As Local Synod Reports Published, LGBTQ Issues Named as Top Priority for Church

As the local listening portion of the Synod on Synodality concludes this summer, reports worldwide are being released which identify LGBTQ issues as needing attention in the church. Today’s post highlights several of these reports.

Ireland: A report from the “LGBT+ Focus Group” in the Diocese of Elphin, authored by Ursula Halligan, a lesbian journalist and church reform advocate, highlighted the following key themes: the damage the institutional church causes to LGBTQ+ people through rejection, and hypocrisy on the part of the institutional church when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. Two notable suggestions were for the diocese’s bishop, Kevin Doran, to apologize for opposing the marriage equality referendum in that country and for the Vatican to establish a Dicastery for Diversity and Inclusion. You can read the full report here.

New ZealandLa Croix International reported on results from consultations in the Diocese of Palmerston North. Fr. J.P. Grayland, a priest of the diocese, wrote that, “The most consistent and powerful emerging trend from our diocesan consultation is the demand for greater inclusion of the GLBTQI+ community.” The welcome, or lack thereof, for this community is “symbolic” of the larger sense that many groups are excluded from the institutional church. But providing a welcome is “the antidote to all forms of generational, gender and ministry exclusion.” To be a welcoming church “will result in a better led, better managed, more authentic, and more credible Church.”

Switzerland: Following a national synodal assembly, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference announced that one of the most prominent themes they will be bringing to the 2023 synodal meeting in Rome is “promoting the full participation of all baptized people in the life of the Church,” including LGBTQ people and women, reported Kath.ch.

United States:

  • In the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, the official synod report had a specific section about LGBTQ issues, noting that “many in the Church are impacted by gender issues within their families, friendships and/or personally,” but “the Church offers little to no assistance to deal with these issues.” This report also mentioned repeated criticism of the Catechism’s language about homosexuality, saying, “This is not the language of love.”
  • The Diocese of Pittsburgh’s synnod report mentioned a need to welcome many types of people as Christ would be welcomed, including “when they are straight or LGBTQ.”

To read New Ways Ministry’s report, “From the Margins to the Center,” about LGBTQ+ Catholics and the Synod, click here. For New Ways Ministry’s full resources on the synodal process, click here

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, June 23, 2022

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