In November, 2006, the U.S. Bishops approved the document, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care. Though concerned with some of the its content, Fortunate Families was especially concerned that the document was developed without consultation with Catholic lesbian and gay people, their Catholic parents, and with those that minister with them.
On January 12, 2007, Fortunate Families sent a copy of its brochure and its November newsletter to each U.S. bishop, along with a cover letter. The letter asked the bishops to dialogue with persons affected by the document. Over 385 people from 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada signed this letter which calls for dialogue as suggested by the bishops in their document.
Fourteen bishops (nine active ordinaries, one retired ordinary, two active auxiliaries, and two retired auxiliaries) responded to the letter that Fortunate Families sent to each U.S. Bishop on January 12, 2007. The letter asked the bishops to dialogue with persons
affected by the document they approved in November 2006: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care.
The purpose of posting these letters is to show the wide range of thoughts and feelings bishops have about this topic and this ministry. The fourteen bishops who responded all acknowledged our concerns. Our goal is dialogue, not confrontation. So, the bishops or their dioceses are not identified, and the letters are edited to preserve confidentiality.
We hope these postings will motivate you to encourage and challenge your bishop(s) to dialogue with Catholic LGBT persons, with their Catholic parents and other family members, and with Catholic pastoral ministers who minister with both of these groups.
Here are just two excerpts from the replies we received:
“Thank you for your letter and offer of assistance. Fortunately, I meet with a small group
on a regular basis (monthly) to discuss and act on outreach to GLBT members of the
You and members of Fortunate Families are to be congratulated for your interest and
support of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”
“Thanks for sending me the materials Fortunate Families sent to the bishops. I hope many
of them will read the letter and newsletter and accept your offer to begin a dialogue with
gay and lesbian Catholics. These men and women have much to offer the Church. Their
exclusion is our loss. I am very grateful that you continue to encourage dialogue. May
your efforts bear fruit. Be assured of my continued support.”
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