ROME, March 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis met with a pro-homosexual group which identifies itself as “Catholic” and posed with them for photos during the group’s visit to Rome last week.
The group, “LGBT+ Catholics Westminster”, promotes the normalization of homosexuality within the Catholic Church and seeks to “rid Church and society of systemic, institutional homophobia.” The pro-homosexual group was appointed by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, to provide pastoral care to Catholics who identify as homosexual.
LGBT+ Catholics Westminster holds positions contrary to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
“A fully inclusive pastoral ministry with and for LGBT Catholics, parents and families, inevitably leads to understanding Church teaching on sexuality and gender identity as a developing area of magisterial teaching and not something fixed once and for all in previous documents from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the group states on its website.
The organization has marched in London’s pro-homosexual parade. The organization’s website displays in a prominent position a prayer written by openly homosexual Catholic priest Bernárd J. Lynch who states on his blog, “I am married to my husband Billy since 1998.”
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and are “intrinsically disordered” because they are “contrary to the natural law.”
“They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church also teaches that the homosexual inclination itself is “objectively disordered.”
The Pope met with the group and posed with them for a photo on Ash Wednesday, March 6, after the General Audience. According to The Tablet, the group had “privileged seats” at the Audience in St. Peter's Square. The Pope shook hands with the pilgrims. Each one received a rosary from him.
During their March 4-10 visit to Rome, the group heard presentations from journalists and from Professor James Keenan SJ of Boston College. Fr. Keenan spoke on the pope’s perspective on the Synods on Marriage & Family of 2014 and 2015. Regarding LGBT concerns, Keenan spoke to the relevance of Pope Francis’ principles of “accompaniment” and “moral discernment.” The group also had Morning Prayer to commemorate at St. Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber the victims of “homophobia” and “transphobia.”
The closeness of Cardinal Nichols to LGBT+ Catholics Westminster was evident when he celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in central London in January. Administered by Jesuit priests, the parish’s LGBT outreach program, LGBT Catholics Westminster, was formed at the cardinal's direction. It includes smaller groupings that feature persons who identify as “trans.” The cardinal was raised to the cardinalate in 2014 by Pope Francis and first celebrated a Mass to welcome LGBT Catholics to the Jesuit parish in London in 2015. A former archbishop of Birmingham, Cardinal Nichols is the most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales.
Cardinal Nichols wrote to the pilgrims in advance of their pilgrimage, telling them that it was a “wonderful opportunity” to be in Rome and “most especially, to deepen your faith.” He wrote, “May St Peter and St Paul, and indeed all the Apostles, continue to guide you on your way, and may you never fail to be inspired by their witness as faithful servants of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” The cardinal asked the LGBT pilgrims to pray for him “at the tombs of St Peter and St Paul and all the other holy places you shall visit,” while he assured them of his prayers.
Note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report.