Francis’ words like ‘rain on a parched land’

by Thomas C. Fox

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In the wake of an extensive Pope Francis interview in America magazine published online today, Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic organizations working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, called upon the U.S. bishops to end their “multi-million dollar efforts to marginalize LGBT people.”

It said it viewed Francis’ interview statements like “rain on a parched land.”

“We yearn for the day when the Catholic hierarchy can simply acknowledge the holiness of our lives and our relationships as the majority of Catholics in the United States already do. We pray that this pope will move us closer to that goal,” the group's statement reads.

“Pope Francis has sent a clear signal that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and organizations like the Knights of Columbus need to end their multimillion dollar campaign to marginalize LGBT people in the church and the wider society, and commit themselves to gaining a deeper understanding of the lives, beliefs and ministries of LGBT people, their families and their friends.”

In the interview, Francis was quoted as saying:

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.”

Francis went on to stress the pastoral work of the church, chiding those who remain fixated on issues of abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

Equally Blessed is a coalition of four Catholic including Call To Action, dignityusa, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry.

Fox is NCR publisher and can be followed on Twitter at NCRTomFox

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