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Synod of Bishops restores resource page link to New Ways Ministry, issues apology

Hannah Brockhaus By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Pope Francis takes part in a moment of reflection for the opening of the synodal path at the Vatican’s New Synod Hall, Oct. 9, 2021. / Screenshot from Vatican News YouTube channel.

Vatican City, Dec 13, 2021 / 10:58 am (CNA).

In a reversal of an earlier decision, the Synod of Bishops has restored a link to a video by New Ways Ministry on its resources webpage. An employee at the General Secretariat also apologized to the LGBT outreach group after the link was removed last week.

According to a Dec. 13 statement on the New Ways Ministry website, Thierry Bonaventura, communications manager of the General Secretariat, had apologized “for removing from their website a link to our video encouraging LGBTQ people to participate in synod consultations.”

Bonaventura told CNA on Dec. 7 that the link had been taken down after he was made aware that the U.S. bishops’ conference expressed its disapproval of the LGBT outreach ministry in 2010.

As of Dec. 13, the link is again visible on the synodresources.org website.

In a statement in the newsletter of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, Bonaventura said the removal of the link was a personal decision taken for “internal procedural reasons.” He apologized for removing the link, which he said “brought pain to the entire LGBTQ community who once again felt left out.”

The apology, subtitled “Walking together also means knowing how to apologize,” was also shared on the Facebook page of Father James Martin, S.J., on Dec. 12.

Bonaventura added that it is his desire and the desire of the entire General Secretariat of the Synod “not to exclude those who wish to carry out this synodal process with a sincere heart and a spirit of dialogue and real discernment.”

The apology was “a good example of true reconciliation in the church,” Martin wrote on Twitter Dec. 13. Martin is the author of “Building a Bridge,” a book advocating stronger ties between the Catholic Church and the LGBT community.

New Ways Ministry was founded in 1977 in the Archdiocese of Washington by Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, who were the subject of a notification by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999.

The notification, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict XVI, said that their positions “regarding the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and the objective disorder of the homosexual inclination are doctrinally unacceptable because they do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church in this area.”

In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, then president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement emphasizing that New Ways Ministry “has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.”

Bonaventura told CNA on Dec. 7, after the link had been removed, that his “team was not aware of the situation of the New Ways organization and of the clarification given by the USCCB President in 2010.”

He said that synodresources.org is an initiative of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops for sharing resources among dioceses, bishops’ conferences, and official Catholic organizations.

But he noted that the website’s address does not end in “.va,” the internet country code top-level domain for Vatican City.

“It means that the content published doesn’t express the view of the General Secretary of the Synod or of the Vatican,” he explained.

“At the same time, even if we are open to receiving any useful resources without a particular censoring of the material, it is our desire to welcome inputs from officially recognized organizations by the Catholic Church.”

CNA asked Bonaventura Dec. 13 to explain the apparent reversal but he declined to comment further.

Resources currently linked to on the Synod of Bishops’ website include handbooks, videos, formation materials, webinars, and events in countries around the world. Most of the resources included on the page as of Dec. 13 originate from Catholic dioceses and bishops’ conferences.

New Ways is one of only four groups categorized as “informal organizations” featured on the page, which linked to a total of 99 resources as of Dec. 13.

New Ways is the only group focused exclusively on ministry to people with same-sex attraction.

The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops is currently overseeing what has been described as one of the largest consultation exercises in human history, ahead of the 2023 Synod on Synodality.

A handbook released by the Vatican in September urged dioceses to include “all the baptized” in the process, including those on the margins of Church life.

It said: “Special care should be taken to involve those persons who may risk being excluded: women, the handicapped, refugees, migrants, the elderly, people who live in poverty, Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith, etc.”

The Vatican announced in May that the Synod on Synodality would open with a diocesan phase starting in October 2021.

A second, continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023.

The third, universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” at the Vatican in October 2023.

The “About” section of synodresources.org says that the website is “a platform for sharing resources, stories, and experiences in the journey of the Synod 2021-2023.”

The synod website also links to a new group, based out of a Catholic parish in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, called Discerning Deacons, which says its mission is to “engage Catholics in the active discernment of our Church about women and the diaconate.”

On its website, Discerning Deacons says it is “a project fueled by love and fidelity to the Catholic Church.”

The group will launch a “Synodal Animators Cohort” in January 2022 to provide “integral formation” during the first phase of the synod, especially to those engaging people “who often are at the peripheries of our faith communities: young people and women (who are explicitly named in the preparatory documents), Black, indigenous and people of color, migrants, victims of violence, formerly incarcerated men and women, LGBTQ persons, along with ecumenical and interreligious dialogue partners.”


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42 Comments

  1. Of course it apologizes, (unless you are tradition, then you are vilified) that’s all our church does these days…
    Forget about the kerygma, it’s become alphabet (lmnopqrst+) soup…

  2. All is smoke and mirrors. Close the page on this pope. Say your prayers, receive the Holy Sacraments and ignore this Vatican. It’s a fraudulent, disgraceful joke.

  3. They might as well send up a signal flare announcing their intentions.

    And this bit — “Walking together also means knowing how to apologize” — made me burst out laughing.

    The synod on synodality: an echo chamber of malcontents.

    • Well, if you’re as old as I am you might recall the sappy line from the even sappier “Love Story” film. At fifteen I thought it was soooooo profound 😂😂😂😂. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry!” And now the zeitgeist proclaims the opposite…. We live in interesting times, yes? God’s Peace be with you and yours.

  4. How very multicultural, the Church’s (?) loosely defined synod on synodality has just committed hari-kari. That didn’t take long. Pope James Martin, take a bow, but first see who has your back.

    We are reminded that the efforts at the synod on the family, by the relator general, to recognize the LGBTQ community, or any categorization of persons, was rebuffed in the final report of the Synod on the Family (a slogan never actually raised at the synod). The bishops, en mass, successfully “demanded” that his editorial license be removed.

    And we notice here, again, that the term “family” is curiously excluded in the vanedecum for the synod on synodality. Instead, the grab bag to which “ETC.” can and now does mean anything–rendering equivalent the traditional family and now the full spectrum (rectum?) of gender theory.

    From the Vanedecum (synodal guidelines): “…women, the handicapped, refugees, migrants, the elderly, people who live in poverty, Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith, ETC. [and then] children and youth [….] people who have left the practice of the faith, people of other faith traditions, people of no religious belief, ETC.”

    A big word, this here ETC. thingy…missing in seminary training, in this day and age, is a good course in counterespionage.

  5. Another blatant false report from the increasingly trashy CNA, which claims that “New Ways is the only group focused exclusively on ministry to people with same-sex attraction.” Not true. They are, and have always been active in promoting abortion “rights” as well.

    • I am glad you pointed this out. CNA continues to be cited as a source of authentic Catholic journalism by people who should know better. In fact, CNA is at best merely the bureaucratic mouthpiece of USCCB policies. At its worst, it is every bit as dissenting as the worst rags out there, such as National Catholic Reporter and CruxNow.

    • Mr. Baker, I do not think you are interpreting the text correctly. The antecedent to the sentence you quote is in the paragraph above. Thus, New Ways is the only group *of the four categorized as informal organizations* that is focused exclusively on ministry to people with same-sex attraction. I believe that the author was safe to assume that readers would know that there are at large several ministries with this focus, including very orthodox ones like Courage International. While I would not say that the writing in this section of the article is perfectly clear, I take issue with your crude accusation that CNA is “trashy.”

      As to the apology and link to New Ways, I find these actually trashy.

  6. The only surprise that could come from the Vatican at this point is actually standing up for the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Ape church in full bloom…

  7. At this point in time a faithful Catholic is better off writing off everything coming from the current Vatican leadership, and the current Pope (especially his plane interviews and “off the cuff” remarks) as it has become a sad joke. I miss Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II.

  8. Is this not a defining moment on the contemporary episcopate from the Holy See right on down? The chess game of praxis over and above decree is nothing but nefarious and mendacious. “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37
    Recently I came across a report that the USCCB is concerned about the lack of trust the episcopate generates among the faithful. I was surprised to see that they had that much self-awareness. Their concern is obviously about cosmetics over and above personal reform. They are addicted to lip service and it will be their end.
    It is gut wrenching.
    One cannot but recall Elijah and his elimination of the prophets of Baal.

  9. The Vatican handbook says to include all the baptized. That is now taken to mean including all those who officially oppose Church teaching. How interesting it will be to see the final outcome.

  10. The full plan has always been to destroy the Catholic Church,and continues to be going
    forward unabated.Just as the Germans did at the Battle of the Bulge by wearing American uniforms and changing the road signs.Today we see the same plan in play again.As the Germans Bishops started this latest assault.As this Pope & Vatican wears the uniform,but
    has been changing the road signs to confuse the Faithful about which road to take to victory.

  11. LGBTQ are not identifiers of persons. Homosexuality and other sexual disorders exist only as the most vile of contraventions to the genuine human nature a result of our being imparted the very nature of our Creator. They are mischaracterizations of what are disorders and should NEVER be referenced by the true Catholic Church in any other way than this. Illegitimately constructed organizations founded around to these disorders or disordered behaviors have no seat at any table or legitimate place in any dialogue where the constructs of genuine Catholicism are discussed or deliberated. As faithful Catholics we have no need or obligation to discuss our business with Satan or those who serve Him, whether they claim to be members of Jesus’ one true Church or not. Any pseudo Catholic, by virtue of their identification in this manner as being genuine Catholics when they are not should be summarily discharged from any deliberation concerning the constructs of our faith and ejected from our midst. This includes clerical persons and entities that embrace these deadly disorders. Enshrinement of filthy practices and the embrace of homosexual misuse of procreative and other human organs has no place where faithful Catholics are assembled. Few Catholics understand that such practices and discussions are always predatory, particularly where children can become proximate and can never be made otherwise. Any acknowledgement except outright rejection by our Church officials is the work of Satan and a betrayal of the faithful.

    • Yes, “predatory”…

      How else to explain that a sexual disorder oriented against reproducing itself is resulting in an ever-growing number of homosexuals? So, either sexual abuse or getting locked in by early experimentation. One would expect real bishops to notice this, and instead of lending a hand (so to speak), seizing this teaching moment with such posting as the Church’s truth-speaking compassion and compassionate truth speaking, and maybe a bit about the science as well:

      https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

      https://news.yahoo.com/no-gay-gene-study-finds-180220669.html

      For a hierarchy very concerned about losing the next generation, why be goaded now into throwing them under the bus?

      • Excellent perceptive response of the ever increasing perversion. Indications are that the predatory nature of this moral disease spreads with contact like a virus.

      • Unfortunately, as you must realize this missed opportunity is likely obeisance to papal policy, a predilection to embrace rather than instruct the disenfranchised sinner, bishops aware of being accused in the past of throwing stones. So they submit to making nice rather than rescue the sheep lost in the wilderness. A policy that appears under the guise of mercy more a new age message of, Be who you are, we love you as you are no need to repent and conform to Christ’s commandments. Some Catholics convince themselves a doctrine of surprises of doctrines contrary to Apostolic tradition is the new and blessed path. A path not the narrow one appealed to and taken by Christ.

      • More on the science of LGBTQ…

        FIRST, the authors of a 2019 study which claimed so-called gender-transition surgery may improve the long-term mental health of recipients issued a CORRECTION, nearly a year after publication. The authors now report that: “the results demonstrated no advantage of surgery in relation to subsequent mood or anxiety disorder-related health care.”
        https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/08/04/researchers-reverse-gender-surgery-offers-no-advantage-to-mental-health/

        SECOND, instead of saying “God made you that way,” maybe the Vatican megaphones might consider possible cases where inadvertent (environmental) CHEMICAL INTERFERENCE in the fetus, for example, later disrupts what God has created? The new scientific question is whether fetal absorption of EDCs (endocrine disruptive chemicals) can block normal hormonal development toward physically/emotionally integrated male and female children at birth? (Chemicals associated with endocrine-disrupting ability in humans include organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, bisphenol A, phthalates, dioxins, and furans.)

        Any enthusiasm from the Pontifical Council of Whatever–or maybe from the synods!!!–for encouraging preventive action and corrective medicine (part of Laudato si’s “integral ecology”!)? But maybe the pharmaceuticals won’t see any market or money in it, especially if status quo LGBTQ is mainstream even for the Church.

        In any event, sound moral theology regarding the immorality of sexual activity outside of fully human marriage still applies equally for all—for sexual-abuse victims, or locked-in experimenters, or those chemically damaged before birth, no less than for binary/complementary males and females.

        • Agreed the spectre of an error of nature [Aquinas assumed there were though very rare] of which there are indications, and the possibility of chemical interference we should, until more data arrives consider the disorder a predominant elective behavior. That is the reasoned, moral premise for psychiatric, psychological therapy for sufferers of the disorder [often a socio psychologic syndrome stemming from infancy]. That viable treatment is under attack as a liberty interference or against nature itself.

          • But at the least we do know of the indisputable ideological components. It is impossible for it to be coincidental that those committed to sexual deviancy support abortion at a rate of 98 percent according to reliable surveys. And it is equally impossible for there not to be a potentially widespread component of personal pride in the gay supporting souls of those unwilling to seriously consider the damaging repercussions of sexual deviancy.
            A potential homosexual disposition would likely be more psychological. Whatever the origin, most gays have lives of a habituated pursuit of justifying an avoidance of physical burdens, a reluctance to endure discomfort with a resigned and dignified sense of manliness. In time, they learn to bond with others who share weakness.

    • Amen! I too am asking the same question as to why Courage is not listed. The Catholic Church through this Apostolate has been helping same-sex attracted men, women, and their families since 1987 with the Truth.

  12. The entire Synodal thingy has been to me blatantly obvious from the get go. The mission I fear is to dilute the faithful with the “marginalized” to the point that our doctrine will be nothing more than any common Christian sect. But, we will have equity, equality, and on and on……….
    Have never trusted this Argentinian

    • Jim, fear not. This Synodal thingy has absolutely nothing to do with doctrine. It is all about structure and evangelization. Trust the Holy Spirit. Millions of Catholics all over the world are praying for it to succeed. Prayers are always answered.

  13. I am an ex-catholic and wow, after what I have been reading, God led me away from this whole mess. When did the catholic church start embracing homosexuality and transgenderism since the bible clearly denounces it, i.e. Deuteronomy 22: 5-8 transgenderism is called “an abomination”. Paul’s letters clearly denounce homosexuality and any unnatural sexual act as perverted and sinful. I am beginning to wonder if the catholic church has many LGBTQ in its leadership – seems like they do, otherwise why would they allow this!

    • Walking away from the faith was the exact WRONG answer. Just because these reprobates, and in worst cases, should the pope himself live/preach contrary to the faith, it does not change the faith. As Christ said, “let the dead bury their own dead, you follow me.” The Catholic faith cannot and will not ever change. Follow not these current reprobates, but leaving the faith made you an apostate, a mortal sin you will have to reckon with at your particular judgment. I urge you to about face and come back…”when the ground is dry, the roots sink deeper to find moisture, and thus, the tree becomes stronger.”

  14. The confusion is real, but the “Good”news is that the Church is NOT of this world totally. The Real Church exists as Body and Spirit. The Good Lord is not hung up on anything–he is God remember. The fight is with the World and the present Pope is the Shepherd… Rf

  15. True, but again the Church exists to help us reach the Kingdom. The scary part is that

    God is a Trinity and is both\and Divine and Human– a tough concept to wrap our

    heads around. Watch how the Pro-Life issue is going to go.

  16. So very sad to see how people who consider themselves good Catholics are so confused that they do not recognize the actual continuity from Pope John Paul II canonized by Pope Francis through the beautiful orthodoxy of Pope Benedict XVI on to this present day. Rather than take a careful look at their own openness to the mysterious, unexpected and unlikely movements of the Holy Spirit, they are quick to criticize and condemn! Do we or do we not trust the words of Christ to be with us to the end of time? Are we or are we not willing to accept the doctrine of papal infallibility? The Church goes on not based on right or left knee-jerk reactions to statements it would do us good to reflect upon and learn to recognize as faithful to the Gospel with its many surprises for the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus spoke and acted in unpredictable ways!

    • What are you talking about? The Holy Spirit does not “surprise” anyone with moral assertions that are contradictory to moral absoluteness. That’s one very large misunderstanding we have heard from the current Vatican staff. The problem here is, that the majority of reprobate James Martin and his followers don’t come to the table with penitent contrite hearts, rather, they want Church doctrine to change to accept their lifestyles. It does not work that way. Period. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of truth, not deceit. Homosexuality has been around for thousands of years, why is it, or should it in any way now be acceptable by the Church. God made us male and female, not to be defined by our sexuality. We are to have control of our passions. If you lose control, you repent. This ambiguous approach to what’s right or wrong is only from the evil one. At the end of the most perfect prayer, Christ says, “…deliver us from the evil one.” Thus, it is a sin to put ourselves in the devils path. You know clearly the heart of this matter. You are choosing to play naive. Also, Papal “infallibility” only exists ex cathedra, not on personal interpretation or opinion! If the pope wakes up tomorrow and says homosexuality is ok, even in certain situations, he would be wrong!!! He would not be speaking ex cathedra. Ridiculous to even have to speak to another “Catholic” about this. St Augustine says, “for I think a law that is not just, is not actually a law.”

    • I agree with you, Sister. Our Lord also had to put up with criticism and taunts from “religious people” the Pharisees. “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:16-17

      • And why would you abuse the words of the Gospels to insult Christ and His Church to affirm purposes that are opposed Christ and His Church? Our Lord’s purpose in reaching sinners was to seek their repentance, not to endorse their sins. Contemporary Pharisees are those elitists who align themselves with an elitist secularizing Pope.

    • Kathleen says: “The Church goes on not based on right or left knee-jerk reactions to statements…”

      The Church which follows Jesus listens to Him and does as He taught. Without hesitation Jesus rebuked and condemned error and sin by sharp verbal criticism.

      “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)

      “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16:23)

      If sister is still confused, she could jerk her knees to take up Scripture at Mark 8:33 or Matthew 4:10 for more direction. She could study Church Fathers, St. Aquinas, St. Peter Damian, or Magisterial teaching of 1900 years.

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