BY BTL STAFF
WASHINGTON D.C. – Nearly 2 million people have taken to the streets of Philadelphia and Washington D.C. to be a part of Pope Francis’ trip around the east coast.
A lot is happening this week in light of the pope’s visit. He has met with President Obama and is scheduled, along with many other activities, to make an address to Congress, visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum, hold a mass in Madison Square Garden, visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia and conclude his visit with the World Meeting of Families, the world’s largest gathering of Catholic families.
Just hours after Pope Francis began his historic trip to the U.S., the HRC released a guide to help LGBT Catholics who are seeking to reconnect with their faith and build more inclusive church communities.
Coming Home to Catholicism and to Self, features the inspirational personal journeys of Catholics including Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, which works for the full inclusion of the LGBT faithful in the church; and Hilary Howes, a transgender woman who joined the church when she married, but says her faith truly developed during her transition.
The guide also provides advice on finding a path to engagement with a faith that, in its official teaching, continues to describe “homosexual acts” as “intrinsically disordered,” yet is led by a pontiff whose engagement with LGBT people has been more inclusive and less judgmental.
At an official White House arrival ceremony Sept. 23, Pope Francis said that, “American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination.”
At the same time, LGBT Catholics in the U.S. continue to face rejection within the church, and there have been numerous instances of LGBT teachers being fired for who they are and who they love.
“The Catholic Church is not a building, not the magisterium, not the leadership, not the laws,” Howes says in the guide. “It’s the people of God. Catholics share a great commitment to social justice … the majority are on the side of the lesbians, gays and bisexuals. The majority believes in equality for transgender people. We’re one of the most accepting of all mainline churches.”
Survey after survey, including the HRC’s own polling, show overwhelming support among U.S. Catholics for LGBT equality and non-discrimination laws. While the doctrine of the Catholic Church is still far from inclusive of the LGBT community, U.S. Catholic laity is helping lead this country’s march toward equality. And many church leaders are providing private pastoral support to LGBT parishioners, even if they are not able to do so openly.
The Catholic guide is the second in a series of HRC faith guides — guides for Muslim and Jewish LGBT faithful will be released in the coming months — and contains many resources for the LGBT faithful and encourages them to join the conversation on Twitter at #welcomeushome and #LGBTCatholics.
Read the entirety of the guide here.
BY BTL STAFF