‘New Ways’? No Way
By Marco Casanova
Editor’s Note: TOB is the abbreviation for Pope St. John Paul II’s book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” Pauline Press
I just got off the phone with my girlfriend. It was an important conversation. Weighty. Profound. I decided to share more of my story involving homosexual sin with her. She knew the main details, but I felt led to leave no stone unturned. This lovely woman gave me love where I am least lovely. Moments like this change a man. It’s the echo of Eden, the Imago Dei in all of us seeking to break from solitude into communion. Jesus made a way.
And then there’s New Ways Ministries, a pro-LGBTQ+ ‘Catholic’ apostolate since 1972 that advocates a different way: ‘”Gay” is who you are! Don’t let those Catholic bigots oppress you with their Edenic myths!’ Where would I be if I had settled for a ministry like New Ways?
New Ways Co-founder Sr. Jeanine Gramick would have helped me to reconcile with my ‘gay’ self, not seek redemption for the confusion and sin in my life. ‘New Ways’ would have meant no way, no future or hope for this bad boy—just the closed horizon of a disordered life.
More challenging still is Pope Francis’ apparent support of New Ways. The Washington Post recently reported that Pope Francis handwrote a letter to Sr. Jeannine, commending her ’50 years of closeness and compassion, and tenderness’ in ‘the style of God.’
Huh. ‘God’s style?’ No way, New Ways! No trace there of the mercy that invites and enables sinners to repent unto new life, to ‘rediscover our lost fullness’ (TOB 43:7).
In advocating for New Ways, Pope Francis divides the unity between Christian mercy and fidelity to the truth. And he backhands Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) who in 1999 sent Sr. Gramick a weighty correction to New Ways’ ‘promotion of errors and ambiguities’ that are ‘inconsistent with a Christian attitude of true respect and compassion: persons who are struggling with homosexuality no less than any others have the right to receive the authentic teaching of the Church from those who minister to them.’
The Church ought to champion radical redemptive change, not fake mercy. Dividing mercy from fidelity imprisons strugglers like me in sexual confusion.
Still, Sr. Gramick persists. She works hard to redefine the Christian view of humanity and so blunt Jesus’ power to reorder us according to Eden’s call. She just told the Washington Post, 'What would I say to LGBT Catholics is, "Hold on, it will change,…We have to make our views known so that the officials of the church can properly express that change."'
Maybe we need to change, Sister. We’ve become worldly. My generation spits in the face of the Incarnation as we demand the Church to acclimatize to a fake view of humanity and mercy. We charge the Church with hurting us when she in fact is our healing.
I love the Church. That’s where I’ve found my healing. Redeemer Jesus meets every divided, sin-weary person and recomposes him or her according to His image, not the LGBTQ+ variety that seems right to us. Believe me. I’ve lived the lie and now I live for Him. And He is helping me to love according to His Word (Mt. 19:4-6). New Ways? No way, Pope Francis. Please amplify the good news of creation and redemption Jesus entrusted to you.