Thursday, March 17, 2011
Catholic Bishops Rebuff, Rebuke Mount Rainier Ministry
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has rebuffed Mount Rainier-based Catholic group New Ways Ministry for attempting to promote a "gay-positive" gospel within the Church.
New Ways Ministry, located on 29th Street near the DC border, provoked national attention by publishing a downloadable book that advocates marriage equality for same-sex couples in a Catholic context.
In Marriage Equality, A Positive Catholic Approach, New Ways Ministry's Francis DeBernardo makes a case that homosexual relationships are compatible with Catholic teachings. The book also distinguishes between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' staunch opposition to same-sex marriage and "Catholic citizens" who "do not always hold positions on public policy issues identical to those the bishops maintain."
DeBernardo writes that, "The Catholic Church is more than just the bishops," and also, "the bishops need to listen to the people in order to discern what the Catholic faith is and how God is working in the world."
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is archbishop of Washington, D.C. was quoted in religious conservative Web site Lifesite News as saying on March 11, "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 story was also reported by the Catholic News Agency.
UPDATE: New Ways Ministry has issued a press release in response to Cardinal Wuerl's statement.