(Above: This graphic accompanied the registration material for the Quest Conference – it apparently depicts the hand of a boy, next to a rainbow flag, walking over a rainbow-colored bridge made of children’s blocks, towards the large hand of a man, next the the flag of the Vatican.)
From August 10-12, 2018, Quest, a pastoral support group for LGBT Catholics hosted a “conference” at Robert Grosseteste University in Lincoln, England. The featured speakers included Jesuit priest James Martin, self-outed gay priest James Alison, and Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton. In 2012, Quest came out publicly in support of same-sex marriage in the UK:
If, as we believe, all love and fidelity between human beings has its ultimate grounding in God, then Quest sees no inherent reason why the dedication of two human beings, committed in a public act of self-giving and devotion, should not take place in an explicitly religious setting. Indeed, for people of faith, not to include that element in an act of public devotion would be to exclude an essential dimension, the dimension of faith.
Concerning the so-called “clobber texts” in the Bible which forbid homosexual activity, Quest maintains:
Progressive religionists must stop using the word “abomination” to refer to toevah. The word plays into the hands of fundamentalists on the one hand, and anti-religious zealots on the other, both of whom want to depict the Bible as virulently and centrally concerned with the “unnatural” acts of gays and lesbians. In fact, toevah is mostly about idolatry, and male homosexual behavior is only as abominable as remarriage or not keeping kosher. Whenever we use the word “abomination” we are perpetuating the misunderstanding of Biblical text and the religious persecution of LGBT people…I like “taboo” as a replacement. It conveys the culturally relative nature of toevah, has some connotation of foreignness, and rightly aligns the taboo against homosexuality with taboos against, for example, eating unkosher food. It also has a vaguely archaic feel, which it should.
Concerning same-sex relationships, Quest recommends that:
When one is dealing with people who are so predominately homosexual that they will be in serious personal and perhaps social trouble unless they attain a steady partnership within their homosexual lives, one can recommend them to seek such a partnership and one accepts this relationship as the best they can do in their present situation.
According to Quest: “People of all ages are welcome to join Quest and, whenever possible, a Young Person’s Officer serves on the national committee with the specific task of organising events for younger members.”
Part of the work of Quest includes supporting LGBT students in Catholic schools. Quest recommends an extensive set of curriculum proposed by the LGBT-affirmative “Stonewall Education Conference” which includes the use of the “Genderbread” person. The Genderbread graphic was also recommended to Catholic educators at the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress; Martin was a featured speaker at the 2018 Congress.