Kentucky Bishop Insists on Speaking at Pro-LGBT Symposium

by Christine Niles  •  •  April 26, 2017   

Bp. John Stowe will participate in the conference hosted by condemned New Ways Ministry

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CHICAGO ( - In spite of Church Militant's reports last year highlighting the scandal caused by a Kentucky bishop's participation at an upcoming pro-LGBT symposium, Bp. John Stowe is going forward with the invitation.

In December, Church Militant reported that Stowe, head of the Lexington diocese, would be speaking at a pro-gay event in Chicago hosted by dissident New Ways Ministry, a Church-condemned activist group run by a censured nun. Stowe immediately took to the airwaves, denouncing Church Militant as "self-appointed watchdogs of orthodoxy" akin to "the pharisees and the scribes that Jesus is frequently arguing with in the gospel who are quick to point their fingers at others and quick to lay burdens on them without themselves offering a finger to lift their load."

Stowe denounced Church Militant as 'self-appointed watchdogs of orthodoxy' akin to 'the pharisees and the scribes.'

New Ways is hosting its eighth annual symposium, titled "Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis," held April 28–30 in Chicago.

On the radio program, Stowe explicitly acknowledged the dissident history of New Ways, admitting it's a "controversial ministry," but rationalized his public association by holding up Pope Francis' more "pastoral" example.

"[It] would be irresponsible not to accept an invitation," Stowe claimed on the radio show. "I think Pope Francis has signaled that we need to take another look at those things" — in spite of the fact that the Holy Father has flatly rejected the possibility of same-sex "marriage."

"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family," Pope Francis wrote in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia — a passage often ignored by liberal bishops wishing to promote a different agenda under the cover of "mercy" and "accompaniment."

Stunningly, Stowe refused to answer the question posed by the radio host whether the Church might one day declare gay sex morally licit.

"I don't want to go that far," he said. "I don't know if that would ever be the outcome of it."

The bishop used the opportunity to criticize the language of the Church in describing homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered."

"I think it's fair to say that the language is not helpful," he remarked. "We live in an age of sound bites, and to hear just that phrase is tantamount to hearing an outright rejection."

"That can't be the message of the gospel," he insisted. "That was not Jesus' approach."

He then put forth the possibility that Church doctrine could change with regard to homosexuality, bringing up the example of Her evolving teaching on usury and slavery.

New Ways Ministry has a long history of defiance toward the Church.
New Ways Ministry has a long history of defiance toward the Church:
  • Cdl. James Hickey of Washington, D.C. kicked out the organization from his archdiocese in 1984 for refusing to comply with Church teaching
  • The Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life ordered founders Sr. Jeanine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent to "separate themselves totally and completely from New Ways Ministry," forbidding them from exercising "any apostolate without faithfully presenting the Church's teaching regarding the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts" — an order Gramick and Nugent defied
  • In 1988, the Holy See established a commission under Detroit's Cdl. Adam Maida to investigate New Ways Ministry, which recommended disciplinary measures for Gramick and Nugent for their defiance of Church teaching
  • The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took over the investigation in 1995, issuing a declaration that the teachings presented by New Ways Ministry were "erroneous and dangerous"
  • The CDF issued a formal declaration in 1999, approved by Pope St. John Paul II, that the founders' positions on homosexuality "are doctrinally unacceptable because they do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church in this area"
  • The CDF concluded: "For these reasons, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS, are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons and are ineligible, for an undetermined period, for any office in their respective religious institutes"
This censure has never been lifted, and both Gramick and Nugent continued in their defiance.
To date, the only official Church-approved ministry to those struggling with same-sex attraction is Courage, which teaches — in line with the Catechism — that same-sex acts are gravely sinful and that same-sex orientiation is disordered, and that the path to true freedom and dignity is the path of chastity, in accord with the teachings of Christ.
Contact Bp. John Stowe here.
Contact the Papal Nuncio:


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