Pope Francis has again encouraged the ministry of James Martin, S.J., to LGBTQI+ persons, and with words that could also encourage others in this work. He did so on the eve of the Outreach 2021 LGBTQ Catholic ministry conference that took place by webinar this Saturday, June 26, of which the Jesuit priest was the main organiser.
Some weeks ago, Father Martin, an editor at large at America Media, had informed the Pope about the conference in a private mail and explained its purpose and then received a handwritten personal letter in Spanish from Francis, dated June 21, expressing his encouragement and support for this work.
As is well known, Francis tends to make personal phone calls to people, but what is less well known is his habit of sending personal, handwritten messages to people—usually in Spanish, and often in response to letters they sent him. Though he sometimes explicitly asks for the letter to remain confidential, he usually lets it up to the recipient to decide whether to make its contents known or not. Father Martin, after consulting with persons who know the Pope, decided he could reveal its contents.
Francis is well informed of the work Father Martin is doing. He has sought to encourage him in this ministry and for this reason, in a significant public gesture of encouragement and support, he received him in a private audience in the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on September 30, 2019.
To continue reading this article and to read the Pope’s letter in full, click here.
Gerard O’Connell is America’s Vatican correspondent.
With thanks to America and Gerard O’Connell, where this article originally appeared.