CHICAGO, April 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Next week in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Catholic bishop of Lexington, Kentucky will speak to a symposium organized by a dissident group condemned by the Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich hasn't commented on the event taking place within his archdiocese, nor acted to prevent his fellow bishop from speaking there.
Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington is scheduled to speak at New Ways Ministry's 2017 conference, titled “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis.” He's defended his decision to do so, saying “Pope Francis has signaled that we need to take another look at those things.”
Defending his scheduled talk for the gay advocacy group, Stowe said Church teaching on homosexuality “was not Jesus’ approach.” Catholic doctrine on the issue isn't “immune from ever changing,” he said.
Stowe will offer the conference's opening prayer on Friday, April 28 and morning prayer on Saturday, April 29. The conference includes sessions such as “Lesbian Nuns: Gift to the Church,” “Gay Men in Priesthood and Religious Life,” and “Transgender & Intersex Identities and the Family.”
According to the Code of Canon Law, “A diocesan bishop can perform pontifical functions in his entire diocese but not outside his own diocese without the express, or at least reasonably presumed, consent of the local ordinary…He is to exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially regarding the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the veneration of the saints, and the administration of goods” (Can. 390 and Can. 392 §2).
The Archdiocese of Chicago didn't respond to LifeSiteNews' requests for comment.
Ironically, it was Cardinal Cupich's predecessor in Chicago who issued the condemnation of New Ways Ministry on behalf of the U.S. Bishops.
Cardinal Francis George, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in 2010:
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. 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.
In 1999, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith permanently banned New Ways Ministry co-founders Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent from any pastoral work involving people who experience same-sex attraction.
The conference schedule lists “Eucharist” as an event for Sunday morning, presumably a Catholic Mass. The day before the conference, pro-abortion Sister Simone Campbell will lead a retreat. One of the questions it aims to ask is, “What spiritual gifts and practices do we need to sustain ourselves as we work for a church that lives the qualities of justice and mercy in regard to LGBT issues?”
There won't be Mass at the retreat, but there are two time slots reserved for “quiet time for meditation.”
Pope Francis made Cupich a cardinal in November 2016. Cupich supports Communion for pro-abortion politicians in defiance of Church law. After the Planned Parenthood baby body parts scandal videos, Cupich said that abortion is just as appalling as unemployment and hunger.
Responding to the news that the governor of Illinois will veto a pro-abortion law, Cupich said on April 19:
I thank him for this principled stand. Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be. The federal government prohibits the practice, and polls show a substantial segment of the American public reject it. I pray that this divisive issue will be put behind us and our government officials will now concentrate on the many difficult challenges facing Illinois. Most importantly, our political leaders must find a way to cooperate and craft a budget that serves all our people. It is essential that we unite in this effort, and I stand ready to help in any way.
At the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cupich outlined how same-sex couples and the divorced and remarried could receive Holy Communion in accordance with their “consciences.”