Today’s post is from guest contributor Fr. Luís Correa Lima, SJ. Fr. Luis is a professor in theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He researches Church history, modernity, and gender and sexual diversity. He has published several texts on these topics, and carries out apostolates with LGBT+ people. His most recent book is Teología y LGBT+, which is available here.
My 16 years of ministry with LGBT+ Catholics has been a most rewarding apostolate. This was especially true in September when I attended the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics’ (GNRC) Fourth Assembly in Mexico City.
The assembly was a blessing for those who attended. Perhaps most moving was the Mass we celebrated in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a national sanctuary dedicated to the patron saint of Latin America. The basilica was more than two-thirds full when, at the beginning of the celebration, the GNRC group entered in procession with the celebrating priests, of whom I was a part. The group was seated in prominent place in front of the altar.
Emotions were very strong. Father Gonzalo Rosa, SJ, who is accompanying an LGBT+ group in Mexico City, delivered the homily. He spoke of Christ as an example of inclusion, respect, and acceptance, as someone who welcomed all those who approached him. We, the members of GNRC, felt consoled and strengthened as children of God and of the Catholic Church.
The rest of the assembly was likewise powerful. GNRC was formed in 2015 on the eve of the Synod on the Family, bringing together representatives of Catholic LGBT+ groups and their allies from around the world. In these groups, people are welcomed as children of God and accompanied. Together, they support each other, strengthen their faith, heal their wounds, counter prejudice, and are encouraged to take their place in the Church and society. Some of these groups have been received by Pope Francis, experiencing a moment of great joy. The meetings of LGBT+ people with the pope have been remarkable and transformative in their lives.
In Mexico City, meeting people from all over the world involved in Catholic LGBT+ inclusion efforts provided a great stimulus and a fruitful exchange. The GNRC Assembly received a message of support from the president of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico, Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López of Monterrey. There were small group discussions each night and many moments of celebration.
A moment particularly meaningful for me was the launch of my book, Teología y LGBT+, published by Buena Prensa Press in Mexico. It is a re-reading of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the teaching of the Church in an inclusive perspective, which results from my years of apostolic work and reflection. In my ministry in Brazil, I have seen decisive changes in the lives of many people and their families. For many, it has been like a new birth.
The Spanish edition of the book is prefaced by a letter from the superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, to me, praising the book and my work. At the end of the Assembly, GNRC’s co-chairs sent a letter of gratitude to Fr. Sosa.
In the face of all this, I can only praise God and the dear mother and lady of Guadalupe.
—Fr. Luís Correa Lima, SJ, October 13, 2022