Sr. Ilia Delio Says Church Only Survives If Doors Opened to LGBTQ People & Others

A well-known Franciscan Sister theologian who writes and speaks on science and religion has commented positively on an inclusive church for LGBTQ people, and others who are marginalized.

Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, was interviewed by The National Catholic Reporter on the occasion of the publication of her memoir, entitled Birth of a Dancing Star. During the interview she proposed:

“‘A church grounded in the core reality of God’s love must be a church living from the center of that love, which is why the church can survive into the future only if it opens wide its doors to all those it currently excludes: women, laity, gay, non-binary, transgendered, divorced, and remarried,’ she writes. Love does not fixate on doctrines and canon laws, but is ‘patient and kind,’ as St. Paul wrote.”

Before taking religious vows, Delio studied neuroscience and neurotoxicity. Her background in science has led to her seeing religion through a lens of love and evolution, seeing God as a reflection of the chaos of life. It has also led her to many considerations about the future of the Catholic Church. In 2018, Delio criticized the church for not engaging responsibly and sufficiently with modern biology, suggesting, “If the church cannot accept modern biology and a deeply enmeshed biological God, then how in the world will we ever be set free?” The implications for the church taking science seriously on LGBTQ issues could be revolutionary.

When creatures evolve, they change to be better suited to their environment, which is itself changing. Creatures who remain unchanged can survive in a static environment, but when situations change, only that which changes can move forward. So it is with nature, and according to Delio, so it is with the church.

The love that the church is built on must extend to all who make up the body of Christ without judgement or condition.

Artemis Walsh, February 23, 2020

3 replies
  1. Patricia Vasilj
    Patricia Vasilj says:

    Bless you! When I see the journey of the LBGTQ community thru birth and baptism and Church life, to the realization of isolation when their sexual orientation matures, I see a Church full of ice. Contradictory statements from Rome hurt my mother’s soul. The history of the Church is not a kind one to those who have lived and died in its past. In the 21st century, one would have hoped things would get better. The laity can read and write now and think. We can say to Rome that they are wrong and the Inquisition will not come knocking on our doors. Don’t hurt the souls of our children. This spark of God’s love is in all of us. Respect it for what it is, the breath of His love. I look at the christening gown. Why did I think the Church would then embrace my child as family and then turn their backs? As a former history teacher, I should have known better.

  2. Friends
    Friends says:

    I urge everyone to read the full text of the interview with Sr. Delio, by clicking on the link which was provided at the top of the posted article. This woman is a true visionary, and I believe she is imbued with divine inspiration. If Catholicism is to survive into the next few hundred years, I believe it will be due to the breadth of understanding and faith revealed by scholars such as Sr. Delio.

  3. Dean Perotti
    Dean Perotti says:

    I’ve never seen one Catholic Church with a sign or notice prohibiting entrance to a particular group. It always been open to all.


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