WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2011 ( – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) warned Catholics this week against the self-identified “Catholic” group New Ways Ministry’s position on homosexuality.


In a statement from the USCCB, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington and chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, condemned the group’s newly published booklet entitled “Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach,” written by the group’s executive director Francis DeBernardo.

“In no manner is the position proposed by New Ways Ministry in conformity with Catholic teaching, and in no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organization,” wrote Wuerl.

Archbishop Wuerl affirmed Cardinal Francis George’s statement of last year, while he was acting as president of the USCCB, regarding New Ways Ministry. 

“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,” said the cardinal.

The “Marriage Equality” booklet proposes to uncover the “full” Catholic position on homosexuality and marriage equality, which DeBernardo claims is found not only through the views of the bishops, but also those of theologians and the laity.

New Ways Ministry is an organization based in Mount Rainier, Maryland, that describes itself as a “gay positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics.”

“From the time of the organization’s founding in 1977, serious questions have been raised about the group’s adherence to Church teaching on homosexuality,” wrote Cardinal George.

The cardinal recounted the numerous occasions on which the two co-founders of New Ways Ministry, Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent, were disciplined by the Church for activities in defiance of the Church and its authority.

Cardinal Francis George described how New Ways Ministry criticized the Church for defending true marriage as between one man and one woman.  New Ways Ministry, said George, “has urged Catholics to support electoral initiatives to establish same-sex ‘marriage’.” 

“No one,” said Cardinal George, “should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. 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.”