Roman Catholic Church uses the term “LGBT” for first time

The Roman Catholic Church, which has long had a combative and fraught relationship with the LGBT+ community, used the term “LGBT” for the first time in an official Vatican document, and invited a gay-friendly priest to speak at a major conference.

The church referred to “LGBT youth” in a discussion guide for the Synod on Youth, a bishops’ meeting to be held in November. An article in the National Catholic Reporter quotes the document as stating that some such youth wish to “’benefit from greater closeness’ and experience greater care from the Church.”

This shift in the church’s discourse surrounding the LGBT+ community is a sign of progress, but as Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New York Ways Ministry argues in an interview with The Advocate, “It must be noted that there is nothing in the new document which indicates that the Vatican is, as yet, willing to entertain changes in church policy on LGBT issues”.

“The proof of the Vatican’s openness to LGBT issues will be how these topics are addressed at the Synod itself: Will LGBT youths be represented as speakers to the assembly? Will voices expressing dissent on LGBT issues be allowed by speakers who address the bishops? If the Vatican does not enact such changes at the upcoming synod, the language of the [document] will go down in history as lip-service — which youth are keenly adept at recognizing,” added DeBernardo.

In another act of openness towards the LGBT+ community, the Vatican invited Rev. James Martin, an advocate for church outreach to LGBT+ people, to speak at its World Meeting of Families in August.

Read more at The Advocate