In Our Opinion •  In the Media  •  Other Organizations  •  Books  •  Other Sources

In Our Opinion . . .

 —Kathy Farrell, founder, Fortunate & Faithful Families

Christ’s Message of Unconditional Love

Fortunate and Faithful Families, which is an archdiocesan- approved ministry, strives to provide a safe place for hurting parents, a “home” for devout Catholics struggling to love deeply both their children and their church. We are not in a position to discuss or change church doctrine, but we cover our church and our families with fervent prayers that Christ’s message of unconditional love, acceptance and inclusion will thrive and grow in both.

Pope Francis recently said, “I desire a happy church with the face of a mother, who understands, accompanies, caresses.” As parents of beloved children, how this sentiment speaks to our hearts! If we live in love, speak in love and trust in love, both our church and our families will be blessed.

A look at Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s response to Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage

On June 26, 2015, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, wrote the majority ruling concerning same sex marriage, stating that same-sex couples “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that.” Archbishop Wilton Gregory called the decision a “deep disappointment for some people and vindication for others.”

While upholding Catholic Church teaching on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Archbishop Gregory urged people on both sides of the issue to be civil and respectful to one another: “The decision has offered all of us an opportunity to continue the vitally important dialogue of human encounter, especially between those of diametrically differing opinions regarding its outcome.” With the law of the land in opposition to Catholic Church teaching, Archbishop Gregory admits: “The decision has made my ministry as a pastor more complex, since it demands that I both continue to uphold the teachings of my church regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony while also demanding that I insist upon respect for the human dignity of both those who approve of the judgement as well as those who may disapprove.”

As Catholic parents of LGBT children, we thank Archbishop Gregory for encouraging peaceful, respectful dialogue—the same type of dialogue so often encouraged by Pope Francis. As the Archdiocese of Atlanta moves forward with its Pastoral Plan, we pray that this court decision does not undermine the message of welcome, loving acceptance, care and concern for all that the plan seems to stress.

We are committed Catholics, especially when our church is truly “catholic” and embracing of all who come with sincere hearts and love of God. And we also cherish our children, gay or straight, and wish for all of them lives of honesty, holiness, authentic relationships and the freedom to worship God in a welcoming and nurturing church community. We pray that the Supreme Court ruling will not incite hateful, condemning discourse but instead, respectful, compassionate dialogue and a desire to share in God’s all-encompassing love despite differences in opinion. With God’s grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible . . . and the greatest of these is LOVE!

  — read the full text of Archbishop Gregory’s statement


In the Media

Atlanta archbishop responds to
U.S. Supreme Court decision

Published June 26, 2015

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory released this statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same sex marriage: “Each U.S. Supreme Court decision that has ever been rendered has resulted in deep disappointment for some people and vindication for others. If we all agreed on the outcomes of these divisive cases, there would simply be no reason for the Court to convene. This most recent decision is no different . . .
  — read the entire story

Boy Scouts’ National President
Says It’s Time To Accept Gay Adult Leaders

Jim Burress, WABE, May 22, 2015, 5:01 a.m.

President Robert Gates, a former CIA director and former defense secretary, said in Atlanta on Thursday that failure to make changes quickly could spell the end of the group as a national movement. And the head of the Boy Scouts of America is calling on the organization to drop its ban on gay adult leaders. “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it would be” . . .
  — read the entire story

Elton John to Congress: You have “the power to end AIDS”

Jake Miller, May 6, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sir Elton John pushed the U.S. Congress to do more to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic on Wednesday, praising lawmakers’ past efforts to curb the spread of the virus and urging them to seize the opportunity to eradicate it for good . . . “We are seeing, especially in African countries, the LGBT community suffering under
draconian laws,” he explained . . . “If Christ was alive today, and I believe in Christ, he would be appalled at the way people are being stigmatized” . . .
  — read the entire story

Vatican makes unprecedented move with gay visitors

AP, February 18, 2015, 12:15 p.m.

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican did something it has never done before by giving a group of U.S. gay and lesbian Catholics VIP seats at Pope Francis’ weekly general audience Wednesday. But in a sign that the welcome wasn’t all it could have been, the New Ways Ministry pilgrims were only identified on the Vatican’s list of attendees as a “group of lay people accompanied by a Sister of Loretto.” New Ways Ministry officials were nevertheless pleased that they had been invited to sit up front by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, the prefect of the papal household who dispenses the coveted reserved tickets for Francis’ audiences . . .
  — read the entire story

Gay Catholics find a new tone under Pope Francis,
and from their own bishops

By David Gibson | Religion News Service, February 16, 2015

ROME — On its 15 previous pilgrimages, the Catholic gay rights group New Ways Ministry drew maybe two-dozen people to visit holy sites in places like Assisi and Rome. This year, the number of pilgrims unexpectedly doubled to 50. Chalk it up to the so-called Francis Effect, where the pope’s open-arms acceptance is giving new hope to gay and lesbian Catholics who have felt alienated from their church for decades . . .
  — read the entire story

In Memphis, creating a home for the homeless LGBT youth

By: Joshua Cannon, University of Memphis, January 31, 2015

Although Deb and Steve Word have two children, they are also parents to nearly 15 LGBTQ youth who had been living on the streets after getting kicked out of their own homes. “It’s a revolving door some days,” Deb says. “We’ve had 19 or 20 total visits. Some of the kids have come back. We did this because we can’t seem to find funding to find out how to do this right. We’re putting Band-Aids on gaping wounds.” Statistics serve as confirmation. According to a Williams Institute study . . .
[Editor’s note: Deb Word is currently serving as President of Fortunate Families, Inc.]
  — read the entire story

Pope Francis Demotes Conservative American Cardinal
Who Opposes Church Reform

The Inquisitr News, January 14, 2015

Pope Francis has demoted conservative American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke in a move that was not all that unexpected, after the two clashed on several issues, including the Pontiff’s wish to be more inclusive of homosexuals. Burke — named by Pope Benedict XVI head of the Vatican’s supreme court — fell from grace after being overly vocal and disagreeing with Francis’ attempts to reform the Catholic Church and bring it into the 21st Century . . .
  — read the entire story

Pope Francis: Church Must Find Ways of Welcoming
Divorced Catholics, Gays

By Deborah Ball,
Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2014

Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must find ways of welcoming divorced and gay Catholics as part of a yearlong debate by the church’s leadership that has already exposed a split within its ranks. In an interview with Argentine newspaper La Nación published Sunday, the pontiff addressed the turmoil his 20-month papacy has stirred with more tradition-minded groups in the church, saying it was a “good sign” that there isn’t “hidden mumbling when there is disagreement.” The comments on gays and divorced Catholics were the pope’s first public remarks since the end of the synod, or meeting of bishops, in October on problems facing the family . . .
  — read the entire story

Pope Frank: Open Debate at the Synod

By The Editors,
Commonweal, October 28, 2014

“Speak frankly,” Pope Francis said at the opening of this month’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. “Let no one say, ‘I can’t say this. They’ll think such-and-such about me.’” That isn’t how synods used to be. Under past popes, the Vatican tightly controlled the agenda. But Francis wanted something different this time. He encouraged participants not to fear openly disagreeing with one another, or with him. Encouraged to speak freely, the synod fathers did not hold back. Some participants spoke of valuable elements in “irregular” relationships, including those of gay couples, the divorced and remarried, and couples who cohabitate before marriage. In other words, the pope got the frank discussion he asked for—and then some . . .
  — read the entire story

Pope Francis Wins a Battle to Welcome Gays in the Church

By Barbie Latza Nadeau,
The Daily Beast, October 20, 2014

The war’s not over. But make no mistake, the Vatican synod paved the way for significant changes to come in the lives of gay and divorced Catholics. As the prelates pack up to leave Rome after the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, there seems to be some confusion about whether liberal Catholics or staunch traditionalists carried the day. The synod midterm report softened the tone on gays and divorced Catholics; then the final document took a step back. But here’s the bottom line: the fact that they discussed previous taboos at all means Pope Francis scored a victory . . .
  — read the entire story

‘The Church must welcome all of her sons and daughters’

“What I Have Seen and Heard”
By Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory,
The Georgia Bulletin, October 16, 2014

It took a while before our calendars could all sync, but finally the meeting took place about six weeks ago. From my point of view, it was well worth the wait. I had a superb encounter with about 10 simply wonderful folks who came from five or six of our parishes. They are members of a larger group of individuals who belong to many other parishes, but who find a common bond in the fact that they are parents of gay and lesbian children . . .
  — read the entire story

Atlanta Archbishop endorses welcome mat for gays

By Shelia Poole,
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (ajc.com), October 13, 2014

Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said on Monday he “heartily” applauds and endorses a report by Catholic bishops meeting in Rome that encourages the Catholic church to welcome gay and divorced parishioners. The bishops, coming from all parts of the world, called on pastors to recognize, among other things, the “positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation.” The meeting, or synod, was called by Pope Francis to discuss issues related to the family in contemporary society. The biggest bombshell appears to concerns homosexuality. “These men and women are the sons and daughters of the church, and yet in too many cases they have not felt welcomed or respected,” Gregory said in a statement . . .
  — read the entire story

Promises From A North Carolina Minister: ‘If I Have Gay Children...’

By Jean Ann Esselink,
New Civil Rights Movement, September 29, 2014

John Pavlovitz is a Christian pastor in North Carolina, but he is not what we have come to expect a Christian pastor in North Carolina to be. He's married and is dad to two small biblically-named kids, Noah and Selah. John keeps a well-named blog called: Things That Need To Be Said, and last week, what he thought needed to be said caused quite a sensation in the lgbt community. John envisioned a furure when one of his children came as gay, and made four solemn promises about the way he would react in that circumstance. His four promises . . .
  — read the entire story

Coming out Catholic

By Jeffrey Essmann,
U.S. Catholic, July 2014

I have no problem telling people I’m gay. But it can sometimes be weird telling people I’m a Catholic. It’s said that coming out is a lifelong process. There are its initial, more dramatic phases, usually connected with firsts (though not necessarily in this order): when you first realize what your sexual feelings are, the first time you tell someone you’re gay, the first time you fall in love. The drama of each is essentially the same. It’s the existential drama of asserting yourself in the world, in your own life, and of saying, “This is who I am.” It can be an exhilarating moment; it can be a terrifying one. Most often, it’s both at the same time. Exhilarating, because it’s an assertion of personal and public honesty, of growth, but also—and more important—because it’s a movement out of secrecy into mystery . . .
  — read the entire story



Other Organizations

Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception strives to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a welcoming community of diverse Christians, seeking spiritual growth and providing compassionate outreach. The Shrine has always welcomed all of God's children. The shrine sponsors GLBT Pot Luck Socials designed to promote a connectedness within the Shrine GLBT community and to be a welcoming event for GLBT persons who are either interested in knowing more about our church or returning to the church.
— Web site: Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
— Contact for GLBT Pot Luck: Email pride@catholicshrineatlanta.org
  or call 404-521-1866

PFLAG Atlanta

PFLAG Atlanta is the Atlanta chapter of PFLAG National. “PFLAG” is Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays. We are a national support, education and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their families, friends and allies. With 200,000 members and supporters, and local affiliates in more than 500 communities across the U.S. and abroad, PFLAG is the largest grassroots-based family organization of its kind. PFLAG is a non-profit organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political institutions.
— Web site: PFLAG Atlanta

Lost-n-Found Youth

As Atlanta’s only non-profit organization dedicated to taking homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth off the street and into more permanent housing, Lost-n-Found Youth is dedicated to the advocacy and service of youth from 13 to 25 years old. They operate a 24/7 hotline at 678-856-7825, a Youth Center, a 6-bed 90 day housing facility, and 3–6 month host home program.
— Web site: Lost-n-Found Youth

Fortunate Families, Inc.

Fortunate Families, Inc., is a national organization of Catholic parents with Lesbian (L), Gay (G), Bisexual (B), and Transgender (T) children supporting others like themselves to affirm, celebrate and seek equality for their families. Their faith journey calls them to strive for justice for all their children. One of their ministries is “Listening Parents”, Catholic parents of a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender daughter or son who have graciously volunteered to listen to and share their personal experience with other parents.
— Web site: Fortunate Families, Inc.



Books

The following are reading materials that we have found helpful. One or two may include mention of ideas that are not strictly in line with Church teaching. Rather than edit out those selections, we trust readers to consider those readings for their helpful aspects, balancing them with Church teaching. As an organization, we do not endorse ideas that are outside of Church teaching.

A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends

In a clear and readable style, leading Christian ethicist David P. Gushee explores the many social and political changes that are causing Christian anxiety, offering ways to understand and act on these issues that are grounded in the reign of God rather than in human fear.

Building Bridges: Gay and Lesbian Reality and the Catholic Church

Explores the history of the church’s stance on homosexuality and examines new approaches to pastoral care. An objective and sensitive exploration into the situation of gays and lesbians in the Catholic church today.

Changing Our Mind: A call from America’s leading evangelical ethics scholar for full acceptance of LGBT Christians in the Church

In Changing Our Mind, Gushee takes the reader along his personal and theological journey as he changes his mind about gay. lesbian. bisexual and transgender inclusion in the Church.

Fortunate Families: Catholic families with lesbian daughters and gay sons

Examines the experience of parents who love their gay children and their church. Through stories, readers will learn how these parents get beyond conflicting feelings and work to make their church more welcoming. Fortunate Families tells the stories of parents who often believe they must choose between their gay child and their church. More importantly, it shows that—in reality— this is not the case.

Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. Brown’s unique ability to blend original research with honest storytelling makes reading The Gifts of Imperfection like having a long, uplifting conversation with a very wise friend who offers compassion, wisdom, and great advice.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

“Matthew Vines lives at an intersection of identities: a committed, theologically conservative Christian who also happens to be an out gay man. In offering both a scholarly and profoundly personal reconciliation of a duality often depicted as hopelessly at odds, he performs a public service that is valiant, hopeful and long overdue. He points the way forward for all those still stranded at the intersection.” —Leonard Pitts, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist

Her Name in the Sky

Seventeen-year-old Hannah wants to spend her senior year of high school going to football games and parties. She wants to spend every night making memories with her tight-knit group of friends. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a girl—especially when that girl is her best friend, Baker. In this poignant coming-of-age novel Hannah must find a compromise between the truth of her heart and the expectations of her community.

What the Bible Really says about Homosexuality

Does God’s word in the Bible really condemn homosexuality? Top scholars show that those who perceive Bible passages as condemning homosexuality are being misled by faulty translation and poor interpretation. The Bible has been used to justify slavery, inquisitions, apartheid and the subjugation of women. Now, in this book which has sold over 100 thousand copies, read what the Bible really says about homosexuality.



Other Sources

Family Acceptance Project

Website and pamphlet.
Especially good reading for parents of LGBT teens and pre-teens.
It contains good information about the effects of supportive/unsupportive families and how to be supportive to your children.

“Mom, Dad, I'm Gay”

The story of one family’s experience.
Sidebar also includes many Links relevant to Catholic parents of LBGT children.