Jeannine Gramick, a Roman Catholic nun, was banned from ministry by the Vatican in 1999 for running workshops for LGBT Catholics while questioning the Catholic Church’s official teaching on homosexuality. Gramick had been teaching pro-LGBTQ propaganda since the 1970s.
In 1999, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith barred her from ministry, as she was promoting, in their words, “ambiguous positions on homosexuality and explicitly criticized documents of the Church’s Magisterium on this issue.”
The Congregation’s statement was written by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became pope then resigned. Ratzinger rightfully described homosexuality as an “intrinsic evil.”
However, in December, the current Pope Francis praised her for her ministry. In the hand-written letter, the pope writes:
And I am thinking of your 50 years of ministry, which were 50 years with this “style of God,” 50 years of closeness, of compassion and of tenderness.
You have not been afraid of “closeness,” and in getting close you did it “suffering with” [compassion] and without condemning anyone, but with the “tenderness” of a sister and a mother.
Thank you, Sister Jeannine, for all your closeness, compassion and tenderness.
Gramick told the Washington Post that she was “overjoyed” by the letter and that it feels like “a turning point in the church, because for so long, this ministry has been maligned and in the shadows.”
Francis is the first pope to take such a pro-LGBTQ stance in the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, the Catholic Church is not a true church, however, historically, it has taken conservative, biblical stances on social issues including sexuality and abortion. Last year, the pope endorsed a gay Catholic ministry in another hand-written letter to James Martin.