New Ways Ministry on the Resignation of Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

The following is the statement of New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director Francis DeBernardo on the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation:

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.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
  1. K. Miller
    K. Miller says:

    I recognize that Pope Benedict has served the church for many years. He is showing wisdom in accepting the changes age brings to all of us. I pray for his health and well being and that the leaders will look to someone who can bring the church out of the darkness and negativity which currently exists.

  2. Larry Quirk
    Larry Quirk says:

    While hope springs eternal, the reality is that B16 has stacked the College of Cardinals with very conservative men and that he will be alive and very prominent behind the scenes in selecting his replacment. Please recall that he arranged his own accension to the throne of Peter with a conclave that only took 24 hours to decide. What he is really doing is cementing his vision of a smaller and more conservative Roman Church. His oppresive reign against LGBT people will continue but with a new, and perhaps very much younger, face.

  3. Susan Hailman
    Susan Hailman says:

    We need to pray for the Spirit’s intervention in the selection of the new pope. Just as Benedict’s resignation comes as a surprise, we need to be open to the Surprising potential of the Spirit to open many hearts-even the most conservative cardinals!

  4. John Moran
    John Moran says:

    The content and tone of your statement: Excellent.. However, I expect we’ll have to endure one more papacy like JPII’s and Benedict’s in view of the “packing” of the College of Cardinals by both these Popes with old – no “ageism” here, I’m old – and conservative men. I expect that the College won’t have fewer conservative members till the end of the next Pope’s reign, if then. But in spite of all that we may be surprised as were the cardinals, especially at headquarters there in Rome – the Curia – who elected John XXIII.


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  3. […] can view New Ways Ministry’s full statement regarding the resignation here and be assured that as commentaries develop and news breaks, Bondings 2.0 will continue to update […]

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  5. […] More reactions from Catholic LGBT organizations on Pope Benedict’s announcement of his resignation.  For New Ways Ministry’s statement, click here. […]

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