To end 2018 on a positive note, we present to you the results of the Bondings 2.0’s readers poll of the Best Catholic LGBT News Events of 2018. Last week, we presented readers with 15 “nominees,” asked them to vote for five, and today we present the top ten, in order of rank from the top vote-getter to the lesser ones. After each item is the percentage of votes which it received. A short commentary on the results follows the list.
Yesterday, we presented the results of our readers’ poll of the Worst Catholic LGBT News Events of 2018. You can review those results by clicking here.
Thanks to all the readers who responded to both polls!
The Top Ten Best Catholic LGBT News Events of 2018
- Jesuit Father James Martin addresses the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families (WMF), held in Dublin, Ireland, discussing ways for parishes to welcome LGBT people. It is the first time the WMF hosts a positive talk on LGBT issues. LGBT Catholics Westminster also make an evening presentation on their pastoral outreach in London. 72%
- Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean gay man who is a clerical sex abuse survivor, meets privately with Pope Francis who reportedly tells him “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.” 51%
- Two Catholic parishes in Austria begin including lesbian and gay couples in their traditional ritual of blessing relationships on St. Valentine’s Day. 38%
- The final document of the Vatican’s Synod on Youth calls for the Church to conduct an examination of “questions related to the body, to affectivity and to sexuality that require a deeper anthropological, theological and pastoral exploration,” possibly paving the way for revising sexual ethics and gender issues in the church. 36%
- Father Bryan Massingale, a Fordham University theologian, responds to his archbishop’s criticism of a retreat for gay priests by writing a masterful analysis of homophobic assumptions.
- Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, the vice president of Germany’s Catholic bishops conference, acknowledges that marriage equality is “now a political reality” and calls for the church to have a debate about blessing same-gender marriages. 30%
- At the closing Mass of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, members of the Archdiocese of Dublin’s “All Are Welcome” liturgy for the LGBT community are among those selected to bring up offertory gifts to the pope. 30%
- In the Instrumentum Laboris, the preparatory document for the Synod on Youth, the Vatican includes the term “LGBT” for the first time ever. 28%
- Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland who is also the mother of a gay son, increases her challenges to the Church hierarchy to reform negative church teaching and practice concerning LGBT people, at one point declaring that a homophobic church “is not the church of the future.” 26%
- David Albert Jones, a Catholic ethicist at Oxford University argues that the church “should not assume… that someone expressing a deep-seated sense of gender identity is doing something sinful or objectively disordered,” and instead consider that “the person may be accepting his or her gender identity as something given by God.” 22%
For the second consecutive year, Father James Martin tops the list of Best Catholic LGBT News events. In 2017, he was in the first position because of the publication of his best-selling book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. In 2018, the book has been released in a second edition and translated into several languages other than English. It continues to spark conversations among church leaders and people in the pews.
The list also shows that 2018 has been a year of firsts: first time LGBT issues were addressed positively at the World Meeting of Families, first time the Vatican acknowledged that its sexual teaching needs to be reviewed, first time the Vatican used the term “LGBT” in an official document, first time openly LGBT people bring up gifts at a papal Mass, first time a bishops’ conference leader calls for the church to discuss blessing same-gender marriages. May these firsts blossom into trends in 2019!
What is your impression of this list? Do you agree with the items? What insights do you have about these events? Share your thoughts in the “Comments” section of this post?
Onward to 2019!
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, December 31, 2018