Last month Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark welcomed a pilgrimage of self-identified LGBT pilgrims, with an archdiocesan spokesman saying it should be seen in the context of welcoming everyone, not as archdiocese sponsorship of the event.
“I think that the central point that is missing from the majority of the media coverage and blog postings about this pilgrimage is that the cardinal was asked whether he might welcome a group of pilgrims who identify as LGBT. He said yes, we welcome all in the name of Christ,” James Goodness, communications director for the Archdiocese of Newark, told CNA.
“This was not an event sponsored by the archdiocese, and we did not promote or advertise it,” Goodness said. “It was a purely private event.”
Some news coverage of the pilgrimage depicted it as a shift within the Church.
Cardinal Tobin did not concelebrate Mass or preach at the pilgrimage, which Goodness described as a private event.
“He simply offered a word of welcome as he would do for other groups of pilgrims,” the spokesman said. “It is important to note that the cardinal feels very strongly that welcoming people is a first step in any relationship, and that, as Pope Francis says, we have to meet people and minister to them where they are.”
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