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March 19, 2011

Saint of the LGBT Community

aelred

I first encountered St. Aelred during my first and only time to attend the Pride March in Malate in 2003 (or 2004). I got curious on the Order of St. Aelred and I thought that St. Aelred was officially the Catholic Patron Saint for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Community and that the Order was a Catholic Organization.

It’s only now that I did a research on the origin of St. Aelred being regarded as the Patron Saint of the LGBT. Contrary to my initial knowledge, he’s not officially the Catholic Patron Saint for the LGBT Community and that his sexual orientation is still open for debate. Nonetheless, he is still regarded by many in the LGBT Community as their saint.

Saint.AelredThe Catholic Saint

St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167) is the son of Eilaf, a Saxon priest, and was educated at Roxburgh, the ancient Scottish capital, where he was known for his intellectual talents. When Aelred finished his schooling, he became the steward to King David of Scotland. He left his job circa 1133 to join the Cistercian community at Rievaulx (a small village and civil parish near Helmsley in North Yorkshire, England, the United Kingdom). He was the first abbot (the head of a monastery) of Rievaulx's daughter housee in Revesby, Lincolnshire, but he returned to Rievaulx in 1147 to be abbot. During the last ten years of his life, his health deteriorated, and he suffered from gout and a bad cough. St. Aelred wrote his most famous work, The Mirror of Charity, at the request of Bernard of Clairvaux. On Spiritual Friendship is a Christianized version of Cicero's De amicitia. Aelred also penned lives of St. Ninian and of Edward the Confessor, in addition to a rule for recluses and a genealogy of the kings of England. His correspondence and his work on St. Cuthbert have been lost.

Taken from www.catholic.org.

Patron Saint of Integrity

NewLogo

There’s an organization called Integrity that adopted St. Aelred as their Patron Saint.

Integrity is a nonprofit organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Episcopalians and our straight friends. Since our founding by Dr. Louie Crew in rural Georgia in 1974, Integrity has been the leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church and our equal access to its rites.

Through Integrity's evangelism, thousands of LGBT people, estranged from the Episcopal Church and other denominations, have returned to parish life.

Taken from their Facebook page.

How did he became the Patron Saint for the LGBT Community?

At the 1985 General Convention in Anaheim, CA, at the suggestion of Howard Galley, Integrity/New York, the Standing Liturgical Commission recommended Aelred, along with a number of others, for inclusion in Lesser Feasts and Fasts. According to John Boswell, Aelred of Rievaulx had been gay--implying this might disqualify his inclusion. In spite of his being gay, and with the bishops' full knowledge that he was, he was admitted to the calendar.

During the 1987 national convention of Integrity, in St. Louis, the following resolution was submitted by the Rev. Paul Woodrum and was passed:

"Whereas the Episcopal Church USA meeting in General Convention in Anaheim, California, in 1985, with full knowledge, thanks to the vigilance of the bishop of Newark, of St. Aelred's homoerotic orientation, did approve for annual commemoration in her liturgical calendar the Feast of St. Aelred on 12 January and did provide propers for the same, Therefore be it resolved that Integrity Inc. place itself under the protection and patronage of St. Aelred of Rievaulx and, be it further resolved that Integrity, Inc. dedicate itself to regularly observe his feast, promote his veneration and seek before the heavenly throne of grace the support of his prayers on behalf of justice and acceptance for lesbians and gay men."

Taken from Integrity’s Official Blog.

What is the Episcopal Church?

The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States, but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe. The Episcopal Church is the Province of the Anglican Communion in the United States and most other territories where it has a presence (excluding Europe). The Episcopal Church describes itself as being "Protestant, Yet Catholic".In 2009, the Episcopal Church had a baptized membership of 2,175,616 both inside and outside the U.S. In the United States, it had a baptized membership of 2,006,343, making it the nation's fifteenth largest denomination.

The Church was organized shortly after the American Revolution when it was forced to separate from the Church of England, as Church of England clergy were required to swear allegiance to the British monarch. It became, in the words of the 1990 report of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Group on the Episcopate, "the first Anglican Province outside the British Isles".

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines is a province of the Anglican Communion first established by the Episcopal Church. It was founded in 1901 by American missionaries led by Charles Henry Brent, who served as the first resident bishop. It became an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion on May 1, 1990.

Episcopalphils

At present, the Episcopal Church has six dioceses. It is also responsible for founding and overseeing institutions such as St. Luke's Medical Center, Brent International School, St. Stephen's High School, and Trinity University of Asia. Its principal ministerial training institution is St. Andrew's Theological Seminary. Its Prime Bishop is Edward Malecdan. Its national headquarters is in Cathedral Heights, New Manila, Quezon City. The Church is in a concordat of full communion with the Philippine Independent Church and is a member of both the Christian Conference of Asia and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

From Wikipedia.

The Order of St. AelredOSAe2

The Order of St. Aelred is a religious order in the Philippines which accepts all people from all sexual orientation and ordains women and men to the holy priesthood for the purpose of serving the spiritual needs of God's children. The order promotes the eligibility of the LGBT community for the friendship of God, which follows the absolute right of the LGBTs for human rights. The order also supports the Pride March.

The Order of St. Aelred is an ecumenical Order within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church of Jesus Christ. Thus it is neither "Roman" Catholic nor "Protestant," but essentially ecumenical in its outlook and practice.

From WikiPilipinas and their Official Website.

CONCLUSION:

St. Aelred is both recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church (Protestant) as righteous. It was the Episcopal Church in the USA that promulgated St. Aelred as their Patron Saint and incorporated St. Aelred with the LGBT Community, since they believe he’s gay. The Order of St. Aelred is not associated with the Roman Catholic Church but is nonetheless, Christian in nature.

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