One woman involved in LGBT ministry called the document ‘bold, extraordinary and hopeful.’

From Baltimore’s Catholic Review: 

Ministry to LGBT Catholics and their families must balance a “life-giving” tension between showing love and a genuine sense of welcome to all while also faithfully teaching the truth about human sexuality revealed by God in creation, Scripture and tradition.

That is the core message that runs throughout Archbishop William E. Lori’s “Like Every Disciple,” a 14-page document released July 20 that offers guidelines for parish ministries involved in the pastoral accompaniment of LGBT parishioners and their families in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“Persons who may identify as LGBT are daughters and sons of God, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they are members of the Body of Christ, they are our family members and friends,” Archbishop Lori wrote. “Like every human person, they were created with a desire for intimacy with Jesus Christ. Like every disciple, LGBT persons are called to a lifelong journey of turning toward the Lord, receiving his love, and, in turn, seeking to know and love him more and more deeply every day.”

The experience of LGBT persons means they approach the journey of discipleship within a particular context, Archbishop Lori said, yet the “deepest needs of their heart” are the same.

“The church, with a mother’s tenderness, never forsakes or abandons any of her children, but seeks to draw them close and lead them to Christ, who fulfills their heart’s desire,” he said.

Archbishop Lori noted that no matter a person’s gender or sexual orientation, “God loves us where we are, as we are.”

“But God is always inviting us to a more abundant life,” he said. “God loves us too much to leave us as we are. He calls each and every one of us to a lifelong journey of growing closer to him, in a word: discipleship.”

Archbishop Lori said the desire for charity, the desire to “truly welcome and embrace” sexual minorities, to hear their stories and to walk with them in their struggles is essential. Otherwise, accompaniment isn’t possible.

…Father Matthew Buening, coordinator of LGBT ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said he is encouraged by the “pastoral tone” of Archbishop Lori’s “Like Every Disciple” document. The archbishop appointed Father Buening to the newly created archdiocesan post in LGBT ministry in 2021. The priest also serves as pastor of two Baltimore parishes, St. Matthew and Blessed Sacrament.

“(‘Like Every Disciple’) is meant to encourage and support this kind of growing ministry in the church today,” Father Buening said.

The pastor said many people misconstrue church teachings on sexuality as “mean” and “unwelcoming” rather than viewing them as a “beautiful truth.”

… Diane Gibbons Lesko facilitates a ministry to LGBT people and their families, based at Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City.

Lesko, who has a grandchild who identifies as transgender, called the archbishop’s document “bold, extraordinary and hopeful.”

Lesko was also involved in listening sessions leading up to the release of the document.

“I think it’s very positive that the document says no set of guidelines will say all that needs to be said,” Lesko said, expressing her hope for ongoing honest conversation with LGBT persons and their families and friends. “They want to continue to embrace their spiritual home in the Catholic Church.”

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