Yesterday, we posted our list of the worst of 2013 in Catholic LGBT news. Today, as promised, we end the year on a positive note by presenting our list of the BEST of the previous year. It has been quite a good year for Catholic LGBT issues, on all levels of the church. From a pope who is setting a more positive tone to Catholics in the pews organizing to support marriage equality, we have seen positive movement this year on all levels of the church. As we noted yesterday, when we drew up our list of “nominees,” it was hard to come up with 20 serious negative stories from last year, and it was just as hard to limit the positive stories to only 20.
If you’d like further testimony to the positive movement this year in regard to Catholic LGBT issue, you might want to take a look at Michael O’Loughlin’s essay entitled “For Gay Catholics, 2013 Was A Banner Year. Will It Continue? It was published on the WBUR website, Boston’s public radio station.
Thanks to the 286 of you who voted in our poll to determine the selection and ranking of these best news stories. The percentage following each story is the percentage of people who chose this item as one of their top five.
The Top Eleven (It would have been the top ten, but we had a number of ties) :
1. Pope Francis, in word and action, begins moving the worldwide Catholic Church towards a more accepting and pastoral approach towards LGBT people. 22%
2 and 3 (TIE). Catholics play a major positive role in the legalization of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Minnesota, Illinois, Hawaii, France, and Great Britain. 11%
The Vatican asks for input from lay Catholics around the globe for its upcoming Synod on Marriage and the Family, including questions about pastoral care of families headed by same-gender couples. 11%
4 and 5 (TIE). Catholic high school students and alumni organize in cities around the U.S. to protest decisions by their schools to fire LGBT personnel. 6%
The Vatican presents a top science award to a young gay high school student in Maryland. 6%
6, 7, 8 (TIE). Cardinals and bishops around the world, including at least two Vatican officials, endorse the idea of legalizing civil unions for lesbian and gay couples. 5%
New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick debates Springfield, Illinois’ Bishop Thomas Paprocki on marriage equality, and the audience supports the pro-marriage equality arguments. 5%
Catholic leaders and commentators welcome the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act, despite criticism of the decision from the U.S. bishops. 5%
The president of McQuaid H.S., Rochester, N.Y., allows two male students to attend the junior prom as a couple. 4%
Fr. Gary Meier, St. Louis Archdiocese priest, comes out as a gay man and reaches out to LGBT Catholics. 4%
Other Items which garnered votes:
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, speaks out against his nation’s court decision to allow for the re-criminalization of homosexuality. 3%
The National Catholic Committee on Scouting supports the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift the ban against young gay men joining the organization. 3%
Two Catholic hospitals are given national honors for their employment and patient care standards in regard to LGBT equality. 2%
Theologian Bryan Massingale challenges justice and peace Catholics to embrace LGBT issues as part of their social agenda. 2%
Santa Rosa, California’s Bishop Robert Vasa withdraws an orthodoxy oath for church ministers after lay people protest such a measure. 1%
Linda Karle-Nelson and Thomas Nelson, Catholic parents, are presented with PFLAG’s highest honor for LGBT family outreach and advocacy. 1%
LGBT young adults from the Equally Blessed coalition travel to World Youth Day in Brazil to spread the message of inclusion and equality. 1%
One respondent wrote in what he/she considered to be one of the best Catholic LGBT stories of 2013:
“Francis is elected pope, and says with regard to gay people, ‘Who am I to judge?’ “
All in all, it has been a very good year! Bondings 2.0 and New Ways Ministry looks forward to even greater strides for LGBT equality and justice in 2014!
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry