2021 ends today, but as we look at the list of all the good things that happened this past year in the Catholic LGBTQ movement, it leave us thinking that we don’t want this year to end!
Bondings 2.0 asked our readers to vote for the Worst and Best Catholic LGBTQ News Events of 2021. Yesterday, we posted the results of the “Worst” poll. Today, we give you our readers’ picks for the “Best” events. The following is their list of top ten choices, ranked by the percentage of votes each item received. (Actually, it’s kind of eleven choices since there was a tie at #9.) Two readers added “Other” comments, which you can read at the end of the list. (If you want to see the list of “nominees,” click here.)
At the end of the list is some commentary about the choices, and you are invited to share your own insights into the choices by using the “Comments” section of this post.
- Pope Francis writes letters to several Catholic pro-LGBTQ leaders, including New Ways Ministry, Fr. James Martin, and Michael O’Loughlin. 60%
- German Catholics lead the church on LGBTQ issues by drafting documents affirming same-gender relationships, protesting the Vatican’s blessings ban with large public ceremonies, and witnessing some of their bishops calling for changes in church teaching and approach to sexuality questions. 58%
- A Vatican official apologizes to New Ways Ministry and LGBTQ Catholics after removing a link to the organization from the Synod office’s website. The link is later restored, with an invitation for further LGBTQ participation. 57%
- Catholic leaders issue several statements of support for LGBTQ people, including a letter to the transgender community from Archbishop John Wester and Bishop John Stowe, a statement affirming LGBTQ youth from the Tyler Clementi Foundation signed by a dozen bishops and many other leaders, and a statement on non-discrimination from New Ways Ministry endorsed by hundreds of theologians and church leaders. 51%
- In an historic first, the Vatican instructs Spain’s bishops to disavow the practice of conversion therapy and groups which support this discredited intervention. 40%
- Tens of thousands of Catholics worldwide protest the Vatican’s ban on blessing same-gender couples through pledges, protests, and prayer. 38%
- Bishop John Stowe endorses the Equality Act, supports civil unions for same-gender couples, and apologizes to fired lesbian church worker Margie Winters. 36%
- Fired gay church worker Lonnie Billard wins his discrimination lawsuit in U.S. courts. 20%
- TIE Queer theologians of color from around the world gather for a ground-breaking, dialogical event in Chicago under the leadership of Miguel Diaz, Craig Ford, , and Fr. Bryan Massingale.17% & Pope Francis invites parishioners from a church near Rome to receive Covid vaccines at the Vatican, including a number of transgender people in that community. 17%
- University of Notre Dame recognizes an official LGBTQ alumni group, after three decades of activism by the group’s members. 16%
- In a press conference, Pope Francis makes support for civil unions absolutely clear
- So sorry, but after battling my way through the “BEST” and “WORST” nominations, all I can do is CELEBRATE the “Best” and CENSURE the “Worst” items. We should not settle for “Second Class Citizenship”, or worse, within the Catholic Church.
One thing noticeable about these choices are that ten of them are good things that come directly from the Vatican (#s 1, 2, 5, and 9). That’s somewhat significant, especially since the Vatican was only mentioned in two items in yesterday’s “Worst” list (#s 2 and 6). I think this is probably the best record the Vatican has had in Bondings 2.0‘s year-end lists. Let’s hope the Vatican keeps working in this more positive direction in 2022 and beyond.
And as we saw yesterday, the U.S. bishops conference was the leader in choices for the year’s “Worst” list. Yet, as this “Best” list shows, several U.S. bishops have gone against the trend of the bishops conference, and have moved in a more positive direction (#s 4 and 7). And let’s remember that in items # 2 and 6, European bishops were included in those events, making positive statements about LGBTQ inclusion and equality.
I was glad to see that academic initiatives in items #9 and 10 were selected for the top ten list. Catholic academia is one place in the church where real progress is being made, in terms of both institutional policies and scholarly research. And, as item #9 shows, more and more queer scholars are speaking out in their academic work.
In yesterday’s results, the top three items were separated by 13 percentage points. In today’s poll, the top three items are separated by only 3 percentage points, perhaps showing that readers had a difficult choice among those three.
We saw many strides forward for the Catholic LGBT movement this past year. Let’s hope and pray that this trend will continue and grow as we enter 2022!
Do you see any trends or themes in these poll results? Please offer your thoughts in the “Comments” section of this post.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, December 31, 2021