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US priest overseeing LGBTQ+ Catholic outreach to join prominent Vatican assembly

Pope Francis has selected Rev. James Martin, an American Jesuit known for his work in outreach ministry for LGBTQ+ Catholics, to participate in a significant Vatican gathering of bishops and laypeople scheduled later this year. Official Catholic doctrine regards any sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman as sinful. Earlier this year, Pope Francis denounced laws that criminalize homosexuality, stating that it is not a crime to be homosexual. Subsequently, Rev. James Martin, who shares the same Jesuit affiliation as Pope Francis, sought clarification from the Pope regarding the church’s stance on homosexuality in light of its teachings. In response, Pope Francis clarified that he should have emphasized that any sexual act outside the institution of marriage is considered a sin according to Catholic teaching.

Religion News Service reports:

ROME (AP) — An American Jesuit who runs outreach ministry for LGBTQ+ Catholics was tapped by Pope Francis on Friday to be among participants at a major Vatican gathering of bishops and laypeople later this year.

The Vatican unveiled the names of bishops, priests, nuns and laypersons who will take part in the weeks-long meeting that the pope has called for in October. Among those chosen is the Rev. James Martin, who has long been a prominent advocate of greater inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the Catholic church.

Official Catholic teaching considers any sexual act outside of marriage between a man and a woman sinful.

Ahead of the gathering, known as a synod, there was an unprecedented canvassing of Catholics worldwide, which found that the faithful want to see concrete steps to promote women to decision-making posts as well as a “radical inclusion” of the LGBTQ+ community in the Church.

After the pope, in an interview with The Associated Press in January, decried as “unjust” laws that criminalize homosexuality and declared that “being homosexual is not a crime,” Martin, who is a Jesuit like Francis, asked him for clarification, given the church’s teaching on the subject. Francis then clarified that he should have said that any sexual act outside marriage is a sin.

Throughout his 10-year-old papacy, Francis has upheld Catholic teaching on sexuality but has made outreach to LGBTQ+ people a priority.

Read the full article here.

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