Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a longtime advocate for LGBT justice in the Catholic Church, spoke recently at a Michigan community dialogue sponsored by the state’s LGBT Faith Initiative.
PrideSource.com reports that Gumbleton offered words of hope to the interfaith meeting:
” ‘There was a piece in the paper I read recently about Joan of Arc, and it made me think. They condemned her and burned her at the stake, but later she was canonized. So the Catholic Church can change,’ said Gumbleton.”
Gumbleton also explained the Catholic teaching on conscience, stating:
“The saving factor in Catholic teaching is we have, above everything else, primacy of conscience. That means that I must understand my own heart. I make the decision, is it right for me? The church’s teaching does provide conflict, but it is solvable in this way.”
He also encouraged the attendees to remain steadfast in their struggle:
” ‘Jesus paid a terrible price for standing up for what he believed in. He paid with death,’ he said. ‘But most people don’t go that far. Most people back off. They get to a certain point and they just back off. Jesus didn’t do that.’ “
Other Catholics speaking at the conference were Linda Karle-Nelson and Thomas Nelson, whom the article described in this way:
“Each speaker on the panel had different approaches to the conflicts within their faiths. The Nelsons have kept a light hearted, loving attitude, while providing resources for other parents and loved ones of those who come out. In addition to starting PFLAG Manistee, they are part of Fortunate Families, a network of 140 Catholic parents in 29 states who are available to talk to other Catholics dealing with their children’s sexual orientation or gender expression.”
Like Joan of Arc, folks like Bishop Gumbleton and the Nelsons who keep on advocating ardently and lovingly for LGBT equalitly will eventually win the day.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry