Atlanta Archbishop Approves of Vatican Change on LGBT/Divorced Catholics

The Most Rev. Wilton Daniel Gregory says he likes the Vatican’s change on gay and divorced Catholics.

According to The AJC, Gregory said in a statement:

“These men and women are the sons and daughters of the church, and yet in too many cases they have not felt welcomed or respected. Surely there are ways that we can adjust our religious language so that its frequently perceived severity will not drive away those who belong to Christ and His church. We have a pastoral obligation to reach out to all men and women in the same manner that Christ did so effectively even when they found themselves outside of the religious and cultural norms of His own times.”

Making the announcement more localized–If I recall correctly, this now means the leadership of every major Christian denomination in Atlanta has now either abandoned anti-gay policies within their ecclesiastical authority, or at least softened their stances. There are almost assuredly  some churches or groups in Atlanta that have not taken as welcoming of a pastoral stance. That said, it is pretty interesting to see the change in Atlanta’s faith leaders from, say, a decade ago. 

25 comments

  1. Robbie says:

    Let’s be very clear, though, that being “welcomed” in this case means “you can sit with us, and we’ll preach to you, but we still won’t allow you to marry the person we love, or take communion, or be treated like the straight folks in our congregations.”

    It’s a step forward, but, too many other Catholic leaders have walked back their supportive comments pretty explicitly.

    I hope I’m wrong on this and that this really does signal a change within the church, but I would be very surprised if that were the case.

    • Ellynn says:

      The base of Catholic dogma for the Sacrament of Marriage states the a man and a women have to be married by a ordained priest or deacon in a Catholic church building in front of an blessed alter.

      Based on that set of rules, any one who is not married by this dogma is equally a sinner if they engage in type of sex out side of the Sacrement of Marriage. That is never going to change. So that means the single straight people who had a one night stand, the Catholic women married 50 years in the Baptist church with 15 children, and even the married gay couple – are all equaly sinners in the eys of the church, and a priest can decides to not allow you communion because of it, although that is very rare and done manly by old guard priest that are pre- Vatican II or ordained in old-school beniditine semenaries in Europe.

    • joejohns says:

      The Bible clearly and unambiguously states that homosexuality is a sin, both in the familiar Old Testament texts and in the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27). Jesus, Himself, said that man is made for woman and that a man is to leave his mother and father (male and female) and is to cleave to his wife (Matthew 19:5).

      Moreover, just as unrepented thieves and drunkards cannot enter the kingdom of God, so too the Bible says that those who practice homosexuality cannot enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But the Love and the Good News of the gospel is that a person in homosexuality can be brought out of homosexuality by the power of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 9:11) if they confess their sin and seek the help of God.

      You are certainly free to disagree with the Bible. And you don’t even have to believe in the Bible. But don’t try and make the Bible fit your sin.

      And any church that is more concerned about satisfying the heart of man, rather than preaching the gospel to the homosexual cannot be said to be much of a church. It’s nothing more than a social club. Especially since the Bible tells us that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked and in need of salvation from sins (including homosexuality).

      All have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. So for any church to tell the homosexual that God can heal every other type sin, but theirs, is cruel and is untrue.

      • John Konop says:

        Joe,

        I am a 52 year old Jewish guy….I remember when kids were told not to hang with us because we killed Jesus…..Girls could not date us and or would not tell their parents via the above type thought process….I remember getting into fights because Jews were not suppose to play football….When I married a Texas woman west of Fort Worth….you could say it was a interesting wedding over 25 years ago…I still remember many of my relatives wanting to know what are grits….I am sure more Jews showed up in Granbury Texas that day in the history of the city…..But hey times have changed…you can even get a good Rueben sandwich in Granbury now….Like the above issue…times are changing…the gay issue will be a bad footnote in our history….like the above how Jews were treated when I grew up….

        I am 100% against affirmative action….but like MLK all people regardless of faith, race, gender, sexual orientation should have equal opportunity….

        I find people who judge the most, usually have the most to hide….By no means do I equate what I went through when I grew up as the same as the hateful spewing I see toward gay people. With that said I do try to walk in other peoples shoes….Think about it as a person of faith…

  2. Harry says:

    Homosexuals need to be welcomed in churches in the same manner as adulterers, alcoholics and drug abusers. It’s the old rule: Hate the sin, love the sinner.

  3. northside101 says:

    Gregory’s predecessor, the late John Donaghue, and then-Savannah Bishop Kevin Boland (Atlanta and Savannah are the two Catholic dioceses in Georgia), both endorsed the same-sex marriage ban in Georgia in 2004, which got nearly 2,5 million “yes” votes in the state, far more than the 1.9 million votes for then-President George W. Bush. Even if Gregory were “for” same-sex marriage, it really would not matter—decisions on faith and morals in the Catholic Church are made in Rome, not by individual bishops, or (unlike in the Episcopal Church) made at triennial national conventions or annual diocesan conventions. While various church disciplines or “small T” traditions may change from time to time (like meatless Fridays, women Eucharistic ministers and the like), big “T” traditions—like the Trinity, the Ascension of Christ into heaven, the Virgin Birth, and marriage being one man and woman—are not up for negotiation.

    Interestingly, denominations more associated with liberalism (such as on abortion and gay marriage) have lost many members over the last 40 years. The Episcopal Church has lost over 40% of its members since the mid 1960s, and it is common these days to see individual Episcopal parishes—and sometimes even dioceses (like the Diocese of South Carolina)—attempt to break away from the increasingly leftist beliefs and policies of the national church (and a very liberal presiding bishop). Presbyterians are going through the same thing—they are down to less than 1 percent of the nation’s total population. Methodists are divided between the more conservative Southern congregations and their increasingly northern and western “progressive” brethren. On the other hand, denominations that have held to more traditional Christian moral teachings—Catholics, Assembly of God, Southern Baptists—have grown during that time.

    • HueyMahl says:

      The nice thing about being a true believer is you don’t really have to examine your beliefs.

      Bravo to the churches taking progressives steps toward a more loving philosophy. Good to see them join the 21st century.

      As far as the conservative sects, haters gonna hate.

      • Harry says:

        The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – which incorporates Roman and Eastern – is a “sect”?

        • Ellynn says:

          I’m guessing Harry was raised in a parish with a Benedictine priest…, you know the conservitive sect of the religious institutes of Catholicism.

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