A coalition of groups working on behalf LGBT Catholics and their allies offered prayers and hope that the new pope's oft-cited humility will make him amenable to hearing the voices of those who they say have been "denigrated" by the Church in the past.
Noting that, as a cardinal, the current Pope Francis once characterized equal marriage for same-sex couples as "a machination of the Father of Lies,” Equally Blessed, which includes participation from DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry, Call To Action, and Fortunate Families, stated that many of the comments he once made "are not statements worthy of a pope, or, for that matter, anyone in pastoral ministry."
The groups say they pray that "God will grant him the courage to listen to the voices of all of God’s children, especially those who have been oppressed, marginalized and denigrated by the church in the past."
Here's from the complete press release statement:
"We congratulate Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on his election as Pope Francis, and join with Catholics everywhere in surrounding him with prayers as he assumes his sacred office. We are inspired by his humility, his devotion to the poor and the depth and thoughtfulness that characterize much of his writing. Pope Francis understands that we are all in need of God’s mercy, and we hope that he conducts his Papacy with this kind of humility. We are encouraged, too, by his frequently voiced conviction that the church must move beyond a preoccupation with its internal concerns and bear God’s love to people in the midst of their often difficult daily lives.
"If he truly desires to share the Gospel with all people, Pope Francis will come to realize that many of those created in God’s image are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. It is our fervent hope and continuing prayer that Francis will break new ground in opening a conversation with LGBT people so that he may come to know a little about their experiences of God’s grace, mercy and love.
"We are mindful some of our new pope’s past writings will be profoundly discouraging to LGBT Catholics. During an unsuccessful campaign against marriage equality legislation in Argentina, he wrote things that, frankly, could be considered hateful, calling the legislation that authorized same-sex marriage “a machination of the Father of Lies.” He also said adoption by same-sex parents was a form of discrimination against children. These are not statements worthy of a pope, or, for that matter, anyone in pastoral ministry.
"We pray that as Pope Francis begins his new ministry, God will grant him the courage to listen to the voices of all of God’s children, especially those who have been oppressed, marginalized and denigrated by the church in the past, so that the pope might better embody the love and mercy about which he speaks so eloquently."
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