The Order of St. Aelred
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.
As a Religious Order
The Order of St. Aelred is a religious society that functions as a "third order" where the members live their own ordinary lives. The order responds to a unique calling to live and teach the Law of Love and Friendship of God everywhere. The patron of the order is St. Aelred of Rievaulx, who took his writings from the writings of St. John about the love and friendship of God.
The members of the order are guided by the Rules of the Order, which is Charity, Obedience and Fidelity, and they are united by their experience of the vows of the Order, these vows are non-traditional.
The Order, most of all, promotes living life of continuing and ongoing spiritual formation, living the commitment to sacramental Christianity, deepening friendship with God and with one another.
One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
The OSAe is an ecumenical order within the church of Jesus Christ but its neither "Roman" catholic nor "Protestant", essentially ecumenical in its outlook and practices.
The desire of the order is with God and one another, as what their patron saint said, "If God is Love, as St. John teaches, then God is also friendship."
Beliefs and Practice
The order promotes the equality of men and women in every part of their lives, including ministry, priesthood, and leadership in the order.
In promoting equality, is their resistance to discrimination. They openly accept in their membership and ministry all races, cultures, sex orientation and ethnic background.
The order lives under their mission of reaching out to people of every spiritual, physical and emotional needs. They find motivation in the all-embracing ministry of Jesus, this includes those who were victims of AIDS, poverty, social inferiority ans sexual discrimination.
The order promotes peace and justice under true morality. They believe in sex positive theology and they do not believe that the Bible condemns same-sex love. The order also condemns abuse, harm or force to define sexual freedom.
The OSAe adopts the general Catholic and orthodox theological position. the members accept this teachings, while the non-members engage in the social and psychological services of the order without any religious requirements. The participants in the support groups and the couples preparing for Holy Union do not have to meet a religious standard, however, they are instructed on the approach of the order towards friendship in the relationship.
Vision and Mission
The order envisions, "a just and peaceful society where friendships abide and spirituality and sexuality merge on the path to friendship with God and one another while living our God-given humanity in holistic well-being and fulfillment." The just and peaceful society, as the order defines it, is the one where the LGBT community live side by sice with equality in the society free of homophobia, rejection and prejudice. With this follows their mission, which is "to pray, study, and work to promote a just and peaceful society, to live and teach the integration of spirituality and sexuality, to be fully human, enjoying life-enriching friendships, while bringing ourselves into friendship with God and bringing others into friendship with us and with God." The organization believes that it is their mission to prepare themselves to be the best person that they can be to fulfill their mission, in order for this to happen, they devote themselves to prayer, study and actions. the central part of their mission is to live a life-enriching friendship in the community and in the society for their mission of bringing LGBT to experience the liberation brought about by sex positive theology.
Institutions Under O.S.Ae.
The order provides different services through the following institutions under it:
- St. Aelred Friendship Society (SAeF)
- The Center for the Study of Spirituality and Sexuality (CSSS)
- St. Aelred Seminary (SAS)
- The Ministry of Holy Unions (MHU) for Committed Couples
- Gay Men's Support Group
The order is affiliated with the following organizations through The Center for the Study of Spirituality and Sexuality (CSSS):
- Ang Ladlad
- Lesbian and Gay Advocacy Network (Lagablab)
- International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)
- Task Force Pride