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Pope Francis Receives Dissident LGBT Nun in Vatican

Pope Francis received in private audience Tuesday Sister Jeannine Gramick, cofounder of the pro-LGBT group New Ways Ministry, which has been denied the title “Catholic” by Church authorities.

The pope received Sister Gramick at his Casa Santa Marta residence for a 50-minute meeting Tuesday afternoon. Gramick, who was accompanied by 3 New Ways Ministry staff members, thanked Francis “for his openness to blessing same-sex unions, as well as for his opposition to the criminalization of LGBT+ people in civil society,” according to a firsthand witness.

“The meeting was very emotional for me,” Gramick said. “From the day he was elected, I have loved and admired Pope Francis because of his humility, his love for the poor and for those shunned by society. He is the human face of Jesus in our era.”

In 1999, the Vatican’s doctrinal office, overseen at the time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, publicly chastised Sister Gramick and New Ways Ministry for failing to present “the authentic teaching of the Church.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “is obliged to declare for the good of the Catholic faithful that the positions advanced by Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent regarding the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and the objective disorder of the homosexual inclination are doctrinally unacceptable because they do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church in this area,” stated the text, which was personally approved by Pope John Paul II.

Sister Gramick has often stated that she seeks to treat homosexual persons with respect, compassion and sensitivity, Cardinal Ratzinger noted, but “the promotion of errors and ambiguities is not consistent with a Christian attitude of true respect and compassion.”

Persons “who are struggling with homosexuality no less than any others have the right to receive the authentic teaching of the Church from those who minister to them,” he added, whereas the ambiguities and errors of Sister Gramick’s approach “have caused confusion among the Catholic people and have harmed the community of the Church.”

For these reasons, Sister Gramick is “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons,” Ratzinger concluded.

In 2010, Chicago Cardinal Francis George, who was president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, reiterated the Vatican’s censure of Sister Gramick and New Ways Ministry.

“No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice,” Cardinal George stated. “Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination.”

“Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States,” he said.

 

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