Bondings 2.0′s annual readers’ poll of the Best and Worst Catholic LGBTQ+ News Events of the past year has ended. Yesterday, we presented the results of the “Worst” poll, and today we give you the results of the “Best” poll.
The number at the end of each item reflects the percentage of people who voted for it. To view all the nominees, click here. At the end of the list, we present some analysis commentary.
As always, we invite you to offer your own insights in the “Comments” section of the post.
Thanks to all who participated in the poll!
THE “BEST” LIST
- Pope Francis approves the blessing of same-gender couples in the church as a pastoral accommodation. 83%
- The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith instructs church leaders to allow transgender people to be baptized and to serve as godparents. 65%
- Pope Francis states that, “Being homosexual is not a crime,” but rather is a “human condition,” the strongest statement by any pontiff against anti-LGBTQ+ criminalization laws. He later adds that criminalizing gay people is a “sin” and an “injustice.” 60%
- Sister Jeannine Gramick, pioneer of LGBTQ+ Catholic ministry, meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican for a 50-minute conversation, joined by her New Ways Ministry colleagues. 55%
- Germany’s Synodal Way issued strong positive recommendations for greater pastoral care for LGBTQ+ people, including blessing same-gender couples and opening all aspects of church life to transgender and intersex people. 30%
- Sister Jeannine Gramick is named “Newsmaker of the Year” by the National Catholic Reporter, which cites 2023 as a year where LGBTQ+ people and issues became more central in church discussions. 27%
- Calls for LGBTQ+ inclusion and justice continue to be prominent in the Synod on Synodality process, appearing in most of the Continental Stage reports and the first General Assembly’s working document. 25%
- The Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, releases a remarkably positive framework for gender issues, organized around principles like respect for human dignity, collaborative discernment, and a case-by-case approach. 22%
- Bishops and other Catholic leaders around the globe continue to call for changes in church teaching and language regarding LGBTQ+ people. 21%
- Pope Francis continues to model greater openness to transgender people, telling a transgender youth, “God loves us as we you are,” telling transgender women they are “daughters of God,” and invites a group of transgender people to a luncheon at the Vatican. 21%
- Fr. James Martin attendings the Synod in Rome.
- New Ways Ministry continues to be a beacon of light in the Church.
- Pope Francis congratulates Australian LGBTQ+ Catholic organisation Acceptance on its 50th Anniversary.
ANALYSIS and COMMENTARY
We were not surprised that the top vote-getter this year was the news that Pope Francis approved blessings for same-gender couples. In fact, this item garnered a higher percentage of votes (85%) than any item in the ten years that we have been conducting this poll! Clearly, that figure is testimony to how important a development with declaration on blessings has been.
The first four items in this list are all news that emanated from the Vatican or Pope Francis (and the 10th item also is from the pontiff), indicating, perhaps, that the top of our hierarchical church contains the most progressive leaders–quite a change from ten years ago.
And when we look at items 7, 8, and 9, we see that these progressive leaders at the top of the hierarchy are having a “trickle-down” effect on other leaders, too.
Other than Pope Francis, the only person mentioned more than once in this list is New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick (items 4 and 6). Perhaps 2023 will be remembered not only as the year that blessings for same-gendeer couples were approved, but also the year that saw the “rehabilitation” of this nun who for over 50 years has been calling for equality and justice for LGBTQ+ people in the church. When the New Ways Ministry leadership met with Pope Francis in October of this year, I said to the pontiff, “Sister Jeannine was Pope Francis before there was Pope Francis.” So in addition to being rehabilitated this year, it’s also important to recognize that what Sister Jeannine was calling for over 50 years ago has finally “trickled up” to the highest levels of our Church.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, December 30, 2023