Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Bishop Thomas Paprocki Present Two Different Catholic Views on Marriage Equality

Sr. Jeannine Gramick speaking with Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Sr. Jeannine Gramick speaking with Bishop Thomas Paprocki

An event last Friday that included Sr. Jeannine Gramick, the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, highlighted just how supportive Catholics are of marriage equality as the bishops play defense to support their position.

For over two hours at an event hosted by Robert Blair Kaiser and the Jesuit Alumni of Arizona, Sr. Gramick exchanged views with Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, in front of an audience.

The National Catholic Reporter reported on the event, where Bishop Paprocki attacked  the “gay activist lobby” in his opening remarks and denigrated the attention given to the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 as evidence of media bias. He posited that if marriage equality passes, then “everything should be OK” in regard to any sexual practice or activity.

Sister Jeannine Gramick

Sister Jeannine Gramick

Alternatively, Sr. Gramick spoke of the positive changes occurring around LGBT issues, including her personal conversion that has led to nearly four decades of ministry with gay and lesbian people. The article continues:

“Gramick reflected on changes in her own attitudes, attitudes of the public and attitudes of the church hierarchy. She said more and more church leaders are moving toward support of at least civil unions.

“Referring to Paprocki’s remark that morality cannot be based on polls, she said, ‘We may not legislate on the basis of polls, but they tell us what people are thinking.’

“She said polls show Catholics’ opinions have moved from opposition to same-sex marriage to approval in a short time because nearly everyone has a gay friend, family member or business associate.”

Indicative of these shifting views, the question period was solely aimed at Bishop Paprocki’s opposition to LGBT rights. During remarks by the bishop, a member of the audience, Anne Gray, even yelled out, “That’s insulting” and followed-up with a question:

Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Bishop Thomas Paprocki

“In response to a question from Kaiser, Paprocki said the church would love to welcome gay people but is forced into a defensive position by ‘activists pushing an agenda.’ That set off Gray, who has a gay son, again.

“‘Here I am,’ she said. ‘The big scary gay agenda…My son is a perfect human being. There is nothing intrinsically disordered about him. I know because I am his mother.’…

” ‘You need to listen to mothers,’ she said.”

Another questioner offered her personal experience of supporting lesbian family members and Paprocki made the suggestion that she leave the church to do so:

“One of the youngest people in the room said she was a devout Catholic, but when her aunt and sister told her they were gay, she was put on the spot. She asked Paprocki if she could remain a good Catholic and still support her family members in their desires to form lifelong relationships.

” ‘It is a struggle to be a good Catholic while supporting gay marriage,’ the bishop said. ‘It strains your relationship with the church.’

“He said those who oppose the church on the issue should become Protestants. ‘They do a lot of good things too,’ he said.

This is the latest instance where Catholics supportive of LGBT equality are making their voices heard to the Church’s hierarchy, including Sr. Gramick who recently confronted the famously anti-gay Cardinal Turkson of Ghana. We applaud the many people whose efforts contributed to making American Catholics the leading religious group advocating for equal marriage rights!

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

19 replies
  1. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    ” ‘It is a struggle to be a good Catholic while supporting gay marriage,’ the bishop said. ‘It strains your relationship with the church.’

    “He said those who oppose the church on the issue should become Protestants. ‘They do a lot of good things too,’ he said.

    Heck, no. I am a lifelong baptized Catholic. I am not going anywhere, and neither are all the faithful who know beyond a doubt that our gay brothers and sisters are loved by God and deserve to have full inclusion in the church, including all sacraments. And while we are at it, women deserve full membership and participation in all sacraments, as well. Maybe the good bishop should find a new calling where he will not be rejecting the beloved children of Christ. The Holy Spirit has spoken loud and clear on this matter, and has changed the hearts and minds of most Catholics. We know that no one should try to get us to malign, discriminate, or deny social justice and call it religion. And we will refuse to do so. We must, as Catholic doctrine dictates, follow our consciences.

  2. David Kiester
    David Kiester says:

    After nearly 60 years of sincere and very active participation in the roman Catholic Church, I could no longer abide the castigations and insults from the hierarchy, all the way up to and including the Pope: “Intrinsically disorder,” “evil,” “a threat to social justice.” I followed the Bishop’s advice. I now am a practicing Episcopalian. I am doing good work. I worship the same God. I follow the Gospel principles as my conscience understands them. My sincere respect for those who have remained in the Catholic Church trying to awaken a conscience of love for LGBTIQ – our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers. I am responding to God’s call another way.

  3. K. Miller
    K. Miller says:

    The Pope needs to talk to American bishops before they empty the church. It is hard to believe this could be said in an open meeting.

  4. Vern Smith
    Vern Smith says:

    Isn’t it interesting, if one reads the NCR report, how there were virtually no questions for Sister Jeannine. How ironic that the one who has been questioned by the Vatican for decades faced none here, while the Bishop faced plenty of questions from the people. And that is the way it should be. More questions for those who claim authority, and less questions for those who pastorally minister, please. Good for you, Sister Jeannine. Good for you!

  5. Erma Durkin
    Erma Durkin says:

    It takes my breath away to hear a Bishop of the Church, in a public gathering, invite Catholics to leave the Church, to become Protestant! THIS IS THE SCANDAL, that the Bishop suggests that leaving the Church is like changing the hat you wear! or, joining another club! Do all Bishops still believe that the Church is the Body of Christ and we (all of us) are its members. And, that the sum total of our spiritual lives has been nurtured from our infancy, to parochial grade school to graduate Catholic Universities, to Religious Orders We cannot “shed” our Catholic conscience so easily. So, when we have serious questions to ask regarding the social and religious issues of the day, does ANYONE have the right to invited us OUT because our questions challenge the Bishops’ acuity!

  6. wild hair
    wild hair says:

    I really want to be there when Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki tells these three Roman Catholic Cardinals: Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez to “Go join a Protestant Church” because they support civil unions for gay and lesbian persons.

  7. Reade Selle
    Reade Selle says:

    Where can I find a transcription of this debate? I’ve found Bishop Paprocki’s address, and I would like to read Sister Gramick’s as well.

    • newwaysministryblog
      newwaysministryblog says:

      Bondings 2.0 hopes to post a copy of Sr. Jeannine’s talk some time next week. As far as we know there is no transcript of the event. Each speaker gave a talk, followed by questions from the audience.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] mentioned that, although she and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, differed on the issue of same-sex marriage, she and Paprocki had a delightful luncheon together as they shared their common ethnic […]

  2. […] May of 2013, Bishop Paprocki debated New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick on the topic of marriage […]

  3. […] Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick debates Springfield, Illinois’ Bishop Thomas Paprocki on marriage equality, and the audience supports the pro-marriage equality […]

  4. […] Jeannine Gramick, SL,  New Ways Ministry’s co-founder, who debated Bishop Paprocki on the issue of same-sex marriage earlier this year, stated it […]

  5. […] At the end of May,  New Ways Ministry’s Co-Founder Sister Jeannine Gramick participated in a marriage equality debate with Springfield, Illinois’ Bishop Thomas Paprocki.  The debate took place in Phoenix, Arizona, and was sponsored by the Jesuit Alumni of Arizona.  You can read the blog post and news story about the event here. […]

  6. […] to the National Catholic Reporter and Sr. Gramick’s New Ways Ministry, Paprocki was in attack mode from the very beginning, blasting the “gay activist lobby” […]

  7. […] to the National Catholic Reporter and Sr. Gramick’s New Ways Ministry, Paprocki was in attack mode from the very beginning, blasting the “gay activist lobby” […]

  8. […] ignorant statements about the Boy Scouts welcoming gay youth, and Bishop Thomas Paprocki told marriage equality supporters to just leave the church last […]

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