John M. Becker

LGBT Catholic Group Says it Received Vatican Welcome

Filed By John M. Becker | February 19, 2015 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic Church, Catholicism, Francis, Jeannine Gramick, New Ways Ministry, Pope Francis, pro-LGBT Catholics, Vatican, Vatican City

JeannineGramick.jpgNew Ways Ministry -- a well-known Catholic social justice organization dedicated to combating homophobia and promoting "the acceptance of LGBT people as full and equal members of church and society" -- says it was welcomed on Wednesday at a papal audience in Vatican City for the first time in the group's 38-year history.

Sr. Jeannine Gramick (right), the group's co-founder, told Reuters that she and New Ways Ministry executive director Francis DeBernardo were leading a group of 50 LGBT Catholics on a pilgrimage to Rome. Gramick said that Vatican officials flat-out "ignored" the group during previous pilgrimages under the (notoriously anti-gay) papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. But this time was different:

This time, a US bishop and a top Vatican official backed their request and they sat in a front section with dignitaries and special Catholic groups. As the pope passed, they sang "All Are Welcome," a hymn symbolizing their desire for a more inclusive Church.

A list of participants released by the Vatican listed "a group of lay people accompanied by a sister" but did not mention that they were a gay rights organization.

Sr. Gramick calls her group's newfound welcome "a sign of movement that's due to the Francis effect." She added, "What this says is that there is movement in our Church, movement to welcome people from the outside closer to the inside."

But while Francis's Catholic Church has indeed taken small, halting steps forward in the way it talks to and about gays and lesbians, it has thus far shown no sign that it intends to change its bigoted teachings on homosexuality. The Catechism of the Catholic Church -- the doctrinal manual of Catholicism -- still calls homosexuality, as a sexual orientation, "objectively disordered." It labels gay sexual acts "intrinsically disordered."

Watch an AP video report on New Ways Ministry's pilgrimage, after the break.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.