by Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
This past weekend, my New Ways Ministry colleague Bob Shine and I attended the national conference of Pax Christi USA, the Catholic organization which promotes peace, justice, and non-violence. We had an exhibit booth there for New Ways Ministry, distributing our materials about LGBT ministry and equality.
With Bishop Thomas Gumbleton as the opening keynoter and Father Bryan Massingale, a Marquette University theologian who specializes in social ethics, as the closing plenary speaker, the three days of meetings were book-ended by great inspiration.
For me, and for many of the participants, the highlight of the weekend came during Fr. Massingale’s talk in which he laid out a number of ways that Pax Christi USA can become more relevant to today’s Catholics, and more effective in church and society. His final recommendation was that Pax Christi USA needed to start addressing LGBT equality and justice if they want to remain a credible and vibrant voice for peace and justice. He stated:
“If Pax Christi USA is to remain relevant and on the frontier as a Catholic movement of peacemaking with justice, it must intentionally welcome people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.”
Massingale acknowledged that this might be a “neuralgic and sensitive” issue for some in the organization, but he offered two reasons why he recommended it…