A “Catholic” LGBT advocacy group, Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC), supported by American Jesuit priest James Martin, S.J., has been denied an exhibition space at the World Meeting of Families (WMF) in Dublin. In 2017, for the GNRC “Second Assembly” held in Munich, Germany, Martin recorded a greeting for the group. During their “Assembly,” GNRC celebrated a “Eucharistic liturgy” at the historic Bürgersaalkirche Church. In his address to GNRC, Martin stated that Pope Francis has “helped” the LGBT community; as an example, Martin said: “He has done things like appoint LGBT-friendly Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops.” He ended his slightly over two minute presentation with: “I salute you and your work.” Although the group which Martin supports was denied permission to publicly participate, Martin himself with discuss LGBT issues at the same WMF.
The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics is an international coalition of pro-LGBT Catholic groups which aspire to change Church doctrine with regards to homosexual activity and same-sex marriage. According to the GNRC “Mission, Values and Objectives:”
Our faith calls us to challenge all discriminatory structures and to advance the equality of LGBTI persons. Civil and church law should value and protect their human rights, not diminish or deny them. Any law or practice which oppresses, restricts, punishes or harms LGBTI persons is contrary to the Gospel…We affirm the goodness and holiness of sexuality as a gift from God to help us become closer to our beloved, to the divine, and to ourselves. We recognize that sexuality touches the most vulnerable parts of our identity and needs to be expressed in ways that are generously loving and compassionate.
One of the co-chairs of GNRC, and a featured speaker at their Assembly in Munich, is German theologian Michael Brinkschroeder. In a 2017 interview, he said this about current teachings concerning homosexuality and the Church:
Sadly, the official statement is still: “Homosexual acts are a sin.” However, we are in a period of transformation. While the papacy of Benedict XVI can truly be described as an ice age for the cause of lesbians and gays within the church, we see the current developments under Pope Frances as a thaw. This means that there are signs that hint at a change. However, there have been no specific acts or statements that would help gays and lesbians practically in their everyday lives.
The fact that Germany has introduced equal marriage for gays and lesbians will hopefully lead to a change in positions within the church as well.
Asked about his vision of the Catholic Church in 20 years, he said:
My vision for 2037? That the marriage of two women or two men has not only become a holy sacrament, but that it is possible to get the church’s blessing for same-sex marriages. I hope the Catholic Church of the future openly supports and helps lesbians and gays who are seen as a normal part of religious life in many parishes worldwide. That might sound utopian to some, but this is already the case in some countries today.
Brinkschröder is one of the organizers in the George Soros funded pro-gay activist group “Homosexuelle und Kirche.” The stated “goals” of the group include:
..the systematic commitment to equality and recognition of LGBT persons within Catholic institutions. Specifically, this means talking to bishops, Catholic associations and Catholic relief organizations to explore and demand the respective opportunities for more equality…Topics will be according to the current considerations: Partnership blessing, Transgender and transsexuals, establishment of full-time pastoral structures in dioceses and support for human rights projects for LGBTs in Southern and Eastern Europe by aid agencies.
In 2016, “Homosexuelle und Kirche” participated in the influential biannual “Catholic Conference Day” which included several prominent German bishops including Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich.
Also in attendance at the GNRC Assembly were members of Dignity, including Marianne Duddy-Burke who serves as Executive Director of DignityUSA.
Following the 2015 Obergefell decision, Dignity released the following statement:
DignityUSA, the organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, cheered today’s Supreme Court’s sweeping decision that strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, and makes marriage equality the law of the land throughout the U.S.
In 2015, Duddy-Burke said:
DignityUSA stands for full inclusion and equality of LGBT people in the Catholic Church. We can’t be fully equal if we are barred from any of our Church’s sacraments. Right now, we are officially banned from marriage and ordination, and often denied other sacraments, as well…We know that it is going to take a lot of work, and probably many years, to achieve this goal. But having gained civil marriage equality in the US, we know that the miraculous is possible. We believe that rethinking how sacraments are administered will be good for everyone in the Catholic Church, because it will help us to live our belief in the intrinsic dignity and equality of every person as created and loved by God. This broadened understanding of the sacraments would apply not just to LGBT people, but to everyone, including women and married men and women seeking ordination, for example.
In 2016, concerning the ordination of women, Duddy-Burke said:
Catholics all over the world are strongly in favor of opening ordination to women as well as men. DignityUSA has long called for all the sacraments, including ordination, to be open to all Catholics, regardless of marital status, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
The Deputy Secretary for GNRC is Francis DeBernardo from New Ways Ministry. In 1999, the co-founders of New Ways Ministry were officially silenced by the Vatican. DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, after same-sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court in 2015, stated:
New Ways Ministry rejoices with millions of U.S. Catholics that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided in favor of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples! On this historic day, we pray in thanksgiving that justice and mercy have prevailed and that the prayers and efforts of so many have combined to move our nation one step closer to fairness and equality for all.
Despite an official 2010 clarification from the USCCB concerning that status of New Ways Ministry, several influential Catholic priests and prelates, including James Martin, S.J., Bryan Massingale, and Bishop John Stowe, OFM, have attended New Ways Ministry events and spoken favorably of the group.