If you have only 5 minutes for us…
What’s all this stuff…?
There’s something here, in Hungary, which has been functioning since 1996. Something which is not a church and not a party. It is somehow connected to Christianity… It is somehow connected to being gay… – On this page we intend to summarize what the Five Loaves Community actually is, for what reason and with what objective it came into existence. We refer briefly to our ideological background, to similar organizations and our forerunners. It’ll turn out what we’re doing, and we also mention what we can put down as achievements in our history. Finally, you can find information here in case you’d like to contact us.
When, why, how…?
The Five Loaves Christian Community was founded in August 1996 by Catholic believers in order to provide a spiritual background for those men and women who believe – despite official Church views – that God, through Jesus Christ, and out of pure love, has invited them to salvation, yet they have recognized their homophile or homosexual orientation as a fact in their lives.
In the past years, demands have widened the frames: our group, started strictly as Catholic, is now an ecumenical Christian group, which can include not only Christians, but anyone ready to co-operate with us; on the other hand, we are mostly gays, but straight people are welcome as well. From the founding till now, several hundred people have contacted our community by mail or personally. Some people only inquired about us, others frequented our group for a few weeks or months, and there are some people coming back from time to time. Usually fifteen or twenty young or less young people participate at our weekly meeting.
The Five Loaves Christian Community wishes primarily to support those gay and lesbian people trying to live with their orientation as Christians, seeking solution for emerging problems. On the long run, we’d like to dissolve false stereotypes – often supported by some religious circles. We’d like to participate in getting over antipathy, aggression against gays and views supporting these, so as to ease the lives of gay and lesbian people wrestling with religion, identity and other problems. Last but not least, we try to give non-religious gays and lesbians (and others) an authentic image of Christ’s good news.
Background: churches and gays
According to the majority theological opinion prevailing in historical churches – and a number of minor churches and sects –, in terms of morality, homosexuality is a sin, a spectacular sign of turning against God. Hence, their response to gays and gayness is generally rejection, disdain and excommunication, or, in a better case, the intent of a “healing” intervention. Yet, this helping aim usually turns out wrong, since people (priests, community leaders, pastors), totally uninformed on the issue of homosexuality, wish to make changes in the other person’s life unrequested, on an ideological ground. This typically results in “a bull in a china-shop” situations.
Rejection has different reasons and different extents from church to church, and often from pastor to pastor. There are people regarding homosexuality as a disease, obstinately wishing to heal it. Others think the disposition itself sinful – some people think it definitely a demonic obsession –, and talk of conversion and exorcism. Among traditional opinions, the most accepting is the one differentiating – reasonably – between homosexual disposition and homosexual sexual behaviour, and while not considering the former as a sinful act (since it’s not an act but a permanent state), this view considers sexual activity resulting from the disposition as morally unacceptable. This standpoint is now officially taken by the Roman Catholic Church, which thinks that only total sexual abstinence is allowable as a possible way of living for gays.
This rejection is put forth by the church with great consistency. Its reasons are backed by some biblical passages, and it refers to the universality of natural law. However, contemporary theology cannot by-pass psychological and sociological facts known from scientific research, and therefore the concept of natural law, once considered unquestionable, is rather precarious today. It is a philological and dogma-historical fact that the Roman Catholic Church has no ultimate standpoint in this respect defined with the intent of infallibility. As to the relevant biblical passages – like practically all other parts of the Holy Scripture –, it has been shown that their interpretation is far from unambiguous or indubitable.
That’s why we didn’t use the concept “unambiguous standpoint”, and that’s why we speak only of a majority theological opinion. Besides the majority, the minority has been representing itself worldwide more and more distinctly. There are more and more people believing that the confrontation between homosexuality and Christian faith is the by-product of social “progress”, and this opposition does not follow from the revelation.
The Five Loaves Community takes the stand that homosexual activity is not a moral category in itself, and the relationship of two people of the same sex can only be judged by the same principles as that of two people of different sexes.
It is characteristic of the Hungarian gay movement – and of theological life as well – that it has fallen behind American and Western European development by about 25-30 years. “Out there”, in any quality bookshop, there is a separate shelf for books on gay and lesbian issues, and, among these, there are a plenty of volumes dealing with the relation of homosexuality and Christianity, both from a theological and a religious-sociological aspect. These books evidently don’t fall from heaven, but are written by people, behind whom there are communities, theologians, priests, and, not infrequently, bishops. In America, where a new denomination is not unusual, there are several specifically Gay Churches. In Switzerland, the homeland of Protestantism, in several cantons, couples of the same sex are married with ecclesiastical blessing. There are several gay Catholic groups in Western Europe functioning with the local bishop’s knowledge and consent.
The first similar initiative in Hungary took place on 1st November 1993, when in Budapest, in a downtown pub, three young gay men signed the founding charter of the Scarlet Robe Catholic Homosexual Community. Its name was motivated by Matthew 27:28 : Roman soldiers mocked Jesus by – among other means – throwing a scarlet robe on him and pretending to pay reverence to him. This injustice, incomprehension, and inhumanity – said the founders – is a demonstrative symbol of the way gays are treated by both church and society.
The Scarlet Robe was the apprenticeship of local gay Christian life: it worked for about one and a half year, with variable intensity, with the participation of 5-10 people. As of its character, it resembled a charismatic base community, but due to the differences of its members’ intellectual and spiritual backgrounds, to the lack of clear conceptions, and, not in the last place, due to inexperience, the initiative gradually died away.
What we have done and what we do now…
The name of our community was originally Five Loaves Catholic Circle of Friends. It all started in the summer of 1996, when some of us began to feel the demand of practising our Christian faith together, and going on from the point where Scarlet Robe had given up one year before. We met once a week; our programme contained reading the Bible, free prayers, short lectures on theology, and occasionally, Holy Mass. Then, as other people began to be interested, a demand for organization emerged. Owing to that, we laid down our conceptions and principles of functioning into a quite precise charter, and the circle of friends became a community, with normal and temporary members, a leadership of three people, and a several pages long creed which summarized the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.
Then, of course, it turned out that we were more numerous and more different than we had envisaged it at the desk. Firstly, we agreed that a Catholic member’s protestant partner or mate could be present as a guest at the meetings. Afterwards, a special protestant group came into existence with the leadership of our leader of the time – a Catholic priest –, but it died away after a few months.
We soon saw that this country is too small to play with forming denominations. For example, we cannot tell a Lutheran homosexual young man searching for an ear to listen to him, and a mouth to get comforting words, to go and find a Lutheran GLBT community, when there exists no such thing. We shoved the charter (resembling an austere monastic rule), as well as the creed, into the bottom of the desk drawer. Instead of dealing with idealized images, we have begun to deal with each other as real people struggling with real problems. At the moment, the only condition of membership is – as the angels said – to be “a person of good will” wishing to belong to us.1 We have experienced that if somebody doesn’t go well together with us for some reason, s/he drops out by him/herself, without any sanction.
At the beginning of the weekly meetings, we pray a self-compiled, about twenty-minute-long paraliturgy: it consists of psalms, songs and invocations. At the meetings, conversation is dominant, the starting-point of which is usually a scriptural passage, and everyone can share their opinion and thoughts about it. We do all this besides something to eat and drink. We often wander totally away from the point, which is not a problem, because our primary intent is not specifically to study the Bible, but to know each other, and through this, to know God.
We are different. There are hiding types and there are gay activists among us. Owing to the latters’ activity, the community has gradually stepped out of its closeness. Our ad is published from month to month in the magazine Mások (“Others”).
You can read about our activity on the Mosaic, which is updated from time to time.
About our name…
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” (John 6:3-14)
As we put it in the charter back then: “God uses small means to carry out His great aims. We believe that we, though small in the eyes of society, can be strong and effective in God’s hands in building the Church and making the world more righteous.”
“Christian” – this has several reasons. Our public name has always been this, because both church-law and civil law restrict the use of the word “Catholic” in the name of an association. But among ourselves, we would call the community Catholic until the above mentioned shift of approach – the opening towards ecumenicity – took place.
“Homosexual community” would have been a self-evident name – which was the name of the Scarlet Robe –, if we had wanted to emphasize that our members were expressly gays. However, this is not the case, or if it is, then only accidentally. What is essential, and what the term “for homosexuals” denotes, is that the aim of Five Loaves Community is, without regard to its current content, to help Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered people and to represent their human interests with the opportunities accessible.
If you’re curious of us…
… then first please spend a little time on our homepage.
Besides, at the bottom corners of the main page, there are two “bonus links”:
- At the Reading Room, we have gathered a lot of books, treatises, articles, and thoughts. Many thoughts can be found there about things only referred here, without concrete data. (Pages in English are linked with green.)
- At the Other Sites, you can find links considered interesting by us, arranged according to topics. (There are links referring to sites in English and in other non-Hungarian languages, as well.)
- Note: the following pages are in Hungarian.
- Among Questions & Answers, we would answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – if these questions were in fact frequently asked. Unfortunately, we find that most people do not ask questions, because, being educated at an average level, they are certain of being satisfactorily informed about both religious and gay issues. Anyhow, we go round three topics: Christianity (without regard to being gay), homosexuality (without regard to religion), and compatibility of Christianity and gayness.
- If you take the Test, you will be able to judge whether these above questions and answers are worth your trouble.
- A Piece of Bread can save somebody from starvation. We’d like to share our favourite ideas and stories with you which – in different ways, sometimes very indirectly – may give you a taste of the Good News we believe in.
- Clicking on the S.O.S., the one who feels the world has fallen down around him/her can perhaps be helped in case of an acute crisis or distress.
- “They shall be put to death” – the skull and cross-bones are snarling warlike on the right side. We know that several people wish that to us – we address them here with a request. (This page is in English.)
And if, after all this, you are still curious of us and perhaps would like to join us, don’t hesitate to contact us! We know that, as for you, we might as well write our meetings’ venue here , but other people may also wander to this page who are not driven by sympathy.
First, our leader is going to talk to you in person, then we’ll invite you to our Church service, held on the first Sunday of every month, and to our joint celebration after it, where you can meet the members of the community, pray with them and talk to them. You will be able to decide if you can imagine going along with us. Based on what you experienced here, you can think about whether the community can give you anything, or perhaps, you can give anything to it.
If your decision is positive, you can ask for admission as a temporary member from the leader of the community. From that time on, you can regularly participate at our meetings on Thursdays. If you’ve decided you’d like to attend us, and the community also finds it possible to co-operate with you, after the three-month temporary membership the community’s consulting board will resolve about your becoming a full member.
As we have mentioned it: at present, the only condition of membership for the one wishing to join us is to be “a person of good will”. If somebody appears with a baseball bat and a dog trained to tear gays to pieces, or s/he laughs scornfully at the foolishness of still believing God in the third millennium – well, then it’s possible that s/he will not be invited to the closed meetings. It is to be remarked that such a case has not occurred to date, and it’s not very probable that the curiosity of somebody warmed by such feelings will persist to the further meetings.
If you haven’t found the appropriate information at our site, or you are interested in our community’s life in more details, you can write email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Five Loaves Community, due to its being informal, is self-sustaining. To cover our expenses, members pay a monthly fee of a voluntary amount (which is known only by themselves and the brother/sister entrusted with the management of funds). This is the sum by which we finance the food eaten in the heat of conversation, the costs of our incidental publications and leaflets, and the upkeep of our P.O.Box and website. If you should wish to support us or our aims financially as well, we receive your donations with thanks (BIC: OTPVHUHB. IBAN: HU47 1171 3005 2038 6324 0000 0000).
1 In Vulgata, and in several other translations based on it, Luke 2:14 reads as “peace on earth to people of good will”. back