Controversial LGBT event drops 'Catholic' label after bishop's statement

Archbishop Dennis M Schnurr of Cincinnati CNA file photo CNA 1 Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati. CNA file photo.

An event hosted by the University of Cincinnati on faith and the LGBT community has dropped 'Catholicism' from its label after the local bishop sent an email to all diocesan priests and deacons, reiterating that the event did not have diocesan approval.

The event was originally titled: "Building Bridges: A Dialogue on Faith, Catholicism, and the LGBTQ Community."

"To be very clear, despite its billing, the event is in no way sponsored by, sanctioned by, or associated with the Catholic Church," Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati told his priests in a March 9 email.

"In fact, one of the scheduled speakers has been ordered to not speak on behalf of the Catholic Church in the United States due to the grave error of her teaching," he noted.

That speaker is Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL, who co-founded New Ways Ministry, an LGBT outreach ministry that has been rejected as theologically unsound by Church authorities.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, after receiving numerous complaints, conducted an investigation into Gramick's teachings and work, and in 1999 found them to be "doctrinally unacceptable because they do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church in this area."  

The other speakers for the event include Fr. James Martin, SJ, author of the controversial book "Building A Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBTQ Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity," and Jamie Manson, a columnist and editor at the National Catholic Reporter.

The event, a day-long symposium "continuing interfaith dialogues examining the intersections of faith, gender, and sexuality," is being hosted by the University of Cincinnati's LGBTQ Center and God Space.

In his email, Archbishop Schnurr reiterated that the event had not received any approval from and was not associated with the Archdiocese or the Catholic Church at large.

"The Code of Canon Law (Can. 216) states in part that 'no undertaking shall assume the name Catholic unless the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority is given.' My permission was not sought in this case, nor would it have been given," he said. By Monday, the event dropped the label of "Catholicism" and is now labeled: "Building Bridges: A Dialogue on Faith and the LGBTQ Community."

Jennifer Schack, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told CNA that since the event is "not sanctioned by or associated with the Catholic Church, at this time we view this as a non-event."

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