaking three-part documentary series on the criminal priests and brothers of the Catholic Church, their crimes laid bare for the first time in their own words. Starts now.

@fergusonnews And jaw dropping courage from the good guys in this. #RevelationABC part 1/3 tonight 8.30 @ABCTV

@MikeCarlton01 Looking forward to this tonight. I’m told it’s brilliant…jaw dropping

@treacl: Confession was seen as a #GetOutOfJail card … #RevelationABC

eNews #01

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eNews #01

‘Jesus is coming to get you’: Brother’s threat to boy he abused


February 16, 2020 — 12.00am


“Jesus is coming to get you.”

That was the warning Lionel (not his real name) alleges Christian Brother Rex Francis Elmer gave in an attempt to silence him after he sexually assaulted him at a Melbourne orphanage in the 1970s.

Paedophile brother Rex Francis Elmer tried to hide his face at the County Court in Melbourne on Monday.
Photo: Simone Fox Koob

The words rang in the boy’s ears long after.

Elmer “kissed me on the forehead and said well done” after molesting him, Lionel said.

“He then told me not to tell anyone. He said to me, if you tell anyone, Jesus would come down from heaven and take me away and you will not see your family or friends ever again,” he told police.

“I was scared and really believed what he had said, that Jesus would take me away if I said anything. I was an altar boy and I believed this.

“The word ‘Jesus’ was ringing in my ears.”

The assaults continued, as did the warnings, for more than a year, Lionel said. It was a vicious circle.

“This sort of incident happened at least two to three times a week,” Lionel said in his witness statement to police. “The same sort of thing. I would piss the bed scared at night that [Elmer] would come to me. I was petrified of him. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was scared of getting a flogging and being taken away by Jesus.”

Another boy who had complained about being abused by Elmer was flogged with a cane by another brother then removed from the St Vincent de Paul Boys’ Home, Lionel said.

“He dobbed Elmer in for doing something sexual to him. It was two days later that this guy who got hit and dobbed got taken from the home.”

He said he told another boy at the home about the abuse. That boy replied that Elmer had also sexually assaulted him. “We were both scared that Jesus would come to take us,” Lionel said. “This is what we thought happened to [the boy who left].”

Lionel said he also confided in a nun from a nearby convent. “I told her what Elmer had been doing to me. She said ‘Darling, please do not say a word to anyone, I will fix this for you’.”

Soon after he confessed to her, Lionel alleges, Elmer and two other brothers brutally beat him, including with a cane, in an assault that left him bleeding from his behind and bedridden for more than a week.

While he was still recovering, Lionel said, Elmer abused him again. He punched the boy repeatedly, giving him a black eye and bloody nose after the boy vomited on the brother during the assault.

When I spewed, he punched me in the face with a clenched fist … three or four times. I couldn’t see out of my left eye for a few days until the swelling went down. He said to me ‘Jesus is coming to get you’. This is the last time that I ever saw Elmer.”

In mid-1976, Elmer suddenly left St Vincent’s. “I don’t know what happened to Elmer, but he was gone from the home,” Lionel told police.

Lionel, now aged 59, said of the ongoing effect of his abuse: “I get teary talking about this but I have learnt to deal with it. It is always in my mind and it always hurts me.”

Boys at St Vincent de Paul Boys’ Home in South Melbourne in the 1970s. The orphanage closed in 1997.
Photo: Gabor Kardos

On Monday, Elmer pleaded guilty in the County Court to the indecent assault of two other complainants, also from St Vincent’s, in the 1970s, after which prosecutors did not proceed with charges related to Lionel’s accusations. That meant that Lionel’s witness statement was never tendered and Elmer never faced his allegations.

Court documents show the 75-year-old was charged in 2018 with 19 counts of indecent assault and one of false imprisonment in relation to three victims during the 1970s.

The first complainant, who had been in state care since infancy, told police Elmer repeatedly abused him between the ages of 11 and 13, usually while he was sleeping in a dormitory.

He said the first assault occurred when Elmer threw off his bed covers, demanded he do as he was told, and put his hand down the boy’s pyjama pants. The assault, however, was interrupted. “Someone has approached the bed as he was being assaulted by the accused, who then fled,” according to the police brief of evidence.

“The complainant was summoned to the office of the now deceased Brother in charge, Brother Carey … Shortly thereafter the complainant recalls being sexually abused by the accused on many occasions.”

The second complainant, who came to the orphanage aged seven after his parents died, was sexually abused by Elmer repeatedly between the ages of nine and 11.

On one occasion Elmer led the boy, who had been playing in the grounds of the home after school, upstairs into his private bedroom at the end of a dormitory.

Elmer produced a large book with pictures of human anatomy and made the boy sit on his knee while the brother asked him to name various body parts, including male genitalia, and masturbated against the boy’s back during the 20-minute assault.

As dormitory master at St Vincent’s, Elmer was responsible for up to 40 children at a time, aged between seven and 14.

The most senior Christian Brothers officials in Victoria knew in mid-1976, when they removed Elmer from the orphanage, that he had abused boys there.

Rex Francis Elmer after a court appearance in 2018.
Photo: AAP/Daniel Pockett

Later that year they made Elmer principal of St Joseph’s, a Catholic boys primary school in Warrnambool.

Elmer was in charge of the school from 1976-81. He worked in the town alongside several other notorious paedophile clerics including priests Paul David Ryan and Robert Claffey, and fellow Christian Brother Edward Dowlan (all since jailed for child sexual assault).

Elmer left Warrnambool after more complaints about his behaviour at St Vincent’s reached his superiors. In 1988 he reappeared, in an article from a small Tasmanian newspaper called Western Tiers, published in his home town of Deloraine.

“Brother Rex Elmer will be spending Christmas at home with his mother … and family before leaving to go to Africa to set up a Mission School at Arushia [sic] in Tanzania with two other Christian Brothers,” the newspaper reported proudly on page 3.

“Rex was a pupil at Our Lady of Mercy College and St Patrick’s [College] and has been teaching at various schools, including Warrnambool in Victoria. He is hoping to see old school friends while at home and we all wish him well in the future.”

The school Elmer helped found in northern Tanzania is now run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers East Africa District and has more than 1300 students.

Elmer left the school in 1993 after more complaints surfaced, and was sent by his order to the United States for counselling at the St Luke Institute for paedophile Catholic clergy in Maryland.

He was charged In 1997 with 69 counts. He was convicted the next year of 12 counts: one charge of indecent assault against each of the 12 boys. The judge sentenced him to five years in prison with a minimum of three years and four months.

At his sentencing, Judge Thomas Neesham described Elmer, then 53, as a man of God who had indulged in “depraved self-gratification”, The Age reported at the time.

Tasmania’s Western Tiers newspaper ran an item in 1988 about Elmer’s posting to Tanzania.
Photo: Supplied


“Each of your victims was a small boy in your care. Each was an inmate,” he said. The boys, many of them orphans or wards of the state, were aged between eight and 12.

“They were helpless,” Judge Neesham said. “Who could they tell, who would believe them?

“All your victims wear deep emotional scars to this day as is brought out by their victim impact statements,” he said. “As a teacher and a man of God, how could you not have had an inkling of the devastation to your victims’ faith … by your act of misbehaviour.

“Your victims will have to live in the misery that you inflicted upon them … You will have to live with the disgrace that you brought on yourself and your family.”

In sentencing Elmer in 1998, County Court Judge Thomas Neesham said Elmer had indulged in “depraved self-gratification”.
Photo: Supplied

Elmer had been living in a Christian Brothers home in Brunswick at the time of his first conviction  and was still working for the order in an administrative role. In 2002, after his release from prison, he was placed him on “restricted ministry”.

He now resides in a property owned by the order in the same suburb. His bail was extended following his guilty plea this week until his sentencing in July.

“The accused is currently retired and resides within the Christian Brothers Community,” a police brief from his current case states.

The order has received 22 claims for redress from people who allege Elmer sexually abused them as children, according to documents it provided to Austalia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which reported its findings in 2017.

Those claims all related to accusations of multiple assaults alleged to have occurred between 1969 and 1985 – from when Elmer was a novitiate (a Christian Brother in training) to the years when he worked in South Melbourne and Warrnambool, mainly during his time at St Vincent’s.

The documents also show the order knew that a number of victims had alleged that other clergy had participated in the abuse by Elmer.

Catholic Church Insurance (CCI) refused to cover the Christian Brothers in relation to any claims of abuse by Elmer after 1976, ruling the order – including its most senior cleric, then provincial Brother Patrick Naughtin – had “prior knowledge” of his crimes.

“Whilst the Visitation was in progress [13/06/1976], a Child Welfare Office reported to Brother [redacted] Acting Superior that Rex had been interfering with little boys; this was true and it had been attended to by the Provincial,” said a CCI document submitted to the royal commission.

In a letter dated June 20, 1976, Naughtin wrote to the acting superior of the orphanage: “Thank you very much for the report on the situation which developed … in connection with Br Elmer. It is indeed a serious and most unfortunate state of affairs and I am grateful for your bringing it to my attention so promptly.”

In his letter, Naughtin (who died in 2010) expressed concern for Elmer’s reputation, not for the welfare of the children he had abused. He also referenced the illegality of Elmer’s actions but did not report him to authorities.

“I have interviewed Br Elmer and discussed this position with him. He is clearly aware of the serious nature of his actions and I took pains to point out his legal and moral obligations in the matter.

“It seems to me extremely unlikely that there will be any recurrence of what had happened … It would seem to me best at this stage not to transfer Brother … immediately, though I would propose to announce his change next August – the usual time for releasing details of staffing for the following year.

Elmer was first convicted in 1998 on 12 counts of indecent assault involving boys under his care in the 1970s.
Photo: The Age

“In coming to this decision I have been guided by the Brother’s assurance for the future, by his excellent record to date and by consideration for his reputation which would undoubtedly be harmed by a sudden transfer at this time.”

When Elmer left St Vincent’s he was replaced by Edward ‘Ted’ Dowlan, now one of the most notorious paedophile clerics in Victoria. They later worked together at St Joseph’s in Warrnambool.

A 1996 letter from an unnamed Christian Brother was submitted to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry in 2013 into the handling of child abuse by institutions, including religious orders. It sheds light on how widespread the abuse was at St Vincent’s, and how determined the church was to dismiss it.

“I accepted with good faith the sudden departure of Brother Elmer from the school and the appointment of Brother Dowlan to fill his position,” the letter reads. “Indeed, I spent many extra hours, which I could ill afford, assisting Brother Dowlan to understand the nature and behaviours of the boys and the teachers.

“As you are probably aware, many of St Vincent’s residents had been sexually abused, and often displayed overt and outrageous sexualised behaviour. Furthermore, they expected or requested that this behaviour be reciprocated by the adults in their lives. A major part of our endeavours at St Vincent’s was getting these boys to a point where they would expect not to be abused. Now I find that all of this work could have been compromised by the presence of a man like Brother Dowlan …

“I take note of your congregation’s position that the brothers were unaware of Brother Dowlan’s tendencies and activities. I cannot accept this as a reasonable position. I cannot believe that the number of allegations against this man could have been kept from his various communities’ and the congregation’s superiors. I find that expecting the public to believe this is preposterous. I do not believe this plea of ignorance.”

St Vincent’s orphanage closed in 1997. It was home to more than 6000 boys over 140 years.

Information provided by the Catholic Church to the royal commission showed it had received 114 claims of sexual abuse at the home, the highest number of any Catholic institution in Victoria.

The Christian Brothers declined to answer The Age’s questions about Elmer, citing “ongoing legal proceedings”.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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Qld + Catholic CSA Contacts …

Queensland Police Service

Policelink 131 444

policelink@police.qld.gov.au

Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000

Safeguarding & Professional Standards Service (Archdiocese of Brisbane) 07 3324 3324

safeguarding@bne.catholic.net.au

StopLine – External Whistleblower Service (Archdiocese of Brisbane) 1300 304 550

AOB@stopline.com.au

Professional Standards Office (Catholic Church) Queensland 1800 337 928

psoqld@catholic.net.au

RCbbc Blog eNews – prelaunch!

With the anticipation, similar to days before birth of a first child, another form of publication will soon be released. From our smaller presence in earlier days of the 5 yr Child Abuse Royal Commission (CARC), the need to ‘join the dots’ began to call out. Hopefully, with the increased-global visitors of our RCbbc Blog, we’re now able to Share another media: Newsletters! eNews are becoming a greater extension of the 247 work-cycle, allowing wider varieties of audio, visual, text & combinations of media to be exchanged. A business plan is still being developed, yet many feel that these swapping of ideas is helpful.

How queer theology is changing the place for LGBTQ Christians in the church

A mural of “The Last Supper” is displayed in February in the church of Curahuara de Carangas, Bolivia. While the mural is a version of the original Da Vinci painting, it shows the relationship between Jesus and the apostles. Modern theologians are examining and analyzing the Bible and Christian tradition from a view that homosexuality and gender nonconformity existed in ancient times just as they do today.


‘Previous translation s of the bible’ would indicate CHANGES, to a supposedly concrete-unchangeable foundation. The Catholic’s faith-practice-order: Catholicism, has changed radically since the time of Pope Pius (early 1900’s, 20th century). Although the Catholic Church claims to be under unexpected tension in the current decade, the 3rd decade (2020’s) is less than 10 months away.


Because of safety concerns, the school was essentially on lockdown.

Threatening calls and emails were pouring into Tarleton State University, a medium-sized school in central Texas.

It was 2010 and then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said in a press release what the school was doing was attacking common decency.

“No one should have the right to use government funds or institutions to portray acts that are morally reprehensible to the vast majority of Americans. … This lewd display runs completely contrary to the standards of scholastic excellence and common decency that we demand in our publicly-funded institutions for higher learning,” Dewhurst said.

CBS News talked to a local radio host who was flooded with calls, some angry, some sad.

The state of Texas was in an uproar because of a play. At the center of the controversy was John Otte, then a 26-year-old student at Tarleton State. He was part of an advanced directing class and had to select a production to manage. Otte died in 2018 at age 34, but he spoke about his decision in choosing the play in a 2010 interview found on YouTube.

“It just resonated within me the message of the full picture. … This play was very touching for me. I cried when I read the script and it gave a more tangible Christ figure for me,” he said in the video.

The play was never performed, canceled because of safety concerns and political pressure, as reported by the Texas Tribune.

The play was “Corpus Christi,” a modern telling of the story of Jesus and the apostles set in Texas. But this was not just any play about the son of God. In the production, Jesus and the apostles are gay. And what is being imagined in the theater is getting a closer examination by modern theologians.

Understanding queer theology

Questioning Jesus’ personal life has been a point of historical and theological tension for decades. His supposed relationship with Mary Magdalene is the central plot of “The Da Vinci Code.”

Further theories have questioned whether Jesus had a homosexual relationship with the “beloved disciple” mentioned in multiple Bible verses.

These kinds of questions are part of the growing field of queer theology. The theology analyzes the Bible and Christian tradition from a view that homosexuality and gender nonconformity existed in ancient times just as they do today.

Queer theology resists the notion emphasized in Christianity that heterosexuality is salvation, said the Rev. Dr. Bob Shore-Goss, a gay theologian and author of several books on queer theology.

“The whole ideology of 20th-century, and even now 21st-century, Christianity is to be heterosexual meant you were perfect,” he said. “And what does that do to people like myself? Or people who are transgendered and who are bisexual and so on? We’re lesser human beings. And see there’s a denigration there.”

Shore-Goss said queer theology takes the definition of queer — meaning strange or odd — and applies it in understanding the characters of the Bible and how they navigated their historical society.

The Bible does not include a line about Jesus’ sexuality — gay, straight, bisexual or anywhere on the spectrum — because the terms used today did not exist 2,000 years ago. The terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual” were created in the late 1800s.

But comparing the definition of queer to how Jesus acted in ancient Palestine, Shore-Goss said, leads to an obvious conclusion: Jesus was queer.

“When you use the word ‘queer’ historically, it’s not a thing or an identity,” he said. “It is really standing outside of any sort of patriarchal normativity. … I would say Jesus is queer. But if you push me, is that something about sexuality? Possibly. Is it something about his kind of deconstructing and destabilizing masculinity in the Roman Empire, and in first-century Palestine? Yes, he’s not a normal male.”

In ancient times, a man had status and value by owning property, including not just land but a wife. Men owned women. Jesus neither held land or married, according to the Bible.

Jesus also recognized women as equals. In John 4, he goes to a town well and meets a woman who was a social outcast. Merely walking up and talking with the woman would have been viewed as heretical among the religious at the time.

The Holy Spirit, which is said to guide Christians after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, helps the apostles to spread the word of God to people around the world, as told in the book of Acts. One of the first converts in the spread of Christianity is a eunuch, another social and sexual outcast at the time, Shore-Goss said.

In his ministry, Jesus even identified with eunuchs, as told in Matthew 19:12, said Kittredge Cherry, a lesbian minister, theologian and creator of QSpirit.net, which promotes LGBTQ rights in the church. Looking over previous translations of the Bible, Jesus ministered to the sexual minorities of his time, she said.

“The word that he used for eunuch is for a sexual minority,” Cherry said. “That’s the closest thing to what we might call today LGBTQ. He reached out to people who the regular religious authorities were saying were sinners, that we’re too far gone to be part of God’s kingdom. He went ahead and said, ‘These are the people that are also welcome in God’s kingdom.’”

Cherry said one of the reasons modern Christians may struggle to accept the sexual diversity present in ancient times and acknowledged in the Bible is because modern Christians struggle to understand their own sexualities and bodies.

What does the Bible really say?

Faith leaders who condemn homosexuality and other sexualities often turn to lines in the Bible that seemingly condemn anything beyond the heterosexual worldview.

However, those verses which Cherry referred to as “clobber passages” are being re-examined and are offering a different view, she said.

“New understandings, based on contemporary Bible scholarship, have debunked a lot of the more hateful and misguided interpretations that say the Bible flatly condemns all homosexuality and gender variance as we know it today,” Cherry said.

An analysis by the Rev. Charles D. Myers of some of the most-used passages condemning homosexuality provides the nuance Cherry mentioned.

Leviticus 18:22  Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (NIV)

The denunciation of men having relations with men here is part of a list of practices Christians should not do. Centuries later, some of those practices are still viewed as socially unacceptable. For example, several lines in Leviticus say people should not practice incest or child sacrifice.

Other rules in the section include not committing adultery or cursing out one’s parents. In 2019 society, these acts are not necessarily seen as good, but they are not a reason for execution.

Then, there are rules in Leviticus that no longer have application to modern times, such as not having sex with a menstruating woman or talking to a fortune teller.

Theologians point out all the rules outlined in Leviticus are given the same weight and punishment. But, over time, society has cherry-picked which rules to keep and which to ignore.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10  Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (NIV)

The analysis by Myers states the Greek phrase about homosexuality originally used in the passage has two meanings. The first meaning is literal homosexuality. The second meaning, though, is about being sexually promiscuous, a practice the Bible repeatedly condemns in other sections. The meaning the original writers of this passage intended is unclear, Myers wrote.

What queer theology adds

Ancient traditions recognized a spectrum of sexualities, despite not always recognizing the variety as equal.

Heterosexuality was seen as “natural” not only because it was the most common but because of the Protestant Reformation, said Megan DeFranza, theologian and author of “Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God.”

Prior to Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses in 1517, celibacy was viewed as the holiest way of life, one of the reasons why nuns and priests in the Catholic tradition must be celibate. Part of Luther’s revolution in the Reformation was announcing that being married and raising a family could also be holy, DeFranza said.

“Then we have the emphasis on ‘Oh, it’s just as much a religious vocation to have a family as it is to serve God and the monastery,’” she said. “Well, what that ended up doing was making fewer places for those who didn’t fit into that binary reproductive model. With fewer monasteries, there were fewer places to go if you didn’t fit in those categories as male or female.”

DeFranza’s work offers a more complex reading of the Bible to counter what she said are often narrow interpretations. Her book re-evaluates some of the gender stereotypes in the church. Among conservative Christians, there are strict gender roles where a man has certain duties and a woman has certain duties. But also, among liberal members of the faith, the genders are seen to be all alike and there is little recognition of the various genders, especially the gender minorities, she said.

DeFranza said modern science on gender and sexuality is helping us better understand what ancient people already knew: There is a spectrum of gender and sexuality.

“Ancient Judaism had six extra categories in addition to male and female,” she said. “… Saint Augustine talks about hermaphrodites in his book ‘The City of God,’ which is a very well-known piece of his literature that lots of folks have to read. And yet, we read right past the section where he talks about hermaphrodites and androgynes being rare but saying every culture has people that they don’t know how to classify as male or female.”

The Bible is clear salvation is not withheld from sexual minorities, DeFranza said.

In Isaiah 56, eunuchs complain to God about being separated from other church followers. God reassures and blesses them, not to be changed and to fit into the binary heterosexual model but God blesses them as they are, DeFranza said.

The ongoing research and conversations around queer theology are reversing a trend in the Christian tradition that has long-marginalized members of the LGBTQ community. While some churches have opened their doors, many people who identify as LGBTQ do not feel welcome in the pews. About half of congregations allow openly gay or lesbian couples to be members, according to the Pew Research Center.

Cherry said queer theology is pushing the church to be more inclusive. A different way of reading the ancient text is allowing the marginalized to see themselves in the Bible story.

“When I read the Bible thinking that Jesus is like me, it just brings it alive and makes it much more real,” Cherry said. “And I think that’s true for other LGBTQ people. I’m not doing this to say, this is the only way to look at Jesus. … It helps to see that Jesus was like we are and to see ourselves reflected in the holy story. Now for our straight allies, I think it’s also valuable to visualize the idea that Jesus was gay because it helps them then to be able to see the holiness among the LGBTQ community and just to expand their idea of God.”

Follow Wyatt Massey on Twitter: @News4Mass.


Retrieved: https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/lifestyle/religion/how-queer-theology-is-changing-the-place-for-lgbtq-christians/article_8268f13c-8114-5ecf-be43-a038fb5a1d51.html

“The Bible Has Been Changed and Corrupted Over Time”

With the unearthed secrets of Child Sexual Abuse being made globally, Easter-Fertility gives an ideal chance to read more of how similar the bible/church is to a changing business. Following is a copy of text, from PDF available from our Library (see References):


You Bible-thumping Christians are so deluded and stupid. The Bible has been so changed and translated and mistranslated over time that it can’t be trusted. Didn’t you play the telephone game when you were a kid? Whatever the first person whispered to the second person, is going to be very different from what the last person hears. Stop acting as if you have all the answers–your Bible is a book of myths.

You’re in good company; a lot of people think that way because they simply don’t know the facts about how trustworthy the Bible really is. When you find out the truth about how the Bible has been handed down from one generation to the next, your charge will have as much significance as proclaiming that courts have no basis for determining the constitutionality of issues since the Constitution was written so long ago we can’t know what it originally said.

But we can go back to the original Constitution and check, right?

We don’t have the original biblical documents, but we have the next best thing: thousands of copies of the original New Testament manuscripts, by which we can determine whatwas originally said. The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (www.csntm.org) tells me that the current number is about 5500 copies of just the Greek New Testament, and when we combine the Greek with all translations in the various languages before the printing press was invented, there are a staggering 15,000 copies of NT manuscripts in existence, with more being found every day!

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason (www.str.org) helps illustrate how Bible scientists (the discipline of textual criticism) can

assure us of the Bible’s accuracy:

RECONSTRUCTING AUNT SALLY’S LETTER

Pretend your Aunt Sally learns in a dream the recipe for an elixir that preserves her youth. When she wakes up, she scribbles the directions on a scrap of paper, then runs to the kitchen to make up her first glass. In a few days Aunt Sally is transformed into a picture of radiant youth because of her daily dose of “Sally’s Secret Sauce.”

Aunt Sally is so excited she sends detailed, hand-written instructions on how to make the sauce to her three bridge partners (Aunt Sally is still in the technological dark ages–no photocopier or email). They, in turn, make copies for ten of their own friends.

All goes well until one day Aunt Sally’s pet schnauzer eats the original copy of the recipe. In a panic she contacts her three friends who have mysteriously suffered similar mishaps, so the alarm goes out to the others in attempt to recover the original wording.

Sally rounds up all the surviving hand-written copies, twenty-six in all. When she spreads them out on the kitchen table, she immediately notices some differences. Twenty- three of the copies are exactly the same. Of the remaining three, however, one has misspelled words, another has two phrases inverted (“mix then chop” instead of “chop then mix”) and one includes an ingredient none of the others has on its list.

Do you think Aunt Sally can accurately reconstruct her original recipe from this evidence? Of course she can. The misspellings are obvious errors. The single inverted phrase stands out and can easily be repaired. Sally would then strike the extra ingredient, reasoning it’s more plausible one person would add an item in error than 25 people would accidentally omit it.

Even if the variations were more numerous or more diverse, the original could still be reconstructed with a high level of confidence if Sally had enough copies.

This, in simplified form, is how scholars do “textual criticism,” an academic method used to test all documents of antiquity, not just religious texts. It’s not a haphazard effort based on hopes and guesses; it’s a careful linguistic process allowing an alert critic to determine the extent of possible corruption of any work.{1}

When the thousands of copies of manuscripts (far more than for any other document of antiquity) are compared, we can know that the New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. In the entire text of 20,000 lines, only 40 lines are in doubt (about 400 words), and none affects any significant doctrine.{2}

Even if all the manuscripts in the whole world were to disappear, the New Testament is so comprehensively quoted by early church letters, essays and other extra-biblical sources that we could still reconstruct almost the entire testament.

We have a much fuller explanation of this in our article “Are

the Biblical Documents Reliable?” www.probe.org/are-the-biblical-documents-reliable

The historical evidence for the reliability of the biblical documents is so great that we can rest assured that the Bible we read today is the same Bible that God intended for us to have from the very beginning.

Wishing you well, Sue Bohlin

Probe Ministries Notes

1. Greg Koukl, Solid Ground, Jan/Feb 2005, Stand to Reason.

2. Norman Geisler and William Nix,The Text of the New Testament (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 475.

REFERENCES https://probe.org/the-bible-has-been-changed-and-corrupted-over-time/?print=pdf