The Worst Catholic LGBTQ+ News Events of 2023

The voting has finished for Bondings 2.0’s poll for the Best and Worst Catholic LGBTQ+ News Events of 2023, and the results are in! 

Today, we will present the items which received the most votes for the Worst events, and tomorrow, we will present the top vote-getters for the Best events. 

At the end of each list, we will present some analysis and commentary.  As always, we invite our readers to add your own thoughts about this list in the “Comments” section of this post.

To view all the nominees, click here.  Each item in the list below is followed by the percentage of votes it received.  Thanks to all our readers who participated!


  1. TIE Despite Pope Francis’s declaration against laws which criminalize LGBTQ+ people, bishops in Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, and elsewhere continue supporting such legislation.   47%
  2. TIE The General Assembly of the Synod’s report in October gives short shrift to LGBTQ+ issues in contrast to the widespread support for inclusion in previous stages.  47%  
  3. The U.S. bishops’ conference lobbies against proposed federal regulations to stop discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, including by social service and healthcare agencies. In addition, the Conference endorses federal legislation to restrict transgender student athletes.   46%
  4. TIE In the 303 Creative case, the U.S. Supreme Court allows for broad exemptions to non-discrimination laws, paving the way for religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, and possibly other marginalized groups.   45%
  5. TIE Diocesan policies which restrict LGBTQ+ students and teachers in Catholic schools from expressing their gender continue to proliferate across the U.S. 45%
  6.  Vile anti-transgender rhetoric continues to be issued by Catholic leaders, including the archbishop of Denver saying that transgender equality was causing decline in church attendance; the archbishop of Oklahoma City comparing transgender identities with substance abuse; and a Vatican cardinal saying that transgender civil rights are “demonic.”  44%
  7. The U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops issues a strongly-restrictive doctrinal note about gender-affirming healthcare. While the note is advisory, the conference also votes to revise its Ethical and Religious Directives, leading likely to a ban on gender transitions at Catholic hospitals. 38%
  8. An outstanding student at a Missouri Catholic school was expelled after his parents spoke out against recent LGBTQ-negative actions being carried out there, such as the pastor removing books from the library that featured LGBTQ+ characters and banning the language app Duolingo for its translations of the words “gay” and “lesbian. 28%
  9. A conservative Catholic group invested $4 million dollars to potentially out gay priests based on their private digital data. 27%
  10. Although a sizable number of LGBTQ-positive church leaders were named delegates to the Synod on Synodality’s first general assembly, no openly LGBTQ+ people were selected.  25%

Write-in votes:

  • A suspended priest, James Altman, posted a “homily” on YouTube calling for the assassination of Pope Francis. Given that Altman is propped up by a virulently anti-LGBTQ group (“Canceled Priests”), it’s not a stretch to see this in the context of “bad news” for the LGBTQ communities.
  • Although Synod reports from diocese after diocese, national conferences, continental conferences, along with discussions during the Bishop’s Synod, mentioned LGBTQ+, along with explications of their experiences and concerns in the Church, ‘LGBTQ+’ was censored from the final report.  This was a betrayal, and broken promise by the Church that they would listen to all people.
  • The archbishop of Denver states that blessings of gay unions cannot promote their sinfulness.


The first thing noticeable about the results is that a difference of only 3 percentage points exists between the first and sixth items, with items 1 and 2 being tied, and items 4 and 5 also polling the same as each other.  That may indicate that no particular items rose above the rest as being singularly bad.  It may also indicate, however, that these six items seemed nearly equal in how bad they were. 

The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops were the agents in two of the items (3 and 7), reflecting the strong conservative bias in that group, despite the fact that new and more pastorally-oriented bishops continue to be appointed in the U.S. 

Two items (2 and 10) focused on disappointment with the General Assembly for the Synod on Synodality.  2023 held out high hopes for progress on LGBTQ+ issues from the Synod, but these hopes were not fulfilled. Yet. The second and final General Assembly will take place in October 2024,

Four of the ten items (3, 5, 6, 7) have a gender identity focus, perhaps indicating one or both of two ideas: 1) that restrictions on transgender people are on the rise; 2) that the general population is becoming more of gender identity problems in the church.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, December 29, 2023

1 reply
  1. Mary Dodson Brown
    Mary Dodson Brown says:

    The USCCB brings generally bad news with regard to LGBTQI concerns. Immediately after Pope Francis made the decision to bless LGBTQI folks, our bishop sent a detailed letter “qualifying” that this was to be a so-called spontaneous blessing, in no way tied to anything meaningful that occurs in the church’s liturgies and sacramental life. It was as if they could not wait to disqualify the blessings as not really “catholic.” God forbid the church would actually bless the blessing!


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