Maltese Catholics Gift Pope Francis Book of LGBTQ+ Testimonies; And More News

Pope Francis receiving Drachma LGBTI’s book, Our Children: A Gift

Here are some items that may be of interest:

1. At a January audience, Pope Francis was gifted a new edition of the book, Our Children: A Gift, by the Maltese Catholic group Drachma LGBTI. According to the group, Fr. Andrea Conocchia, a priest near Rome known for his ministry with transgender women, gave the book to the pope and later, he received letter of gratitude from Francis. The book, the first edition of which was released in 2016, includes the testimonies of LGBTQ+ people and their parents, as well as a section responding to frequently asked questions. Notably, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta sent a hundred copies of that edition to his local priests. For more information about the book, click here.

2. The efforts of Greece’s Catholic bishops did not stop the legalization of marriage equality, which the country’s legislature approved earlier this week. In December, the Holy Synod of Catholic Bishops of Greece issued a statement against equal marriage rights saying, in part, “This proposal is a setback to our legal culture, a setback to morals and culture in general. It is a point of decline of Greek society. . .” The bishops aded that Greece’s politicians exhibited “submissiveness” to “the wishes and whims of a certain internationally promoted ideological trend,” likely referencing initiatives by the European Union to advance LGBTQ+ rights on the continent. Catholics make up just 3% of the country’s population, which is overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox.

3. U.S. Catholic reported on Catholics, several of whom are LGBTQ+, who choose to remain in the church despite the exclusion they might face and the institutional church’s more general failings. The question for the interviewees, claims the report, is not about whether to leave, but “Why and how do we stay?” One interviewee was Allison Connelly-Vetter, a married queer lay minister and Bondings 2.0 contributor, who spoke of her deep roots in the church, noting, “Being Catholic is not something that I do or participate in. . .It’s something that I am.” She added, “Because I have been formed by this institution, I feel accountable to this institution and to other people to work for the transformation of this institution.” Also interviewed was delfin bautista, a transgender person who has found community in alternative Catholic spaces like Call To Action. Of the journey, delfin explained, “I’m just finding ways to bridge social justice, religion, theology, queerness, transness, and being Latinx.”

4. The Christian Century published a review of theologian Miguel Díaz’s new book, Queer God de Amor, which explores St. John of the Cross through Latinx and and LGBTQ+ lenses. Previously, Bondings 2.0 broke news that the book’s initial publisher, Orbis Books, cancelled its release. Later, Queer God de Amor was picked up by Fordham University Press. This blog reviewed it last year. Now, The Christian Century explains, in part: “Through its practice of translation, Queer God de Amor raises these difficult questions that stand as testament to its bold choice: to chart its own path in a life of faith committed to a ‘rethinking of the mystery of God’ in relation to the fullness of human life.”

5. La Croix International reported that about 20 bishops gathered in Prague last September to discuss the alleged threat of “gender ideology,” a term LGBTQ-negative church leaders often use to condemn pro-equality efforts. The gathering, which was not publicized, was held at a luxury hotel and paid for by a right-wing U.S. group. The event was largely for prelates who then participated at the Synod on Synodality’s General Assembly in Rome the following month. Nine cardinals attended, including active leaders Timor-Leste’s Virgilio Do Carmo da Silva, India’s Oswald Gracias of Bombay, William Goh of Singapore, and the Netherland’s Willem Eijk of Utrecht. Three cardinals who are archbishop emeriti were also present, namely Bangladesh’s Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, Italy’s Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, and Czech Republic’s Dominik Duka of Prague. Other prelates were largely from the United States and some African countries. The only U.S. attendee named in the news report was Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who was not a delegate to the October 2023 Synod Assembly at the Vatican.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, February 17, 2024

2 replies
  1. L Heidenreich
    L Heidenreich says:

    Thank you — this reminds me to grab a copy of Queer God de Amor — ‘ have heard such good things about it — so looking forward to the read. Blessings on your ministry!

  2. Thomas William Bower
    Thomas William Bower says:

    While I do enjoy the coverage of important issues and events, your illumination of all of the smaller daily lives of the queer Church and those of us who live in it really do soothe the soul. Peace to you.


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