Pope Francis has received a group of Italian parents with LGBT children, who presented the pope with the Italian edition of a new book filled with the stories of such Catholic families. An English edition of the book is due to be released by New Ways Ministry in October.
The audience between Pope Francis and forty representatives from the Italian group Tenda di Gionata (Jonathan’s Tent), which supports parent with LGBT children, occurred Wednesday at the Vatican. Religión Digital reported:
“Pope Francis greeted them warmly and, at the end of the audience, the vice president of the association, Mara Grassi, together with her husband gave [the pope] a copy of Genitori Fortunati [Blessed Parents]. The volume synthesizes the ecclesial experiences, often very hard, that lesbian and gay Catholics have had to go through.
“Along with these testimonies, the association has also included letters with specific requests and criticisms of the treatment [LGBT people] received by the Church, which has forgotten or stigmatized the LGBT community. ‘The Church does not exclude them,’ Francis replied. ‘It loves your children as they are, because they are children of God.'”
“As Avvenire.it has published, the association gave the Pontiff a rainbow t-shirt with the words ‘In love there is no fear’ (1 Jn 4:18). Francisco smiled upon receiving it, a moment when Grassi highlighted the ‘deep harmony that we will not forget.'”
One LGBT representative from Tenda di Gionata said they could not have imagined ever meeting with Pope Francis given the “painful journey” that so many LGBT Catholics of faith have endured. Grassi told Avvenire.it further:
“Our association wants the Church and families with LGBT children to be in dialogue. Taking a cue from the title of the book we presented to him, I explained that we consider ourselves lucky because we have been forced to change the way we have always looked at our children. What we now have is a new gaze that has allowed us to see the beauty and love of God in them. We want to create a bridge with the Church. . .so that the Church too can change its gaze towards our children, no longer excluding them but welcoming them fully.'”
The book, Genitori Fortunati (translated as “Blessed Parents”), was published earlier this year, as Bondings 2.0 reported. Founded by Fr. David Esposito, La Tenda di Gionata is a project of the larger Italian LGBTQ faith group Progetto Gionatta (Project Jonathan). The group also released a video of parents’ testimonies, available here with English subtitles. Although only 31% of Italians attend church regularly, about 83% of Italians identify as Catholic.
In October, New Ways Ministry will release an English edition of the book, titled Blessed Parents: Italian Stories of Catholic Families with Lesbian and Gay Children, in partnership with Progetto Gionata. The English language version will have a foreword by Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry Executive Director, and an afterword by Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, New Ways Ministry Co-Founder. It will also include English language resources for Catholic parents of LGBTQ children.
If you are interested in receiving electronic and/or hard copies of the English book, please fill out an interest form available here.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, September 18, 2020