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Kentucky bishop lauds New Ways Ministry, despite cautions from Vatican, US bishops

May 05, 2017

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, praised New Ways Ministry at the group’s annual conference in Chicago last week.

“New Ways Ministry made me want to come here,” the bishop said, extolling the group for its outreach to people who are “really struggling” with Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts.

The bishop’s appearance was a breakthrough for New Ways Ministry. The organization drew a caution from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999, and in 2011 the US bishops’ conference issued its own statement that New Ways Ministry should not be regarded as a Catholic organization, because of its dissent from Church teachings. Several bishops have refused to allow the organization’s leaders to speak at parishes in their dioceses.

In his remarks to the group, Bishop Stowe tackled the controversial question of whether Catholic institutions should remove openly homosexual employees. He replied in the negative, saying: “We risk contradicting ourselves if we want our employees to live by the church’s teaching and if we ourselves as an institution don’t live by our teaching, which has always opposed discrimination of any sort.”

Bishop Stowe, a Franciscan, was appointed to the Lexington see by Pope Francis in 2015.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 06, 2017 9:23 PM ET USA

    CDF's 1992 instruction, nn. 10-11: "'Sexual orientation' does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder...and evokes moral concern. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment."

  • Posted by: unum - May. 06, 2017 11:18 AM ET USA

    As a Franciscan, I have a clear understanding of St. Francis encounter with the leper and his teaching that we are called to love our brothers and sisters, no matter how their lifestyle and/or behavior repel us. I try to live my life according to that message. That said, Bishop Stowe's remarks to New Ways Ministry and to his diocese lack the clarity of Francis example. St. Francis neither rejected Church teaching nor approved of behavior contrary to the teaching of the Church.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - May. 05, 2017 10:24 PM ET USA

    Another Bishop who thinks bending the rules or no rules at all is ok. He is confusing his diocese. He is not showing mercy but heresy. You can love the person but not accept the sin and that takes a rule. If you don't remove them then your example may show you condone what they do. Stowe is all wet. His actions support the wrong doing. He should go back to the Catechism.

  • Posted by: ALC - May. 05, 2017 12:21 PM ET USA

    This is another example of bishops taking their cues from the Pope on showing mercy but also giving scandal because they can't differentiate between people who repent and want to come back to the right path and those who refuse to acknowledge their errors and want the Church to bend the rules for them. The Pope is famous for calling others rigid. This is an example of leaders who are confusing people by their wishy washy approach to doctrine.