CV NEWS FEED // Pope Francis has said repeatedly that the Catholic Church cannot condone same-sex unions or “transgender” lifestyles, but a Polish Jesuit argues that his contradictory actions often sow confusion about the Church’s teaching on LGBTQ issues.
Fr. Dariusz Kowalczyk, SJ, wrote in a recent essay that the inconsistencies between the pope’s words and actions only lead to ambiguity and confusion among the faithful, calling it “a matter of concern.”
“Those who occupy leftist and liberal positions believe that, despite a certain openness to LGBT+ people, the pope stops halfway and does not respond adequately to the challenges of our time,” he wrote. “Others applaud the pope’s criticism of gender ideology, but believe that, on the other hand, Francis himself undermines or even invalidates it through other statements and gestures.”
Pope Francis has rejected “ideological colonization”—referring to the media-driven culture driving gender ideology—but perpetuates confusion about Church teaching with his actions regarding LGBTQ Catholic ministries, according to Kowalczyk.
Kowalczyk’s essay, written before the beginning of the Synod on Synodality, was published this week by the Polish Bishops’ Conference. On the same day, Pope Francis met with Sister Jeannine Gramick, whose views on LGBTQ issues have been condemned by the Church multiple times.
Gramick has worked in LGBTQ outreach since 1977, when she co-founded an organization called New Ways Ministry. The organization works to affirm LGBTQ Catholics in their lifestyles, directly contradicting Church teaching on human sexuality.
In 1999, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a document publicly condemning Gramick’s work and prohibiting her from doing any further ministry involving LGBTQ Catholics. The CDF also restricted her ability to hold any office in her religious order, the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
In 2000, Gramick’s order also instructed her to end her ministry. She continued her work with New Ways, however, defying both the CDF and her order.
Gramick left the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 2001 and joined the progressive Sisters of Loretto in Colorado, where she continues condoning the LGBTQ lifestyle for Catholics.
The USCCB condemned New Ways in 2010, saying that the organization’s claim to Catholicity confuses the faithful about true Catholic doctrine.
“New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and… they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States,” the USCCB said.
In 2021, Gramick wrote to Pope Francis to inform him of her ministry to LGBTQ Catholics, and they began a correspondence. The pope later wrote a letter congratulating Gramick on 50 years of LGBTQ ministry.
This was not the first time that Pope Francis sent confusing messages about Catholics living “disordered” lifestyles.
Despite his assertion that Catholics cannot condone homosexuality, the pope also corresponded with Fr. James Martin, founder of the LGBTQ ministry Outreach. He met with Martin at the Vatican in November 2022.
In May, Pope Francis sent Martin a note thanking him for “all the good” he was doing during an Outreach conference in New York City. As reported by CatholicVote, Fr. Martin’s “ministry” is incompatible with Catholic doctrine on human sexuality, leaving faithful Catholics wondering where Pope Francis stands on LGBTQ issues.