Pope Francis reveals most important thing LGBTQ+ people need to know about God
In a letter to LGBTQ+ Catholics, Pope Francis has insisted that God “does not disown any of his children”.
Father James Martin SJ, an LGBTQ-affirming Jesuit priest, launched the Outreach website on 1 May to provide resources for queer Catholics.
Earlier this month, Martin reached out to the Pope, hoping to get some answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions from LGBTQ+ Catholics, and received a swift, handwritten response.
Martin asked: “What would you say is the most important thing for LGBT+ people to know about God?”
Pope Francis responded: “God is Father and he does not disown any of his children. And ‘the style’ of God is ‘closeness, mercy and tenderness’. Along this path you will find God.”
Asked what he would like LGBTQ+ people to know about the church, he added: “I would like for them to read the book of the Acts of the Apostles. There they will find the image of the living church.”
In the final question of the “mini interview”, Martin asked: “What do you say to an LGBT Catholic who has experienced rejection from the church?”
“I would have them recognise it not as ‘the rejection of the church’, but instead of ‘people in the church’,” wrote Pope Francis.
He said that the Catholic Church should welcome all kinds of people, adding: “The church is a mother and calls together all her children.
“Take for example the parable of those invited to the feast: ‘The just, the sinners, the rich and the poor, etc’… A ‘selective’ church, one of ‘pure blood’, is not Holy Mother Church, but rather a sect.”
Many LGBTQ+ Catholics celebrated the Pope’s words, but others were less convinced – the Catechism of the Catholic Church still states that same-sex relationships are “acts of great depravity”, and adds: “Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
I wondered this as well. He says “the people of the Church” reject LGBT. But if someone is rejected by the community of your parish, where do they go? How do they comfortably worship!?
— Keri ??? (@KeriCarbaugh) May 9, 2022
Responding to the letter, one Catholic Twitter user asked: “Do you agree with Pope Francis that it is only some individuals who don’t welcome LGBTQ+ people? While the Catechism of the Catholic Church still asserts that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, can he say that the church welcomes gay people?”
However others acknowledged that it was at least a step in the right direction, with one telling Martin: “Thank you for reaching out to the Pope. I cannot imagine some previous Popes responding to your questions, nor responding in the way Pope Francis did. Thanks again for this service to everyone.”