New Ways Ministry has released a report on the issues raised during events the organization sponsored for the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to be heard as part of the Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality, a global consultation called for by the Vatican.
The report, titled “From the Margins to the Center,” is based on three Spiritual Conversations held for LGBTQ people and allies earlier this year as a contribution to the Synod on Synodality’s listening phase. Approximately 1,000 people from a variety of nations took part in these sessions, making it one of the most extensive consultations of LGBTQ Catholics in history.
The report opens by acknowledging that “LGBTQ people have journeyed together as part of the people of God for as long as the Catholic Church has existed,” and so it is fitting the community now joins in the synodal process. Many participants said these Spiritual Conversations were the first time anyone in the church had invited them to share their faith and church experiences as LGBTQ people and allies.
The report describes its findings through seven ways of understanding the church that participants identified, such as “A Joyful Church,” “A Hurtful Church,” and “A Listening Church.” Summaries of common themes are complemented by participants’ own words, which overall reflected, in the report’s words,” a people who have “the experience of abiding joy accompanied by deep pain.”
At the end of the report, four recommendations and points for further reflection are offered, including the need to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the church and to reconsider harmful teachings about sexuality and gender.
The report is now being submitted to the Vatican, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to the participants’ local dioceses and archdioceses, and to church leaders worldwide as part of the synodal process.
Catholics are also being encouraged to submit the report to their own church leaders—local bishops, pastors, and other ministers—as an educational resource. The report may also be useful for small group reflection, posting on social media, inclusion in parish communications, preaching, or even for holding more Spiritual Conversations.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, commented:
“As the church considers how it is to proceed in the third millennium through this synodal process, LGBTQ and ally voices must be included in the journeying together. This report is a prime opportunity to help educate Catholics about how LGBTQ people experience the church.
“We at New Ways Ministry are deeply grateful to all who participated in the Spiritual Conversations and helped produce this report. I hope this report is but one step forward towards a church that listens to and engages more deeply with LGBTQ people and their allies.”
You can access the report by clicking here.
—Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, June 11, 2022