LGBTQ+ Parish Ministry Book Nominated for Catholic Award; And More News

The following are some news items that may be of interest:

1. New Ways and Next Steps Developing Parish LGBTQ+ Ministry, a book written by New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director Francis DeBernardo, was named as a finalist for the Association of Catholic Publishers’ 2024 Excellence in Publishing Awards. The book is one of the finalists for the “Resources for Ministry” category. The Association is the leading U.S. organization for Catholic publishers.

New Ways and Next Steps was published by Liturgical Press at the end of 20223, a part of its “Contemporary Topics in Parish Leadership” series. It is based on New Ways Ministry’s decades of experience educating Catholic leaders about LGBTQ+ issues and helping parishes and schools discern pastoral projects to welcome and affirm LGBTQ+ people. The book’s goal is to help parish leaders devise a pastoral plan best suited for their unique community.

Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., of Lexington, endorsed the book as “a wonderfully broad and eminently practical guide,” which is “very faithful to the approach of Pope Francis who does not think we should have winners and losers in our discussions about difficult issues.”

For more information about New Ways and Next Steps, as well as how to order a copy, click here.

2. The Catholic Organizations for Renewal network, of which New Ways Ministry is a member, issued a report for the Synod based on virtual listening sessions and written responses this spring. The report focuses heavily on issues of church reform, and states at one point:

“Our listening session revealed that many Catholics yearn for their Church to be a community where they can bring their whole selves. One constituent shared: ‘So often, people are merely invited into spaces, but they’re not welcome.’ Whether members of the LGBTQIA+ community, divorced people, people who had abortions or have used assisted reproductive technologies, people in recovery from addiction, or people with varying abilities, our constituents shared the desire to find acceptance in the Church. The Synod of Synodality sought to “enlarge [our] tent” (Is 54:2) by inviting the full participation of the global Church and fostering fruitful dialogue. However, a sense of disillusionment in the synodal process—and the hope to enact real structural change through this process—persists among many Catholics longing for a Church that truly welcomes and provides for them.”

3. Traditionalist Catholics interrupted a Mass celebrated for the Ignatian Q conference, which brings together students at U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities. According to Outreach, a project of America Media, about 20 people began loudly singing and praying as the liturgy began, and remained kneeling throughout the Mass, which was held on the campus of St. Louis University in Missouri. The traditionalists’ presence disturbed many conference attendees, a good number of whom are LGBTQ+. One attendee said the protest, however, was also met with a “counterprotest” of “queer joy, community, and celebration.”

4. French authorities dropped charges against a Catholic priest who posted anti-gay material to Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). Earlier this year, France’s anti-discrimination minister, Aurore Bergé, asked prosecutors to investigate Fr. Matthieu Raffray for “unacceptable” comments that may be considered hate speech.  Raffray, a traditionalist priest in France with a sizable following on social media, had posted that homosexuality was a “weakness,” endorsed conversion therapy, and made other negative comments.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, May 4, 2024

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