The letters, written in the spring of 2021, have been released in a political move against the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has written to pro-LGBT New Ways Ministry, praising and thanking the group and its founders, despite its long-standing opposition to Church teaching on matters of sexual morality and consequent censorship by Church authorities.
On December 8, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) revealed that Pope Francis wrote two letters to the group’s executive director, Francis DeBernardo, on May 3 and June 17. The NCR stated that the letters were on official “Vatican stationery,” and written in Spanish.
The first letter, dated May 3, was in response to an April 21 letter DeBernardo had written to the Pope, explaining the nature of the pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry (NWM). The organization claims it “educates and advocates for justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger church and civil communities.”
According to NCR, Francis wrote of a discernible “attitude of shepherd closeness” in NWM, saying that DeBernardo’s letter had “helped me a lot to know the full story you tell me.”
“Sometimes we receive partial information about people and organizations, and this doesn’t help. Your letter, as it narrates with objectivity its history, gives me light to better understand certain situations.”
The second letter from the Pope to DeBernardo – a long-time advocate of homosexuality, and a 29-year veteran with New Ways Ministry – again praised the NWM head while also honoring NWM’s co-founder Sr. Jeannine Gramick.
“Thank you for your neighborly work…[your] heart, open to your neighbor,” wrote the Pope, before praising Gramick, who has a long history of dissenting from Catholic teaching on homosexuality and abortion.
“I know how much she has suffered,” the pontiff continued.
“She is a valiant woman who makes her decisions in prayer.”
The two letters earned the praise of prominent pro-LGBT Jesuit priest, Father James Martin, who welcomed the letters’ message.
“The Holy Father’s warm letter to New Ways Ministry is not only another step in his outreach to LGBTQ people, but the beginning of a kind of rehabilitation for New Ways, and for Sister Jeannine as well, in recognition of their important ministry in our church,” Martin told the NCR.