Editor’s note: It should be noted that Francis’ letter to Fr. James Martin encouraging the celebrity priest’s work with “Outreach” was written before CatholicVote published its exposé on the organization.
CV NEWS FEED // Pope Francis sent a handwritten note thanking Outreach founder Fr. James Martin and greeting the 250 attendees of Outreach’s LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Conference, which will take place June 16 to 18 in New York City.
In a brief letter dated May 6, Pope Francis offers prayers and good wishes to Fr. Martin and those working at the Outreach Conference.
The Outreach conference will be held at Fordham University in New York City. “LGBTQ Catholics,” ministers, and family and friends are invited to gather to listen to speakers and for prayer and discussion.
Panel discussions include “The Bible and Homosexuality,” “The Catholic Lesbian Experience,” “Living a Life of Chastity,” and “Catholic Art and the LGBTQ Experience.”
Theologians, authors, pastoral associates, clergy, religious orders, and lay Catholics will participate.
In a previous piece, CatholicVote took a closer look at Outreach.
The organization has published numerous essays attacking the Church’s teachings on sexual morality and marriage. Outreach also produces articles defending and promoting “transgender” surgeries, including for children.
In a number of articles, pro-LGBTQ operatives discuss infiltrating Catholic schools and talking with “queer kids” about their sexuality and “gender identity.” Others sexualize Catholicism and its saints, including an essay celebrating sexually suggestive artwork depicting the martyr St. Sebastian as a “queer icon.”
In his note, Pope Francis thanked Martin for “all the good you are doing.”
“I pray for you, please do so for me,” wrote Pope Francis. “May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin take care of you.”
This is the third letter Pope Francis has written to support Outreach. In a 2022 letter, he encouraged Martin’s work “in the culture of encounter” which “enriches us with differences.” In June 2021, the pope complimented Martin’s “pastoral zeal” in adopting the “style of God.”
“It’s a special grace for LGBTQ Catholics to know that the pope is praying for them,” said Martin of the Pope’s latest letter. The two met privately to discuss LGBTQ ministry last November.
“It is the sacred duty of the Church and Her ministers to reach out to those on the periphery and draw them to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church,” wrote Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York in another letter to conference attendees. “Your vital and important ministry is a valuable and necessary contribution to that effort.”
“Again, thank you, thank you for your witness,” Pope Francis concluded in his letter.
CatholicVote responded in a tweet:
Faithful Catholics should not be discouraged by this. Given the Pope’s repeated opposition to trans ideology and the realities of his current health and busy schedule, it is questionable whether he is even aware of what this conference is actually promoting. Fr. Martin’s ability to work his contacts in Rome to get what amounts to a generic “Bless you” note—and immediately publicize it—is evidence of his savvy as an activist, nothing more. We join Pope Francis in prayer for the conference attendees and all who are targeted by ideological predators.