The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is warning that a Maryland-based ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics has neither the approval of the church nor the authority to speak on behalf of Catholics.
Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago, spoke about New Ways Ministry, founded in Mount Rainier in 1977 by the Rev. Robert Nugent and Sister Jeannine Gramick.
“No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice,” George said in a statement issued late Friday. “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.”
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said the organization was “astonished” by George’s statement.
“New Ways Ministry will continue its bridge-building work between lesbian/gay Catholics and the Church because that work is needed now more than ever,” DeBernardo said in a response posted on the ministry’s Web site. “Cardinal George’s statement of February 5, 2010, will not impede or slow us in our efforts to work for justice for lesbian/gay people in the Church and society. …