Charlotte bishop cancels church event on LGBT issues

Published: Apr. 23, 2015 at 2:33 AM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2015 at 2:33 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (Adam Bell/The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte Catholic Bishop Peter Jugis has ordered the cancellation of an event at an uptown church that was to have featured a talk by Sister Jeannine Gramick, a nun who ministers to the LGBT community.

Gramick had been scheduled to speak May 16 at St. Peter Catholic Church on South Tryon Street. The event sponsored by PFLAG Charlotte was called "Including LGBTQ People and Their Families in Faith Communities."

PFLAG Charlotte is part of the national nonprofit, PFLAG, or Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Gramick is the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, which describes itself as a gay-positive ministry that advocates for justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and for reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.

Diocese spokesman David Hains said the Vatican has previously determined that Gramick and New Ways Ministry oppose church teaching. That teaching says that homosexual acts are sinful.

"We are not going to have someone who opposes Catholic teaching to be teaching in a Catholic diocese," Hains said. He said the bishop was made aware of the pending speech when St. Peter sent out an email about it. Jugis canceled the event earlier this week.

Hains said this was the first time in his dozen years with the diocese that he could recall New Ways trying to teach at a church in the diocese.

In statements on a blog, New Ways and PFLAG Charlotte expressed disappointment with the bishop's actions.

"(Gramick's) message of inclusion and acceptance has been well received by LGBT Catholics, the Catholic church and its hierarchy for decades," stated PFLAG Charlotte President Diane Troy, who is Catholic. "It's unfortunate that the bishop, as our spiritual shepherd, has chosen to turn his back on so many."

New Ways and PFLAG Charlotte said the event will be rescheduled, but a new location has not been announced yet.