US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Pope puts out the welcome mat--sort of

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

One of the pope's nicer expressions from his trip to Lourdes has been turned around in a bit of a challenge to him. Arguing for a greater welcome for Catholics who want to celebrate Mass in Latin, the pope said: "Everone has a place in the church, every person without exception should be able to feel at home and never rejected."

St. Mary's Parish in South Brisbane, Australia has taken the pope at his word. The parish is known for welcoming gay and lesbian Catholics and their families and has provoked controversy with its "gender neutral" liturgies, including baptizing children in the name of the "maker, redeemer, and sustainer." According to Queensland Pride, a local gay and lesbian newspaper, St. Mary's unfurled a banner invoking the pope's quote as support for their inclusive attitude.

I actually had a similar reaction when I first read what Benedict said at Lourdes: I couldn't agree more, Holy Father, but the vast majority of people who feel excluded at church aren't looking for Latin Mass. Many are seeking healing after divorce and want to remarry (or already have). Gay and lesbian Catholics don't want to give up on their church home but find being labelled as "intrinsically disordered" too much to bear. How do we extend Christ's welcome to all our sisters and brothers, who are, after all, already fully initiated members of the church?