Clad in traditional brown Franciscan robes, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, seemed at home among the rainbow of colors at New Ways Ministry‘s eighth annual symposium here April 28-30. This was the first time that the bishop had spoken in front of the advocacy group, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics.
“New Ways Ministry made me want to come here,” the bishop told NCR during a 40-minute interview at the gathering. He has been observing and admiring the group’s outreach to LGBT Catholics over several years, he added.
New Ways Ministry director Frank DeBernardo invited Stowe, 51, after he’d heard the bishop give scriptural reflections at the 2016 annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” DeBernardo said, comparing Stowe’s words to those of Pope Francis and to St. Francis of Assisi. All three men seemed to be saying that “it was the church’s job to take the Gospel to the margins,” DeBernardo said.