The following comes from a November 10 New Ways Ministry blog post by Francis DeBernardo. New Ways Ministry has been condemned by U.S. bishops; see CalCatholic articles No one should be mislead and Censured again.
Yesterday, Bondings 2.0 reported on how LGBT topics were addressed at San Diego’s diocesan synod on the family, basically recommending greater pastoral outreach, and greater education about conscience development. While LGBT topics were only tangentially discussed at the meeting, there is a sign of hope that they will be aired more fully at the diocese’s next synod in 2018.
The reason for that optimistic outlook is that the diocese has already set the topic for that synod: young adults. And as surveys and general knowledge show, LGBT issues are a big concern for this demographic and are some of the main reasons that many youth leave the Church.
At least one diocesan official has already acknowledged the importance of LGBT concerns for the younger generation. The National Catholic Reporter spoke with Fr. John Dolan, vicar for clergy and pastor of two San Diego parishes, about the synod process, as well as about LGBT outreach:
“There are two different forms of doing church,” he said. “One is very dialogical, from a dialogical sense, and the other is from a monological sense. And we have dealt with that monological world: Things come from on high, they get shelved in some pastor’s corner, then there’s some thought that comes down, but ultimately it’s all ‘We’re going to tell you what to think.’ ”
Dolan, whose two parishes overlap the Hillcrest area — understood to be the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual center of the city of San Diego — added that the lack of attention to that population at the current synod was ‘the elephant in the room.’
“Young adults have an acceptance of the LGBT experience. It is simply a part of their world, and they look at us, and say, “What is the problem?’ ” Dolan said.
Interestingly, Bishop Robert McElroy, who initiated the synod process in San Diego, said he was surprised the LGBT topics were so strongly voiced by the delegates at the family synod which just ended.
The synod delegates recommended that the diocese establish an office of family spirituality, and that outreach to LGBT people be a part of that office’s ministry. McElroy explained the group’s recommendation to him included that the name be inclusive of LGBT and other non-traditional families. He said they told him:
“Don’t call [it] your Office of Marriage and Family Life, call it the Office of Family Spirituality.”
“They had a pyramid … which was a very inclusive notion of what family means. And they said, ‘This is not a sociological declaration … our Catholic spirituality of family says family for us includes this.’ People who are gay or lesbian or transgender or bisexual, whatever … they’re part of our own families, this is part of what family life means.”