Some quotations on LGBT issues from Catholic prelates during the World Meeting of Families.
Cardinal Blase Cupich on Dialogue with LGBT People
At Thursday’s press conference, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago briefed the press on clergy sex abuse, where he noted, as he has done before, that clericalism is the root cause of the crisis. After the conference, I was able to ask Cardinal Cupich about the importance of church leaders listening to the stories of LGBT people. (In 2015, at the Synod on the Family in Rome, Cupich had said that he thought it would have been good for the synod bishops to hear from LGBT Catholics and families.) Here’s Cupich’s answer to my question about the importance of listening to LGBT people’s experiences:
“I’d bet that if you took a poll of families who are here today, they know of or have in their family LGBT people. That is part of family experience today, and the only way to move forward and preach the Gospel is to make sure we reach out and make sure nobody is left at the margins.”
Cardinal Vincent Nichols on Ministry, Marriage, and WMF
In an article about Thursday’s events at the WMF, The Irish Times caught some comments from Westminster’s Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who earlier that day had presented a major address entitled “Support and Preparation for Marriage in the Light of Amoris Laetitia”:
“In the main . . . arena, after setting out eight key preparations for a good Catholic marriage in his keynote address, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster in England, speaking to The Irish Times, stressed that ‘people who live with a same-sex experience’ were made to ‘feel at home in the church’ but made it clear that there was no place for them within the Catholic definition of marriage.
“He declined to comment on the organisation of the pastoral congress and its rejection of LGBT groups setting up exhibits.”
Cardinal Nichols is the leader who initiated the LGBT+ Catholics Westminster ministry described in the item above.
Reparative Therapy, Conversion, Chastity
At Thursday’s press briefing, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, was asked about reparative therapy for lesbian and gay people. The National Catholic Reporter captured the core of their answers:
“At the news conference, asked about conversion therapy for LGBT people advocated by some Catholic groups, Cupich responded, ‘I think that we have to make sure that a so-called conversion therapy model doesn’t start from the premise that the individual is in some way deformed or sick like somebody else who needs a therapy.’
” ‘For young people in their teenage years struggling with sexual identity questions, if that (conversion therapy) is the first message that we as an adult world give them, then I think we are setting them on the wrong path,’ he said.
“Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said he was not aware of any conversion therapy taking place within the Irish Catholic Church.
” ‘I wouldn’t support the idea of some kind of psychotherapy happening within a church setting,’ he said at the news conference.”
The Irish Mirror also captured some of the prelates’ other comments at the news conference:
Pushed on the topic of LGBTQ+ people within the Church, the bishops were asked what they thought of a recent speech by Fr James Martin, who said those who promoted conversion therapy were wrong. Archbishop Martin said he was not aware of this sort of
Catholic treatment in Ireland.
He added: “Conversion, change and repentance is something that is offered to all Christians but I don’t fully understand the idea of conversion therapy.
“I think a call to chastity, which is there for all Catholics with regard to sexual activity outside of marriage, is something that is very real but I wouldn’t support this idea of some kind of psychotherapy within a Church setting.
“We’re all sexual beings, we want to make sure a so-called conversion model doesn’t start from the premise that the individual is in some way deformed or sick, like someone else who needs therapy.
“That’s a message that so often young people who are struggling with sexuality questions are so sensitive.
“If that’s the first message that we as adults are giving to young people, we’re setting them on the wrong path.
“Let’s make sure we’re very clear and sensitive to the fact everyone struggles with how they live out their sexuality and we are always in need of redemption. That calls for chaste lifestyle but to stigmatise one over the other is very damaging and is not the gospel.”
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, August 26, 2018