Dignity and Fortunate Families Have Been Expelled from the Archdiocese of Detroit
In March Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron and Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby wrote a "Pastoral Note on Ministry to Those Who Experience Same-Sex Attraction" which has garnered considerable criticism.
On June 4, the National Catholic Reporter responded with an Editorial, "Stop Judging, and Welcome LGBT Catholics 'in good faith'."
As NCR pointed out, when asked about homosexuality in 2013, Pope Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge them if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?" While that comment may have become a sound bite supporting things the pontiff may or may not have intended, it still stands as an expression of openness from a church that, like the broader culture, has persecuted, not welcomed, its LGBT brothers and sisters.
And once again, as NCR stated, sadly, there is still too much judging going on in our church.
Things are particularly distressing in Detroit, where under the guise of implementing Archbishop Allen Vigneron's recent pastoral note on what he calls "same-sex attraction," two recent announcements have attempted to banish groups of LGBT Catholics and their families from church facilities.
In a letter to archdiocesan priests in early March, Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Battersby instructed clergy "to refrain from offering Mass anywhere in the Archdiocese of Detroit for Dignity Detroit, lest we confuse the faithful by seeming to endorse an alternative and contradictory path to sanctity."
For more than 50 years, Dignity has advocated for respect and justice for LGBT Catholics, with the belief that they should "experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society."
The Detroit Archdiocese instead supports the apostolates of "Courage and EnCourage", which use a 12-step model to support LGBT people in battling what the groups obviously see as an illness or disorder.
On March 20, NCR commented, With callous timing, Detroit bishops bar LGBTQ group from Catholic grounds. On March 26 NCR reprinted Father Vic Clore's Letter, Priest's Public Letter Supports Dignity Detroit in Wake of Bishop's Ban.
Now the Detroit Archdiocese is expelling "Fortunate Families", a group for families, friends and allies that seeks "to uphold and safeguard the dignity of LGBTQ+ daughters and sons of God," according to the Fortunate Families mission statement.