Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Sr Jeannine Gramick, LGBT Ministry Pioneer, to Meet Pope Francis.

New Ways Ministry reports that Sr Jeannine Gramick, their founder and a pioneer in Catholic LGBT ministry, will be among the guests at the White House to meet Pope Francis.

I met St Gramick some years ago with the Soho Masses community, then at St Anne’s, after a screening of the documentary on her work, “In Good Conscience”. I’ve followed her progress attentively every since, and look forward to meeting up with her again at the founding conference of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in Rome, at the start of the family synod in October.

The text following is from New Ways:

Sister Jeannine Gramick, a Catholic nun who pioneered ministry, advocacy, and outreach to the LGBT community over 40 years ago in Philadelphia, will be back in her hometown this week for the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis’ visit to the City of Brotherly Love. A native of Philadelphia, and a tremendous fan of Pope Francis, she is excited to see how far the Catholic Church has progressed since she began her discussions with LGBT people back in 1971.

Jeannine Gramick

She will be attending the World Meeting of Families for most of next week, but will be taking a short side-trip to Washington, DC to greet Pope Francis at President Obama’s White House reception, and to take part in a Mass led by the pope at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Continue reading Sr Jeannine Gramick, LGBT Ministry Pioneer, to Meet Pope Francis.

Pope Francis: The Current Refugee Crisis is “The Tip of the Iceberg”

Pope Francis - AP

If you’re a European feeling overwhelmed by the current refugee crisis, Pope Francis has news for you: this is just “the tip of an iceberg”. It will not end until we’ve addressed the underlying cause – and this is not just the disastrous wars in the Middle East that we have helped to create. There are also fundamental socio – economic causes, in the vast global inequalities of opportunity and wealth.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis spoke about the refugee crisis during an interview with Portugal’s Radio Renascença which aired on Monday, calling it the “tip of an iceberg.”

“These poor people are fleeing war, hunger, but that is the tip of the iceberg. Because underneath that is the cause; and the cause is a bad and unjust socioeconomic system, in everything, in the world – speaking of the environmental problem –, in the socioeconomic society, in politics, the person always has to be in the centre,” Pope Francis said.

The Holy Father said the world must work to help people not feel the need to emigrate.

“Where the causes are hunger, we have to create work, investments. Where the cause is war, search for peace, work for peace,” he said. “Nowadays the world is at war against itself, that is, the world is at war, as I say, in instalments, bit by bit, but it is also at war against the land, because it is destroying the land, our common house, the environment.”

He’s right.

It’s now widely agreed that “genuine” refugees fleeing war or persecution need and deserve help, and many people are now opening their hearts to offer it. It’s also widely agreed than not all the current migrants are in this category. Many others are economic migrants, seeking a better life. Europeans are far less sympathetic to these.

To resolve the refugee crisis, it is said, we must work to resolve the conflicts and bring peace to the Middle East. That’s a tall order, but even if it is achieved, that will not alone solve the problem  The challenge of dealing with economic migration will remain – and economic inequalities, together the devastation being wrought by climate change, are part of the reasons underlying the civil conflicts in the first place, along with a huge clash of values.

In Britain, one common response to the British Muslims leaving to fight for ISIS in Syria or Iraq, or being “radicalised” here in the UK, is to say that we need to promote more effectively “British values”. But what are these? The British themselves assume that these are the things now endorsed across Europe and North America – democracy, justice, freedom, tolerance and equality. To some others, especially to those who feel themselves to be outsiders in the wider society, I fear that “British values” in practice are things like greed and excessive consumption, drunkenness, sexual licence, and lack of compassion for the needy. When I was preparing to leave South Africa to come to the UK, I was warned by my spiritual director that I was coming to a post – Christian society. No wonder that some Muslims, whose core religious values are so much in keeping with those of those of the Gospels, feel that the society they live in, is hostile to those values.

As I have observed this current wave of migration across the Mediterranean and through Turkey, along with European attempts to limit it, I’ve had a strong sense that I’ve seen it all, before, back in South Africa. For many years, previous South African governments tried to deal with the economic migrants moving from impoverished rural areas to the wealthier cities, by simply prohibiting it, in a system they called “influx control” – and the rest of the world called “apartheid”. We all know how that ended. Now, economic migration within the country continues, as it has always done – but instead of trying to do the impossible by limiting it, the response is to plan for it, and provide for the new arrivals in the cities.

Cardinals Burke, Chaput: Are You Listening?

The Pope has issued a strong warning against those tempted by personal charisma to be authoritarian leaders in the Church, describing such leaders as “servants of the devil”.

Addressing 30,000 Catholic faithful at a Catholic charismatic renewal conference at St Peter’s, Rome, Pope Francis said he preferred to use the term “servant” than “leader”.

He warned against the temptation for leaders to believe themselves essential to all tasks and described such leaders as “peacocks”.

He warned: “The devil takes them to want to be the ones who command, those that are at the heart and so, step by step, slide into authoritarianism, personalism and leave no living communities renewed in the Spirit.”

via | Christian News on Christian Today.


Pope Francis: “It Gets Better”

Reports from Ecuador are that Pope Francis is encouraging “intense prayer for a miracle” at the 2015 Family Synod.  Frank DeBenardo notes at Bondings 2.0, it’s not obvious just what the pope is referring to, except that he clearly has high hopes for the synod.  However, I think we can read more into the words than only that. First, he make a clear admission that many families face difficult circumstances. Real life circumstances, he says, are often not ideal – but we must work with what we have. He goes on to state that the miracle he is asking for, is that God will transform that which “seems” to us to be impure and scandalize us.

Pope Francis, at Ecuador Mass (Picture from Vatican Insider)

He will not have been speaking specifically about LGBT families, but his words will have direct relevance to ourselves. I was particularly struck by these words, with their (unintended) echo of the “It Gets Better” campaign:  Continue reading Pope Francis: “It Gets Better”

On Film, Gay Catholics Ask Pope Francis, “Accept Us” (VIDEO)

From Gay Star News:

Gay Catholics call on Pope Francis to accept them in moving film

A heartwarming film released today (10 March) aims to achieve full acceptance of LGBTI persons in the Catholic Church.

It has already reached thousands of people and aims to be seen by Pope Francis and the Vatican clergy.

The 15 minute documentary includes touching personal accounts from Catholic LGBTI people and their family’s acceptance of them.

Watch the video:


Michael Tomae, creator of the film, was inspired after volunteering at Covenant House, a youth hostel where many of the residents had been disowned by their Christian families because of their sexuality or gender identity.

via Gay Star News.

“The Acceptance of Gays Among Catholics is Irreversible” – Historian Gary Wills.

Gary Wills is an eminent historian of the Catholic Church, who was described by John Allen (in 2008) as “”perhaps the most distinguished Catholic intellectual in America over the last 50 years”. With his long view of the Church, his assessment of it’s present state of change deserves close attention – and it’s a most encouraging one, for lesbian and gay Catholics, for women, for for others whose understanding of sexual realities is far removed from the theorizing of Vatican documents – and for all who understand, as proclaimed by Vatican II, that the Catholic Church really is the whole “people of God”, and not just its public office – holders.  


In a wide – ranging interview with Macleans magazine, Wills explained why he was enthusiastic about the change in style being introduced by Pope Francis, and why these will in time become entrenched as permanent features of the Church. Francis’ willingness to stimulate debate and tolerate disagreements, he says, are a sign of his strength. He contrasts this with Pius IX, whose proclamation of papal infallibility he sees as a sign of weakness, not of strength. Continue reading “The Acceptance of Gays Among Catholics is Irreversible” – Historian Gary Wills.