The following comes from a December 23 LifeSiteNews article by Pete Baklinski:

A U.S. bishop first appointed last year by Pope Francis is defending his decision to speak at a gay activist conference in April 2017 put on by a “Catholic” group condemned by the Vatican. The bishop argues that he is following the pope’s example of being “merciful” while reaching out to those in the “periphery.”

Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington in Kentucky is scheduled to speak at New Ways Ministry’s symposium April 28–30 in Chicago. The event is titled: “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis.”

Stowe defended his decision to speak at the event in a December 15 radio interview on the Mike Allen Radio Show after Church Militant highlighted the matter in a December 9 report.

“I think Pope Francis has signaled that we need to take another look at those things (homosexuality) and I think that Pope Francis has also given us the example, that is, the Church doctrine, the Church teaching has not changed, but the way we approach it has to be merciful,” he said.

New Ways Ministry describes itself as a “gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics.” It advocates for same-sex “marriage” and the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

The group’s founders, Sr. Jeanine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent, were investigated and condemned by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999 for their “erroneous and dangerous” teaching and were “permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons,” an order they both defied.

New Ways Ministry has also been condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on two occasions, and they have been banned from Catholic venues in numerous dioceses. In 2015, they were banned from holding an event in a Catholic parish at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

In 2010, then USCCB president Chicago Cardinal Francis George stated that Catholics can be assured that “in no manner is the position proposed by New Ways Ministry in conformity with Catholic teaching and in no manner is this organization authorized to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church or to identify itself as a Catholic organization.” The condemnation was reaffirmed in 2011 by Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, USCCB chairman of the Committee on Doctrine.