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Archbishop William F. Lori Advocates Ministry of Charity and Understanding for LGBT Catholics

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In a new guidance released on July 20, 2023, Archbishop William F. Lori of Baltimore emphasized the importance of serving people who identify as LGBT or gender nonconforming with charity, sensitivity, understanding, and genuine accompaniment, all in the light of revelation and Church teaching. The 14-page document titled "Like Every Disciple" sets forth guidelines for ministry to LGBT individuals and their families within his archdiocese.

Photo credit: Thays Orrico

Photo credit: Thays Orrico

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/24/2023 (7 months ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Baltimore, same-sex, teaching, pastoral

The guidance starts with the notion that every Christian is called to embark on a lifelong journey of drawing closer to the Lord and deepening their love and knowledge of Him each day. Archbishop Lori highlights the significance of baptism, where God claims each individual as His own, transforming them into beloved daughters and sons of the Father. This newfound identity becomes the core of their being, the truest essence of who they are.

Acknowledging cultural changes, Archbishop Lori recognizes the increased awareness within the Church regarding the experiences of those who are same-sex attracted or who experience gender discordance. He employs the term LGBT, representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, encompassing diverse views and experiences within this community.

The guidance underscores the vital role of ministry in offering pastoral accompaniment rather than advocating for changes to Church teaching. While affirming Christian revelation and Church doctrine as not obstructing human flourishing but rather inviting individuals to experience abundant life, the guidance insists on the need for charity and understanding towards sexual minorities. Openness to the experiences of LGBT individuals, a willingness to listen to their stories without judgment, and a recognition of the hurt and rejection they may have faced from family members, clergy, or their parish community are deemed essential.

Archbishop Lori addresses the polarized discourse surrounding the intersection of Catholicism and LGBT identities, emphasizing the need for pastoral accompaniment while staying true to the teachings on human sexuality as revealed through Jesus Christ. The main questions he poses are how to offer ministry that truly welcomes and embraces LGBT individuals while faithfully teaching the truth about human sexuality.

The guidance outlines six essential characteristics of pastoral accompaniment, including recognition of our need for the Lord, showing compassion, respect, and sensitivity, journeying together in light of our calling, engaging in a different kind of conversation, being rooted in the Church, and being willing to embark on the long journey of discipleship.

Archbishop Lori emphasizes the importance of ongoing dialogue and building relationships, ensuring that any ministry to LGBT persons and their families within a parish must have his approval. Leaders of such ministries are expected to be disciples, people of prayer, well-versed in Church teaching, capable of facilitating open and charitable conversations, and committed to walking alongside others on their journey towards a closer relationship with Christ.

The document concludes by stressing that no one, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, is perfect as they are, but everyone's desire for God surpasses a mere remedy for sin. Instead, the primary disposition required is an openness to receiving God's love, hearing His word, and responding to His love in their lives. Through this ministry of charity, understanding, and genuine accompaniment, Archbishop Lori seeks to create an environment where LGBT Catholics and their families can experience God's love and find a deeper relationship with Christ and His Church.

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