What Would You Say to Pope Francis about LGBT Issues in the Church?

A few months back, the Jesuit-weekly America asked high-profile Catholics ranging from Stephen Colbert to Professors M. Shawn Copeland and James Keenan, SJ, what they would say to Pope Francis if they were afforded five minutes with the pontiff.

Now, as Pope Francis’ U.S. visit, including the World Meeting of Families, and the Synod of Bishops in October approach, Bondings 2.0 is asking our readers:

“What would you say to Pope Francis about LGBT issues in the church?”

To generate your own thoughts for the ‘Comments’ section below, here is a sampling of responses from the America piece.

First, Arthur Fitzmaurice of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry appeals to the pope to tell LGBT people God loves them — a needed corrective to church leaders withholding this message for too long, often with devastating effect:

“Holy Father, I do not believe God loves me. No matter what I do, how much I pray, how much I serve the church, I will never deserve God’s love. I know this is not what Jesus teaches, but this is what the church taught me. . .Words matter. Please tell our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers that God loves us all. Maybe wounds will heal and we will believe this message.”

The need for greater diversity in ecclesial conversations was a point made by several theologians, including two whose remarks on gender justice are inclusive of and also applicable for LGBTQ concerns. Boston College’s M. Shawn Copeland asked for the pope to host a meeting with women in the church, including those of diverse sexual orientations:

“You know how to listen to and to meet poor women in their homes and in their need, so I ask you to meet face-to-face with women of our church—a diverse gathering from various continents and countries, differing socioeconomic situations, cultures, races, sexual orientations, personal opinions and theological questions. Please.”

Professor Natalia Imperatori-Lee of Manhattan College also encouraged Pope Francis to be attentive to diverse voices in theology and in the church:

“From the moment Mary of Nazareth sang the Magnificat, women have been doing profound, creative, orthodox theology. We come from all over the world and write on all aspects of Catholicism in many languages. We discern the signs of the times, as men do, from a particular perspective, but not one that is uniform. Let this diversity of voices inform the church. We do not need a new discipline, we need space and an attentive ear.”

Her words about women are also quite true of LGBT Catholics, who speak and act from diverse and meaningful, but often marginal perspectives.

Theologian James Keenan, SJ, who is also from Boston College, claimed the last two years were the “happiest ones of my 33 years as a priest” because Francis, among other attributes, “lives the life he calls us to lead.”

That life includes an emphasis on personal encounter and relationship. Many letters, including one from 30+ LGBT, Latino/a, and Catholic organizations, have asked the pope to meet with LGBT Catholics during his U.S. visit, though this seems unlikely. The “miracle” we may be able to create is from personal sharing through courageous conversations and intentional listening, something I wrote about a few days ago. Still, the question of talking with Pope Francis is one worth thinking about because one never knows when they might receive a papal cold call.

So, what would you say to Pope Francis about LGBT issues in the church if you had five minutes with him? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below this post.

If you have more to say, consider writing up your thoughts for Bondings 2.0‘s project, “Where Do We Go From Here? The Road to the Synod 2015.” You can submit 500-800 word pieces to info@NewWaysMinistry.org and find more information about it by clicking here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

15 Responses to What Would You Say to Pope Francis about LGBT Issues in the Church?

  1. A great project. I’ll be writing up my own thought, soon.

  2. lynne miller says:

    Holy Father, please continue to do as you have been doing, leading us in love and compassion. Also, please turn the Magisterium of the Church to see as you do. Take away the haters, nay-sayers and politicians from leadership, and put in place those who serve with love and humility as you do. In this way, some of the misunderstood teachings of the Church can be clarified, and all people will feel welcome at the Lord’s table. Thank you for your Christ-like leadership.

  3. Brian Kneeland says:

    I would urge him to sit and speak with the leaders of our many Catholic LGBT organizations who are theologically sound, wonderfully intelligent and not afraid to speak truth. Talk, listen, share, learn! It would help us all – and then you could spread what you learn to the bishops of this country so they stop spewing hatred!

  4. Diane McKinley says:

    Holy Father, My husband and I welcome each of our children’s spouses into our family with our actions and prayers, showing no less love, no more favoritism to one over the other. Do I pray less, or act less welcoming to my daughter’s sweet and loving girlfriend? Do we judge her as unworthy to be an included and active member of our family? To do so would destroy our family, and yet that is exactly what our beloved Church does.

  5. Holy Father, our gay children are dying at their own hands, our trans children are being murdered. Please help us share the message…we are all God’s children and we are all his beloved! Parents need to hear this too. Love your babies from the cradle to the grave.

  6. I would say, ” Let us do what Christ would have done, love them in their entirety. Allow them to marry. Also, please have all church personnel study current teachings in human sexuality and update church doctrine.”

  7. Christine Elwart says:

    Holy Father, the dogma of the Church has smothered the intent of Jesus, “To love one another as I have loved you.” Please save our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters from suffocating unto their deaths under the weight of judgement by this dogma. Let the fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit revive them and know that they are loved, deeply and completely.

  8. Holy Father, why is it that an LGBT person must call in advance to see if the Catholic Church they are considering attending is a safe place for them to be? Are you OK with that? Are you OK with the fact that there are Catholic LGBT people who want to worship as they did their whole lives, but are at the point that they can no longer step into a Sunday Eucharist Celebration without first trying to find out if they will be insulted and dehumanized by the homilist? I’m not OK with that, are you?

  9. Marie Sweeney says:

    Pastor Francis, from the night you were elected you have asked us to pray for you; and I have. I have prayed that you would live and pastor with integrity, without knowing what a male Latin American cleric might do. I trust in the Spirit. I have prayed for your integrity because so many of my LGBTI brothers and sisters have shown me courage, simplicity and amazing fidelity, I.e., integrity as they remain in this Church that we all love, but that doesn’t love all of us. I ask simply that you meet and listen to the Equally Blessed families that are on pilgrimage to the Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. It is so painful to hear the pastor of this City of Fraternal Love has forbidden practicing Catholics from enjoying the hospitality of their own church while in Philadelphia. I am a heterosexual married woman, married well beyond child-bearing years. My husband and I are inspired and blessed in these families and in the LGBTI friends we consider extended family. I ask that you simply meet them, listen to them, respect them after their having been so rudely treated by one who is called to pastor. I trust the Spirit, and I pray for your integrity.

  10. I would want to thank him for the marvelous job he is already doing, for the grace he manifests and for the words of encouragement he speaks. He’s giving his utmost to the world; we don’t need to ask for anything more except that he continue this road to peace and enlightenment.

  11. Felix Jimenez says:

    Your Holiness,

    I have been a very devout Roman Catholic my entire life. I was born in the Dominican Republic, a nation where Catholicism is the national religion, I am also a bisexual male currently in a gay relationship with a gay catholic Vietnamese guy. I know our beloved church will never recognize our relationship or marriage and that in our lifetime we might not be able to ever vow our love to each other in the house of God. However, it doesn’t matter to me as much because that doesn’t mean God is not with us, yet, last mass I attended the priest made some very harsh remarks on the decision of the Supreme Court, which made me feel so guilty I didn’t even feel like I should be inside a church. At times I feel as if I’m no longer part of the body of Christ, and it hurts a lot, because I love God, I love the Catholic Church, but I don’t feel part of any of it anymore.

  12. Holy Father, take a picture with one trans person. It would mean worlds of acceptance, be like alms for my people, who are in so much pain. Trans people are among the people Christ welcomed to His table, among the poorest, suffering for who they are; let no one bar us from His Church. Encourage the Church and its people to be like St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor, who sang about people like us, like him, with a female soul rushing to be with you:

    There he gave me his breast;
    there he taught me a sweet and living knowledge;
    and I gave myself to him,
    keeping nothing back;
    there I promised to be his bride.

    Now I occupy my soul
    and all my energy in his service;
    I no longer tend the herd,
    nor have I any other work
    now that my every act is love.

    Please.

  13. […] A few days ago, we asked Bondings 2.0 readers what you would say about LGBT issues in the Church if you found yourself face to face (or on the phone) with Pope Francis. […]

  14. Adam James says:

    What I DID say to Pope Francis in a letter. First part of letter:

    Dear Holy Father,
    I quit going to church when I was 14.

    Born to devout Catholic parents who were deeply loving and committed to raising both me and my older brother in their beliefs, they were understandably quite disappointed. Worst of all I couldn’t even tell them why I would no longer go to Mass. I had to fabricate some story of not believing in what the Catholic Church was teaching.

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