The Vatican has issued an apology for removing a link to a Catholic LGBT advocacy group’s video from the website of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops.
The Maryland-based New Ways Ministry had a reference to its webinar video removed from the “resources” page on the synod website earlier this month.
The video urged LGBT Catholics to be involved in a consultation process aimed at making the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming in general, but it was deleted earlier this month without explanation.
Synod spokesperson Thierry Bonaventura issued an apology for the removal, and the New Ways webinar reference was reposted to the website.
“In walking together, sometimes one may fall, the important thing is to get back up with the help of the brothers and sisters,” stated Bonaventura, as reported by the Associated Press on Monday.
New Ways Ministry Executive Director Francis DeBernardo released a statement in response, saying that he “warmly accepts the apology” and thanked the Synod of Bishops for “recognizing the harm that such a slight would have caused LGBTQ people and the entire church.”
“We appreciate that apologies are never easy to make. New Ways Ministry had not requested one, making this gesture all the more authentic,” stated DeBernardo.
“This unprecedented apology from a Vatican office corrects the earlier mistake and amplifies, even louder, the welcome that Pope Francis has extended to LGBTQ people. God indeed works in mysterious ways, turning what could have been great harm into an instrument of greater connection.”
In October, Pope Francis officially launched a two-year global consultation process for the Catholic Church, which will culminate in a synod on synodality in 2023.
At a mass held in St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 10, the pontiff encouraged those gathered to “look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say,” believing that Catholics should “become experts in the art of encounter.”
“Not so much by organizing events or theorizing about problems, as in taking time to encounter the Lord and one another,” said Pope Francis, as reported by the Catholic News Agency.
“Time to devote to prayer and adoration — this prayer that we neglect so much: to adore, to make room for adoration — listening to what the Spirit wants to say to the Church.”
The Vatican made headlines earlier this year when its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a statement saying that churches have no power to bless same-sex marriage since God “cannot bless sin.”