LGBTQI & Catholic
The Vision of Christ the King Catholic Parish in Lockleys explicitly states,
To have a Catholic Parish Community which fosters and welcomes diversity, coming together for the love of God.
In the spirit of this vision, the parish welcomes all, irrespective of their personal background, context, and sexual orientation.
This spirit of welcome is further enhanced by the encouragement of Pope Francis in his post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation:
The Church makes her own the attitude of the Lord Jesus, who offers his boundless love to each person without exception. During the Synod, we discussed the situation of families whose members include persons who experience same-sex attraction, a situation not easy either for parents or for children. We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence. Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives. (“Amoris Laetitia,” #250.)
Pope Francis further encourages parishes to be open to all, with doors “wide open”:
The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign: our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. Other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason…The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. (“Joy of the Gospel”, #42)
It is important to note that the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, endorsed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, stated:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (#2358)
In October 2020, in a 2-hour documentary shot by Israeli-raised Evgeny Afineevsky, Pope Francis offered a summary of his pontificate and some of his key teachings. This included his comments about gay people, especially Catholic gays:
“Homosexuals have the right to be part of a family. They are children of God and have the right to a family…We must create a law of civil union so that [homosexuals] are legally covered.”
Pope Francis’ teaching is further clarified by this statement from the Pope’s Australian representative, the Apostolic Nuncio.
Pope Francis’ statement is in line with a comment he made to journalists in 2013 while flying back to Rome after a papal visit to Brazil. When asked about gays in the Catholic Church he simply said,
“Who am I to judge?”
Pope Francis’ reflections belong to his conviction that the Catholic Church is not an exclusive club, meant for only a few. Since becoming Pope, Francis has encouraged the Church to “open its doors” as reflected in the above quote from “Joy of the Gospel”. This spirit of openness and welcome, he believes, reflects the heart of Jesus, who welcomed all - saint and sinner - irrespective of their background.
In a handwritten letter, dated May 8 2022, in response to a question asked about LGBT people and their relationship to God and the Catholic Church (“What do you say to an LGBT Catholic who has experienced rejection from the church?”) he wrote:
“I would have them recognize it not as the ‘rejection of the church,’ but instead ‘of people in the church’. The church is mother and calls together all of her children…A church that is ‘selective,’ or makes some pretext about who is ‘pure,’ is not the Holy Mother Church, but rather a sect…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.”
Pope Francis, in a 2023 interview with The Associated Press, criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are. Pope Francis also called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church. “Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” he said.
Further, this greater openness and respect and the desire to work towards a fully inclusive church—which, of course, includes our parish—is seen in other writings by Catholic Church leaders. Check out this piece written by US Cardinal on “radical inclusion” for LGBTIQ+ people, women and others in the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis’ spirit of inclusivity is at the heart of our parish. This is a parish in which no one is excluded and all are welcome!