The Best Catholic LGBT News Events of 2017

In the second part of Bondings 2.0’s year-end review of Catholic LGBT news events, today we present our readers’ picks for the 10 best stories of the past 12 months.   We presented our readers with a poll of 15 nominees, asked them to vote for five, as well as offer any additional stories. The ten that made the “best” list are the highest vote-getters, with number one being the most popular, and the list decreasing in descending order.  The percentage at the end of each item is the percent of votes that the item received.

Following the list are some observations about the results.

We also asked readers to vote for the worst news events of the year.  We presented the results of that poll yesterday.


  1.  Fr. James Martin, SJ, publishes Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, a book which sparks a global conversation in church circles. (79%)
  2. Cardinal Joseph Tobin welcomes a pilgrimage of LGBT people to the cathedral in Newark, New Jersey.   Welcome Masses for LGBT people also held in San Diego (US), Nottingham (UK). (58%)
  3. Pope Francis continues to make positive statements towards LGBT people, in one case sending blessings and congratulations to a gay couple on the baptism of their children, and in another case acknowledging the need for legal civil unions for lesbian and gay couples. (48%)
  4. A nationwide survey in the U.S. shows that Catholics oppose allowing small businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian people because of a religiously held belief. (36%)
  5. Irish bishops indicate that all families will be welcome at World Meeting of Families gathering in Dublin in 2018. (32%)
  6. (TIE) Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago says he wants to dialogue with LGBT people to learn from them. (31%)
  7. (TIE)  Luxembourg’s openly gay prime minister and his husband were officially welcomed at the Vatican. (31%)
  8. Malta, Australia, Germany pass marriage equality laws with minimal interference from Catholic leaders. (28%)
  9. Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv., emerges as a voice for LGBT inclusion at New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium and an interfaith prayer service for Pride. (27%)
  10.  In India, Carmelite Sisters and lay Catholics open school for transgender youth. (21%)


  • Priests and religious who have the courage to come out as LGBT.


The publication of Fr. James Martin’s new book clearly dominated Catholic LGBT news of the past year.  We presented more posts on that topic than any other item in the past 12 months.  It seemed that everyone in the Catholic world had a comment about it, including Vatican officials.  The news brought acclaim to Fr. Martin, but he also was denied speaking opportunities in Catholic venues because of conservative criticism of his book. Those cancellations made it onto the list of the worst Catholic LGBT events which we posted yesterday.  Though 2017 is ending, we have probably not seen the end of the impact that this book will continue to make, especially since a second edition is being planned.

Three of the items that made the list describe positive pastoral LGBT outreach by local bishops, indicating the power of these simple acts of presence and welcome can be.

Catholics continue to welcome marriage equality, and it seems that even church officials have toned down their opposition rhetoric on this topic.

What insights into the world of Catholic LGBT topics do you get from this list?  Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section of this post.

–Francis DeBernardo and Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, December 30, 2017

4 replies
  1. Thomas Smith
    Thomas Smith says:

    GOOD NEWS indeed! Thanks, New Ways. Grateful for Fr. Martin’s brilliant thoughtful book, BUT important to remember: The “Bridge” linking LGBT Catholics and the RC Church has been continually maintained and reinforced by Dignity/USA since the “the ropes were cut” by the Ratzinger Letter of 1986. This bridge is not new or in planning stages; it is vital and brave and long-established. Newark would not have their Deacon with the he Deaf without Dignity’s welcome to me in 1991.

  2. Friends
    Friends says:

    Perhaps — and hopefully not in some far-distant future — the administrative honchos who claim to own and to run the Roman Catholic Church will be compelled to acknowledge that LOVE is the Prime Directive which Lord Jesus Himself bequeathed to us. He said nothing at all about the gender-polarity of those whom He urged to “Love One Another, As I Have Loved You”. I continue to believe that artificially enforced and totally arbitrary celibacy lurks behind the utter failure of many (if not most) members of the Catholic hierarchy to grasp, to uplift and to celebrate Jesus’ own Prime Directive to those who love Him.

  3. Martin Aviles
    Martin Aviles says:

    It is amazing that all these goods are happening to welcome our lgbt 🏳️‍🌈 brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church. May God bless all these efforts!!!

  4. Paula Mattras
    Paula Mattras says:

    I just wrote a reply and it disappeared from my screen, so I am not certain if it was sent or is now sunning itself on a “cloud” somewhere. Pope Francis gives me hope that opinion is moving in the right direction; that he is gently steering the ship into calmer and more accepting waters; that people are taking note of the normalcy which our GLBTQ brothers and sisters are utilizing in just making a living, loving God and their families – doing their part in building bridges. Wishing everyone a New Year blessed with good health and the happiness that comes from truly understanding and caring. I’m looking forward to the next book.


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