Roman Catholic Womenpriests challenge Cardinal George, U.S. bishops and Pope Benedict XVI
Release date: February 15, 2010
Media Contacts: Janice Sevre-Duszynska at 859-684-4247 rhythmsofthedance@ msn.com
Bridget Mary Meehan at 941-955-2313, sofiabmm@aol. com
Visit: http://www.romancat holicwomenpriest s.org/ and http://www.bridgetm arys/blogspot. com/
Roman Catholic Womenpriests challenge Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said that New Ways Ministry does not provide "an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching," in a February 5, 2010 statement.Roman Catholic Womenpriests challenge Cardinal George, the USCCB and Pope Benedict XVI to be open to the Christ in all people, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons. RCWP also challenges the Vatican to bless and affirm the LGBT community, the New Ways Ministry to them, and to welcome the prophetic witness and challenge of both, as well as their struggles, joys and gifts. RCWP sees Cardinal George’s statement as exclusionary and unacceptable for Catholics who embrace Jesus’ Gospel of inclusivity, equality and justice: a discipleship of equals. New Ways Ministry, co-founded by Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Salvatorian Father Robert Nugent, is based in Mount Rainier, Md. It is a 33-year-old "gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities. "On May 23, 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, issued a document ordering Gramick and Nugent to cease ministry to gays and lesbians because they were not strong in teaching that homosexual acts were intrinsically "disordered" and that the homosexual inclination was objectively "disordered" . The central issue, according to theologian Mary Hunt, was that neither Gramick nor Nugent was willing to agree that homosexual acts were intrinsically evil and that the teaching was virtually infallible and unalterable. Gramick rejected the 2000 order and has continued to provide support to the LGBT community. In the formal document she was informed that she "may not speak or write on homosexuality, on the notification, or on any ecclesiastical processes that led to it..." further, that she "may not encourage the faithful to publicly express their dissent from the official Magisterium, nor protest decisions of the Holy See, nor criticize the Magisterium in any public forum whatsoever." Gramick, however, as a matter of informed conscience, defied the Vatican’s edict and continues to lecture widely on behalf of justice for the LGBT community. She believes that only if all people are treated with dignity and respect will there be peace and harmony in the world. RCWP supports and celebrates her courage.Catholics continue to speak out against prejudice. In 2009, before a Maryland House of Delegates committee, Francis De Bernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said: "It would be a grave error in judgment – both politically and morally – for government leaders to assume that the Catholic hierarchy reflects the belief of most Catholic people." The hierarchy is not the Catholic Church; the Catholic Church is the People of God. Roman Catholic Womenpriests walk in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the LGBT community. We support New Ways Ministry and their compassionate ministry to the People of God.