As members of the Church who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, as well as family members and allies, we call on the Cardinals and the new Pope to enter into a true dialogue with our community. We call for an end to statements that inflict harm on already marginalized people, depict us as less than fully human, and lend credence to those seeking to justify discrimination. We call on our Church not only to embrace but to champion the dignity and equality of all humans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We call on all members and friends of DignityUSA to enter into a period of prayer and reflection as we prepare for the conclave.
From Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry:
The news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation has surprised the Catholic community worldwide, and here at New Ways Ministry we are praying for the future of the church and for the pope’s health.
We are praying, too, for LGBT Catholics and their families and friends, whose lives were made more difficult living under Benedict’s reign both as pontiff and as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), where he served previously. For the last three decades, Benedict has been one of the main architect’s of the Vatican’s policies against LGBT people.
New Ways Ministry directly experienced those harsh policies several times over the years, most notably in 1999 when the CDF attempted to silence our organization’s co-founders, Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent. Fortunately, we have survived the many attempts by the Vatican to end our ministry, and, thanks to the support of so many Catholics, we have emerged stronger for it. During the CDF’s investigation of her ministry, Sister Jeannine serendipitously met Cardinal Ratzinger on a plane in Europe, and they had a conversation together about her case and about ministry to LGBT people. Sister Jeannine recalls that, despite their disagreement, she was impressed with him as a man dedicated to the church.
Benedict XVI’s dedication to the church, particularly to its intellectual life, has indeed been admirable. We pray that a new pope will combine his intelligence with true and deep pastoral concern for the lives of the people of the world. A new pope needs to be a listener who can discern the signs of the times in light of the Gospel.
Is it inevitable that the next pope will be as conservative as Benedict has been? Certainly not. History reminds us that no one expected the election of Pope John XXIII in 1958, and in calling the Second Vatican Council, he clearly moved the church into a more progressive era. We trust that the Holy Spirit will guide our church in the days and years to come and that our faith, hope, and love will be strengthened by our next spiritual leader.
Giuseppina la Delfa of Italian LGBT group Famiglie Arcobaleno to Gay Star News:
I simply think that this Pope is obsessed by homosexuality and he acknowledged that a new Church is needed by our society.
I’m optimistic, I think that the new Pope could only be a better one. The Vatican has understood that they have made a lot of mistakes, on human rights, on LGBT rights, on condoms, on new families and on modern needs of contemporary people.
Now we need a Pope able to listen to everyone, a Pope who understands that the churches are running out of people because of a blind policy and that the Church can not be obsessed by homosexuality.
From The Equally Blessed:
With the Pope’s impending resignation, the church has an opportunity to turn away from his oppressive policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and their families and friends, and develop a new understanding of the ways in which God is at work in the lives of faithful and loving people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
We pray for a Pope who is willing to listen to and learn from all of God’s people. We pray for a Pope who will realize that in promoting discrimination against LGBT people, the church inflicts pain on marginalized people, alienates the faithful and lends moral credibility to reactionary political movements across the globe. We pray for a pope who will lead the church in looking the sexual abuse scandal squarely in the eye and make a full report on the complicity of the hierarchy in the sexual trauma inflicted on children around the world. We pray for a pope who is willing to make himself vulnerable on behalf of the voiceless, the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed.