NEW YORK, June 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A group of Catholic activists have created a video of their personal speeches to Catholics who identify as LGBT to substitute for a canceled conference.
Outreach 2020 was supposed to be an “LGBTQ Catholic ministry gathering” taking place at New York’s Fordham University between June 18 and June 20 this year. It was canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Keynote speakers would have included Bishop John Stowe, OFM of Lexington, Kentucky; Sr. Jeannine Gramick, IBVM (formerly SSND), co-founder of New Ways Ministry; Father Bryan Massingale, a professor of ethics at Fordham University; Siva Subburaman, the director of the Georgetown LGBTQ Resource Center; and Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former master general of the Dominican Order.
“With all these amazing speakers, we wanted to do something special for this month when the conference would have happened — and for Pride Month — to help encourage our LGBTQ Catholic friends,” said Fr. James Martin, S.J. in a short trailer he posted to Twitter last night.
“I’m happy to present a new video which features Catholic leaders speaking to LGBTQ Catholics and those who minister with them.”
In his announcement, Martin emphasized the authority of those who supported Outreach 2020 ― “Cardinal Dolan, the local Jesuit provincial, and the president of Fordham University” ― and listed the speakers in a hierarchy that placed “parents” after “activists.”
“We have an archbishop, a bishop, priests, women and men in religious orders, theologians, scholars, activists, parents, teachers, and students from a wide variety of backgrounds, and they all have something important to say to you.”
In his own message, Fr. Martin suggests that Jesus Christ takes sides, telling Catholics who identify as LGBTQ that “Jesus is on” ― not at ― “your side.”
The speakers in the video include Ish Ruiz, a religious studies teacher at a Catholic high school in San Francisco; Sr. Luisa Derouen, O.P., a transgenderism advocate; Dr. Jason Steidl, a theology professor and critic of the Courage ministry; Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe; Shiva Subbaraman, the director of the Georgetown LGBTQ Resource Center; and Fr. John Cecero, S.J., provincial of the USA Jesuits Northeast Province.
They are followed by Megan Fox-Kelly, a chaplain at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.; James Alison, an influential Girardian theologian; Bishop Stowe; Aaron Bianco, now a lecturer at the University of San Diego; Sr. Edith Prendergast, former director of the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference (L.A. REC); Fr. Greg Greiten, an openly gay pastor serving in Milwaukee; and Fr. Massingale.
Other speakers include Stanley Francis “JR” Zerkowski, executive director of “Fortunate Families”; Kathy Farrell, the founder of “Fortunate and Faithful Families” in Atlanta; Pater Radcliffe; Fr. Eddie De Leon, CMF, chair of the Department of Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago; Shelly Fitzgerald, the guidance counselor fired for contracting a same-sex “marriage”; Marianne Palacios, a high school religion teacher; Sr. Gramick; and Dr. Craig Ford, assistant professor of theology and religious studies at St. Norbert College, Wisconsin.
Archbishop Wester told the disappointed delegates that he believes that the parable of the Good Shepherd is “particularly fitting” to their ministry to LGBT Catholics.
“Jesus’ parable of the Good Shepherd makes it abundantly clear that God loves all of us and that each of us has value and dignity as a beloved and unrepeatable child of God,” he said.
Bishop Stowe said he admires the “journeys” of the Catholic “LGBT community.”
“I want you to know how much I admire your journey of faith and your journey to integrity and authenticity,” he said.
“I know that very often it is a struggle, and I admire your perseverance to remain faithful to your Catholic identity and to be faithful to who you are.”
Some of the speakers suggested that their cause is gaining ground among Catholic believers.
“We’re transforming the Church from the bottom up,” said Dr. Steidl.