October 22, 2021

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Pope sends letter praising priest who ministers to LGBTQ Catholics

(RNS) — Pope Francis despatched a letter praising the get the job done of a Jesuit priest who has been an outspoken advocate for a lot more respectful therapy of LGBTQ persons in the Catholic Church. In the letter, the pontiff described Father James Martin’s perform as imitating the “style of God.”

The letter, written in Spanish and dated June 21, was in reaction to a communique despatched to Francis by Martin that referenced the Outreach LGBTQ Ministry Meeting, a collecting centered on Catholic LGBTQ problems hosted virtually by Fordham College this weekend.

Martin read through the individualized letter at the meeting on Saturday (June 26) ahead of sharing it on social media.

In speaking about a translation of the letter posted on Twitter, Martin reported the pope was referring to the conference when he wrote: “Regarding your PS, I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your capacity to be close to persons, with the closeness that Jesus had, and which displays the closeness of God. Our Heavenly Father arrives close with adore to each and every a single of his small children, each and everybody. His heart is open to every single and all people.”

Francis described Martin’s work, which has centered on LGBTQ Catholics, as “continually seeking to imitate this design of God.” He wrote that he believes that type has 3 things: “closeness, compassion and tenderness.”

“You are a priest for all gentlemen and women, just as God is a Father for all men and women of all ages,” wrote the pontiff. He added that he would pray for Martin’s “flock” and questioned for prayers in return.

The letter is not the to start with time Francis has voiced aid for Martin, who has garnered focus for ministering to LGBTQ Catholics. In 2019, the pope satisfied with Martin, who also serves as a consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interaction, to discuss LGBTQ Catholics.

Connected: Pope Francis voices guidance of civil unions for LGBTQ couples in new documentary

Martin has extensive insisted his writings and teachings relating to LGBTQ Catholics stay within the confines of church educating. But his 2017 guide, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Local community Can Enter into a Relationship of Regard, Compassion, and Sensitivity,” induced backlash among some conservatives. Whilst the e book was endorsed by prominent Catholic clerics, Martin was disinvited from talking engagements and consistently criticized by conservative internet sites this sort of as Church Militant and LifeSiteNews.

Pope Francis built intercontinental headlines in 2013 for responding to a query about homosexual clergymen by declaring, “Who am I to decide,” but has due to the fact confronted enduring pushback from LGBTQ activists who argue he need to alter church instructing: The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to “homosexual tendencies” as “objectively disordered.” And in March, the Vatican issued a document expressing LGBTQ couples cannot get a blessing by a priest.

Even so, Catholics in the U.S. are 1 of the most supportive spiritual teams of LGBTQ rights attempts: In accordance to Gallup, the vast majority of American Catholics have backed exact-intercourse marriage considering that at least 2011.

Associated: Pope Francis encourages nun encouraging trans group in Argentina