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Hope For Gay Catholics? Top Cardinal OKs Openly Gay Man To Serve On Parish Council

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, who has close ties with Pope Benedict XVI, has overruled a local decision that had blocked a gay man from taking his place on a parish council in a northern Austrian town. Are the winds changing for gays in the Cath

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn (Th1979)
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn (Th1979)


The influential Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has approved an openly gay man to be part of a parish council in a northern Austrian town. Schönborn's closeness, both personally and theologically, to Pope Benedict XVI, is sure to raise hope for Catholics seeking more rights for gays within the Church.

Florian Stangl, 26, who lives in a civil union with his partner, was elected by fellow congregants to serve on the official Church-certified lay board that oversees daily affairs for the parish of Stützenhofen, north of Vienna. Initially, the local parish priest had blocked Stangl from sitting on the council, but Schönborn overruled the priest after hosting Stangl and his partner for lunch over the weekend.

The Cardinal noted that "there are many members of the parish council whose lifestyles don't completely conform with the ideals of the Church. Schönborn said he appreciated the gay couple's "commitment to living a life of faith," adding that he was "profoundly impressed" by Stangl's faith as well as "by his humility and his dedication to the Church."

Schönborn noted that typically candidates for such parish councils must sign a declaration that they abide by the Church's faith and doctrine. Church teaching does not focus on gays themselves, but stipulates that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," and opposes civil unions.

Schönborn is considered as one of the closest Catholic leaders to the Pope, having been a student of the future pontiff in the 1970s when he was just a theology professor known as Joseph Ratzinger. Schönborn is also on the short list of Cardinals considered as potential successors to the pontiff. Another influential Cardinal and Catholic theologian, former Milan Archbishop Carlo Maria Martini, recently wrote that the Church should reconsider its position regarding stable gay couples.

Read the original article in full by Andrea Tornielli

Photo – Th1979

*Newsbites are news digests, not direct translations

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Migrant Lives

How Nepal’s “Left-Behind” Children Of Migrants Hold Families Together

Children left to fend for themselves when their parents seek work abroad often suffer emotional struggles and educational setbacks. Now, psychologists are raising alarms about the quiet but building crisis.

How Nepal’s “Left-Behind” Children Of Migrants Hold Families Together

Durga Jaisi, 12, Prakash Jaisi, 18, Rajendra Ghodasaini, 6, and Bhawana Jaisi, 11, stand for a portrait on their family land in Thakurbaba municipality.

Yam Kumari Kandel

BARDIYA — It was the Nepali New Year and the sun was bright and strong. The fields appeared desolate, except the luxuriantly growing green corn. After fetching water from a nearby hand pump, Prakash Jaisi, 18, walked back to the home he shares with his three siblings in Bardiya district’s Banbir area, more than 500 kilometers (over 300 miles) from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. As it was a public holiday in the country, all his friends had gone out to have fun. “I’d like to spend time with my friends, but I don’t have the time,” he says. Instead, Jaisi did the dishes and completed all the pending housework. Even though his exams are approaching, he has not been able to prepare. There is no time.

Jaisi’s parents left for India in December 2021, intending to work in the neighboring country to repay their house loan of 800,000 Nepali rupees (6,089 United States dollars). As they left, the responsibility of the house and his siblings was handed over to Jaisi, who is the oldest.

Just like Jaisi’s parents, 2.2 million people belonging to 1.5 million Nepali households are absent and living abroad. Of these, over 80% are men, according to the 2021 census on population and housing. The reasons for migration include the desire for a better future and financial status.

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