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Francis-appointed cardinal ‘delighted’ at ‘LGBT pilgrimage’ to his Cathedral

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NEWARK, New Jersey, May 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Joseph Tobin says he is “delighted” an LGBT group will make a pilgrimage to his archdiocese’s cathedral.

In fact, the cardinal archbishop of Newark personally approved the group’s flyer for the event, according to NJ.com.

"I am delighted that you and the LGBTQ brothers and sisters plan to visit our beautiful cathedral,'' Cardinal Tobin wrote to the LGBT group.

"You will be very welcome!” said Cardinal Tobin. “The flyer is fine; please circulate it."

James Goodness, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Newark, told LifeSiteNews that NJ.com’s Cardinal Tobin quote was from an email the cardinal sent to a fellow Redemptorist, the cardinal’s religious community.

Redemptorist Father Francis Gargani had made the inquiry, NJ.com reported, and received the email confirmation of welcome from Cardinal Tobin. 

Goodness also said that what has been missing in most of the coverage on the cardinal’s communication is the crucial element of welcome.   

“The Cardinal was asked whether he might welcome a group of pilgrims who identify as LGBT,” Goodness said. “He said yes, we welcome all in the name of Christ. He is not concelebrating or preaching at this private event. He will simply offer a word of welcome as he would do for other groups of pilgrims.”

The welcome was the product of an inquiry on behalf of the Interparish Collaborative, a group of some 15 Catholic parishes in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area with LGBT ministries.

Father Gargani, who resides at the Redemptorist Provincial House in Brooklyn, has regularly given LGBT retreats. He will say Mass for the May 21 “LGBT Pilgrimage to Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart” in the cathedral chapel.

The LGBT pilgrimage is co-sponsored by Sacred Heart Parish in South Plainfield, in the Diocese of Metuchen, and the Church of the Precious Blood, Monmouth Beach, in the Diocese of Trenton.

NJ.com’s coverage of Cardinal Tobin’s welcome to the LGBT group was picked up and shared on Facebook by America Magazine Editor-at-Large Jesuit Father James Martin.

Father Martin, who was recently appointed by Pope Francis as a consultant to the Vatican’s communications office, praised the cardinal’s LGBT welcome.

Father Alexander Santora wrote the NJ.com article. A frequent contributor, the priest of the Newark archdiocese had written another column in 2015 in which he praised the late Jesuit John J. McNeill, the founder of the dissenting so-called “gay” Catholic movement.

“Pope Francis ushered in a new era of welcoming gays when he uttered that famous rhetorical question, ‘Who am I to judge?’” Father Santora wrote regarding Cardinal Tobin’s welcome of the LGBT group to the cathedral. “And laity, religious, deacons, priests, bishops, and now even cardinals, and are taking it to a new level of acceptance.”  

LGBT activist group New Ways Ministry was also among those praising Cardinal Tobin’s welcome.

“It is so good to see that a cardinal is eager to extend a welcome to a group of LGBT Catholics,” the group’s blog stated. “Indeed, his example should be emulated by others. If bishops want to make Pope Francis’ message of welcome tangible to LGBT people, more instances like this need to take place. God will surely bless this beautiful initiative!”

Pope Francis named then-Indianapolis Archbishop Tobin a cardinal last fall. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Cardinal Tobin would lead the Newark archdiocese, the first cardinal to do so.

In November, Cardinal Tobin criticized the dubia from four cardinals requesting clarity from Pope Francis on the intent of his Amoris Laetitia document. Tobin referenced the request as “troublesome” and said reducing the document to a dubium was “at best naïve.”

Regarding the possibility of women deacons, "I'm hopeful," Cardinal Tobin told a women’s conference in October.

In 2011 as Secretary for the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Tobin was critical of the Vatican’s handling of its investigation of some U.S. women’s religious orders.

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