New Ways Ministry has accepted the apology of a Vatican official who removed a link to New Ways Ministry’s webinar on synodality from the Synod office’s resources website last week. The link has since been restored.
Thierry Bonaventura, Communication Manager of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, issued the apology on Sunday, as reported by Fr. James Martin, S.J. on Facebook. In a post subtitled, “Walking together also means knowing how to apologize,” Bonaventura took personal responsibility for the removal of the webinar link citing “internal procedural reasons.” He continued:
“This brought pain to the entire LGBTQ community who once again felt left out.
“I feel that I must apologize to all LGBTQ people and to the members of New Ways Ministries [sic] for the pain caused, testifying with the two contributions below the firm well – not only mine but of the entire General Secretariat of the Synod – not to exclude those who wish to carry out this synodal process with a sincere heart and a spirit of dialogue and real discernment.”
Notably, Bonaventura also provided an email address to which LGBTQ people can submit directly to the Synod office:
“Certainly, LGBTQ groups and those groups who feel they live on the ‘margins’ of the Church can director their contributions, resources, or what they want to share with the whole people of God to firstname.lastname@example.org[.]”
Concluding his apology, Bonaventura wrote
“In walking together, sometimes one may fall, the important thing is to get back up with the help of the brothers and sisters.”
In a statement, Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, thanked Bonaventura and said the organization “warmly” accepted his apology. DeBernardo commented via a statement (available here), in part:
“We appreciate that apologies are never easy to make. New Ways Ministry had not requested one, making this gesture all the more authentic. Vatican officials rarely apologize, and they almost certainly have never apologized to LGBTQ people or an LGBTQ Catholic ministry. This action signals that Vatican officials are becoming aware of how their decisions impact LGBTQ lives. It also reveals a desire to repair damages they may have caused. In these respects, this is an historic moment. . .
“This unprecedented apology from a Vatican office corrects the earlier mistake and amplifies, even louder, the welcome that Pope Francis has extended to LGBTQ people.”
Last week, news broke that New Ways Ministry has received two letters from Pope Francis, saying in one, “Thank you for your neighborly work” and referring to the group’s co-founder, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, as a “valiant woman.” For more details on that news, click here.
—Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, December 13, 2021