The following statement in response to Pope Francis’ apology to gay Catholics has been approved by our chair, Ruby Almeida:Quest welcomes Pope Francis’ clear words of apology to lesbian and gay Catholics. We share the view of some LGBT people who point out that this could and should have gone further, but there is time for that, later. For now, what matters is that this is a major turning point in the Catholic Church’s response to lesbian and gay people. (Regrettably, the apology offered nothing to transgender Catholics). Other bishops have previously issued their own apologies, for example the German speaking small group at the 2015 Family Synod in Rome, and the two English bishops who attended, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Bishop Peter Doyle. Who hope and expect that this clear example from the head of the Church, will encourage many more to follow their example.
Words of apology however, are not enough. Pope Francis has acknowledged the harm that has been done by the Church in the past. As Fr James Martin SJ has observed in a facebook post, this harm is real and deep, and for many LGBT Catholics, it is not just a matter of the past, but continues, even today. Hurt and wounds require healing. A closing resolution of the 2015 Family Synod resolved that special pastoral attention needs to be given to families with lesbian or gay people. Such families certainly include those headed by lesbian and gay people themselves.