At Thursday’s synod press briefing, one of the featured speakers was Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Italy. As far as LGBT issues go, Zuppi is probably best known for writing the preface to Un ponte da costruire, the Italian translation of Fr. James Martin’s book, Building a Bridge, about improving the relationship between LGBT people and the Catholic Church.
Zuppi, who is known as the “Italian Bergoglio,” spoke eloquently about the church as a “communion.” He described this idea of communion as antidote to “clericalism and nationalism” which seek to exclude people and close doors. “The Church speaks to everyone and with everyone. No one is to be left out,” he said. His talk was one of the moving descriptions of Pope Francis’ new approach to pastoral ministry that I have heard hear at the synod so far.
During the question period, I decided to ask him for his impressions on how LGBT topics are being received within the synod. So, I posed this question:
“I believe that pastoral ministry for homosexual people is an important topic. There are different sensitivities, and we must also consider different situations on the basis of geographical areas. It is not viewed the same in the West as it is in Africa. It is not just a new issue. This is borne out by the fact that the group of Catholic homosexuals from Bologna is more than thirty years old. In my opinion, it is a pastoral question, and as such I believe it should be treated: when it becomes ideological it becomes more complex and it is better to leave it aside “