Pope Francis chose an American Jesuit on Friday to attend a significant Vatican conference of bishops and laypeople later this year. The American Jesuit oversees an outreach ministry for LGBTQ Catholics.
The names of the bishops, priests, nuns, and laypeople who will attend the meeting that the pope has requested in October were made public by the Vatican.
The Rev. James Martin, who has long been a vocal supporter of wider LGBTQ inclusiveness in the Catholic church, is one of those chosen.
According to official Catholic doctrine, any sexual activity between a man and a woman that doesn’t involve marriage is immoral.
Prior to the meeting, known as a synod, there was an unprecedented survey of Catholics worldwide, and the results revealed that the faithful desire radical inclusion of the LGBTQ+ population in the Church as well as real actions to promote women to positions of decision-making.
US Priest Focused On LGBTQ+ Catholic Ministry
Martin, a Jesuit like Francis, asked the pope for clarification after he criticized laws that penalize homosexuality and said that being homosexual is not a crime in an interview with The Associated Press in January.
Martin raised the question because of the church’s stance on the matter. Francis went on to say that he should have stressed that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful.
The meeting, which takes place from October 4 until October 29, will allow women to cast ballots, as Pope Francis determined earlier this year.
This change reflected his broader goals of empowering women to make more important decisions and enabling laity to participate more actively in the life of the Catholic Church.
Sheila Leocádia Pires, a journalist with a background in Catholic media who was chosen as secretary of the commission for information during the synod, was one among many who thanked the pope for his focus on women’s responsibilities.