New Ways Ministry Accepts Vatican Apology for Synod Webinar’s Removal

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 webmaster@synodresources.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

3 replies
  1. Duane Sherry
    Duane Sherry says:

    At the risk of sounding petty, is it too much to ask for such an apology to be addressed correctly?

    New Ways Ministry (not Ministries).

    Reply
  2. DON E SIEGAL
    DON E SIEGAL says:

    New Ways Ministry Accepts Vatican Apology for Synod Webinar’s Removal

    This apology seems like a response to the upbeat scripture readings for the Third Sunday in Advent (AKA Gaudete Sunday). Gaudete is a Latin word for rejoice.

    https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121221.cfm

    As noted in New Ways Ministry’s reply it is rare for Vatican officials to apologize and they have never apologized to LGBTQ people or an LGBTQ Catholic ministry. In response to our question put to us by Sunday’s reflection question. “What should LGBTQ Catholics people do? We should graciously accept the apology of Thierry Bonaventura as the gift of grace that it is, as has New Ways Ministry.

    Reply
  3. Virginia Aguirre
    Virginia Aguirre says:

    The first question in the synod asks us to relate how the Church has hurt or uplifted us. In our small group I shared that my trans son does not feel welcomed in our parish. Another individual shared that he knew divorced people who do not feel welcomed by the church. We were hurt that our church isn’t more welcoming to these and other groups. Instead of others sharing how they had been hurt or uplifted by the Church, they began by asking if the divorced person was remarried and if they had “even tried” to get an annulment. Then, they began to say to me how lgbtq people are, in fact, welcomed but need to know… or They are welcomed but…. In sequence, 4 people began to “teach” me scripture and doctrine. I wish I had had the wherewithal to say, “let’s stick to the question and share our own hurts or joys.” But I didn’t.
    Instead I broke down, said “I can’t stay here. This is not what Jesus would do! Jesus welcomed people without adding, ‘but!’” My emotional response was visceral, and I left. I feel bruised and battered. I did not feel safe within my own church. I still ache and tears come easily. I love the church. I love those who thought they needed to teach me why we can’t welcome everyone. They truly believe that’s how to be a good Catholic. It’s dangerous to share from the heart. I am not sorry for what I said. I feel very alone and that’s only a fraction of what my son feels just being who he is. I thought of giving up and leaving the church. We can be so far from what Christ teaches. But I have experienced Christ’s love and I need to fight this fight with love, I can’t quit.

    Reply

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