The Vatican’s Synod of Bishops office is featuring LGBTQ issues in the latest edition of its newsletter. They have included resources from reform-minded advocates and stories about same-gender couples,
Thierry Bonaventura, communications manager for the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, wrote an introductory note to the newsletter explaining the decision to focus on LGBTQ people as a part of the synodal journey. The lens through which this issue is approached, according to Bonaventura, is through the “metaphor of the frontier.”
Bonaventura explains in the note that often the church has chosen not to build bridges, as it should, but to erect walls when faced with a frontier. He poses three options when confronted with a frontier: the logic of politics, which is antagonistic; the logic of economics, which is transactional; and the logic of hospitality, which sees the other as a gift for relationship. It is this last option the church must choose. Bonaventura writes further:
“I wanted to use this metaphor to present this newsletter on LGBTQ communities and their synodal journey, because our attitude towards these ecclesial communities – as well as towards those of the many who are different – has too often been marked by emphasizing difference and erecting barriers, rather than bearing witness to the merciful love of Jesus who makes no distinction between his disciples, all of us flawed, limited and marked in some way by sin. The Listening Church (Ecclesia Discens) should therefore choose the option of hospitality which, while recognizing the barriers she herself has built, striving to make herself close to break down the walls of indifference.
“Our prayer is that all people, including our LGBTQ friends, are able to feel that their voices being heard during this Synod.”
A number of resources on LGBTQ topics are included on the newsletter, all of which have been listed on the Synod office’s website. They include links to the testimony of an LGBTQ Catholic in England, a new documentary on Fr. James Martin’s ministry, information about advocate Father Jan Veldt and the equality manifesto of Dutch pastors, and the lecture that Synod undersecretary Sr. Nathalie Becquart gave to a New Ways Ministry audience. Also included in the newsletter was a link to Synod office’s page offering of “Three testimonials from homosexual couples.”
This newsletter is the Synod office’s latest LGBTQ outreach. In December, Thierry Bonaventura apologized to LGBTQ people after a New Ways Ministry webinar was removed from the Synod website and then re-posted. In April, Sr. Becquart made history by being the first Vatican official to address an LGBTQ audience.
While an email newsletter may seem a small gesture, it reveals a more significant change happening. The Synod office has again signaled its commitment for a truly inclusive process where LGBTQ people and their allies can be full participants.
—Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, May 12, 2022