David Gibson, Religion News Service 12:56 p.m. ET April 7, 2017
The Vatican’s point man on family issues and a U.S. cardinal who is close to Pope Francis have both written blurbs for a new book by a Jesuit priest and popular author that calls on the Catholic Church to be more respectful and compassionate toward gay people.
They called it “brave, prophetic, and inspiring” and a “much-needed book.”
Such positive language from such senior church leaders is extraordinary and another sign of how Francis is reorienting the church toward a more pastoral focus.
Building Bridges: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, by Rev. James Martin of America magazine, does not advocate for any changes in doctrine nor does it touch third-rail topics like same-sex marriage; nor do the churchmen who praise the book, to be published by HarperOne on June 13.
But simply using terms like LGBT to describe people is highly controversial for many in the church who insist that gay people be described as “homosexual” or “same-sex attracted” rather than by words that seem to affirm their orientation.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was recently chosen by Francis to head the Vatican office on laity, family, and life issues, praises Martin’s writing in his blurb: “A welcome and much-needed book that will help bishops, priests, pastoral associates, and all church leaders more compassionately minister to the LGBT community.