(Monday, October 2, 2023) GLAAD, the world's largest l LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is responding to Pope Francis' groundbreaking statement allowing blessings on same-sex unions.
According to New Ways Ministry, an organization founded to bridge LGBTQ Catholics with their church, Pope Francis' guidance was outlined in a document [ www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_risposta-dubia-2023.pdf ] released on October 2nd by the Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. The guidance says pastoral ministers can administer blessings to same-sex couples, and urges that "pastoral prudence" and "pastoral charity" guide responses to couples who request a blessing. The statement was part of a response to five conservative and retired bishops, whose ages range from 78 to 94.
Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, released the following statement:
"Pope Francis' response is both unprecedented and compassionate and continues to urge every Catholic and leader toward acceptance and recognition of LGBTQ people. The Pope has consistently elevated the dignity of LGBTQ people. He has now extended his call for affirmation to our relationships by noting they, too, are sacred and deserving of respect. The Holy Father repeatedly reminds Catholics and Church leadership to accept rather than exclude and condemn. Pope Francis' leadership recognizes the lived reality that LGBTQ people exist, that we form partnerships and families, and that we need the support of our communities, including our churches. This is not full marriage recognition, but it will make a significant difference in the lives of LGBTQ families and create a Catholic Church open to all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity."
New Ways Ministry stated: "The allowance for pastoral ministers to bless same-gender couples implies that the church does indeed recognize that holy love can exist between same-gender couples, and the love of these couples mirrors the love of God. Those recognitions, while not completely what LGBTQ+ Catholics would want, are an enormous advance towards fuller and more comprehensive equality. This statement is one big straw towards breaking the camel's back of the marginalized treatment LGBTQ+ people experience in the Church."
Pope Francis has consistently and continually urged church leaders and parishioners to accept and affirm LGBTQ people. In January, the Pope said, "Homosexuality is not a crime," calling laws in nearly 70 countries that criminalize same-sex relationships "unjust" and reminding that treating other people uncharitably is a sin. Last year, he urged parents of LGBTQ people to "accompany their children and not hide in an attitude of condemnation."
The Pope's letter to five retired bishops from around the world, including Raymond Burke, former archbishop of the St. Louis archdiocese, comes as the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops meets this week in Rome. For the first time in history, laypeople, women and other non-bishops will participate and vote on recommendations to the Pope, who can decide whether to accept any of the assembly's recommendations.
A record high 71% of all Americans support marriage equality for LGBTQ people, according to Gallup, including 41% of weekly churchgoers.
ABOUT LGBTQ PEOPLE OF FAITH
In the U.S., 47% of LGBTQ people consider themselves religious. One in seven highly religious LGBTQ people are in a same-sex relationship. [ williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/lgbt-religiosity-us/ ] .
According to a 2022 poll, majorities of all religious groups favor state laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. This includes support from a majority of Hispanic Catholics (80%), white Catholics (80%), and white Evangelical Protestants (60%).
For more information on LGBTQ people and religion, refer to GLAAD's Media Guide: glaad.org/religion/ . For more information on the state of global LGBTQ rights, refer to:
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.