Respect the LGBT community


To the Editor:

Fifty parishioners and several clergy met at St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville to discuss the Father James Martin, SJ, book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity.”

Father Chuck Adam, the pastor introduced the group discussion led by parishioner Mary Lu Callahan. Discussion centered on how we can improve our outreach to the LGBT community, creating what Father Martin describes as the “culture of encounter” that Pope Francis frequently espouses.

The discussion began with an introduction to the book that is structured around the words in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which say of homosexual persons: “They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”


We then discussed how to address those points: Respect — how should we show respect for the LGBT com­mu­nity? Compassion — how do we listen to LGBT Catholics and their families? Sensitivity — encounter and accompaniment — what should that mean?  We discussed these and other questions as group members contributed their perspectives and experiences. The lively discussion made clear the need to create a welcoming environment for LGBT Catholics in our faith and in the parish.

The meeting ended with a reading of Psalm 139: “You are Wonderfully Made,” as well as a request from participants for another discussion group in the future to discuss how to move forward, into action.

Evelyn Weirich
Iowa City area

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