Vatican apologizes, reverses decision on LGBTQ org; U.S. bishops suspected in trying to silence them

Mon. December 13, 2021 2:52 PM by Gerald Farinas

catholic bishop saying mass

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America magazine suspects U.S. bishops pushed Vatican to leave out New Ways Ministry because it advocates for LGBTQ rights in the Church

Leadership at the Vatican, headquarters of the Catholic Church, apologized for erasing a link to an LGBTQ ministry on an official Vatican website. It reinstated the link for New Ways Ministry this past weekend.

Th Synod of Bishops' apology to an LGBTQ organization was considered historic ahead of the 2023 summit that will discuss the future of the Catholic Church, and possible changes to its relationship with its LGBTQ followers.

New Ways Ministry "educates and advocates for justice and equality for LGBTQ Catholiocs, and reconciliation within the larger Church and civil communities," the Maryland-based organization said.

It was founded by Rev. Robert Nugent, SDS, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, after a 1976 pastoral letter by Brooklyn Bishop Francis J. Mugavero in 1976. The letter was a first for the Church, calling for lesbian and gay Catholics to be treated with equality, dignity, pride, and respect.

America magazine explained that there is suspicion that New Ways Ministry was initially removed from the Vatican website because of opposition by powerful American bishops who oppose the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in Church life. Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have long held New Ways Ministry "at arms length" for its advocacy of LGBTQ rights in the Church.

The synod's communications director Thierry Bonaventura issued the public apology "to all LGBTQ and to the members of New Ways Ministries for the pain caused."

Pope Francis called the convention of bishops together, choosing for its theme, "For a synodal church: communion, participation, and mission."

In essence, the pope is forcing the Church's leaders to question its role in the modern world and listen to regular people what direction it should take.

Cardinal Mario Grech, chosen by the pope to lead as Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, specifically told the conservative U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Let the pastors not be afraid to listen to the flock."

He continued,  "Do not be afraid to tell us frankly what you have gathered from listening to your people about what the Spirit is saying to the Church."