Saturday, February 06, 2010

New Ways to George: Didn't Know, Don't Care

Lest anyone was wondering how the leadership of New Ways Ministry learned of yesterday's strongly-worded judgment on its ecclesial standing from the USCCB president... let's just say you're reading it.

In response to Cardinal Francis George's "clarification" that the Maryland-based outreach's "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," New Ways' executive director Francis DeBernardo released the following statement earlier this afternoon:
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. 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.

We are astonished that Cardinal George released such a statement, since New Ways Ministry has never been contacted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to discuss the nature of our work. We were not even extended the basic courtesy of being informed of the statement as it was being released to the press. Instead, we learned about it only by reading a press account.

When dealing with such a sensitive topic as homosexuality, it is not surprising that questions will arise from individual Church leaders. Yet, for more than three decades, New Ways Ministry has had its programs reviewed by scores of Catholic bishops, theologians, and pastoral leaders, and we have always been found to be firmly in line with authentic Catholic teaching.

If the USSCB [sic] had concerns about our ministry, why didn’t they contact us before a judgment was made? Why was New Ways Ministry not given an opportunity to explain our positions?

For almost 33 years New Ways Ministry has been sustained spiritually by the prayers of millions of Catholics, and we owe it to these supporters to continue the work to which God has called us.

New Ways Ministry calls on its supporters not to give up hope in the Catholic Church, but to continue to pray and work for the day when lesbian/gay people are welcomed as full and equal members in our beloved Church.