Have any Orthodox ever approached you for pastoral care on this issue?
Have they shared their experiences in the Orthodox Church with you? You might be surprised to learn that this ministry to LGBT people—or rather this more public ministry—is new for me.
In the book, I highlight two important instances from the Gospels—Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus in Luke and his encounter with the Roman centurion in Matthew and Luke.
In both passages Jesus is encountering people who were considered “out of bounds.” In the case of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector and therefore chief sinner in Jericho, Jesus offers to come to the man’s house, a public sign of welcome.
By the same token, most LGBT people feel that same-sex relations are part and parcel of their lives.
Moreover, I acknowledge the deep pain that the LGBT community has often felt at the hands of some church leaders.
Not only because it’s the Christian thing to do; it’s also good strategy for dialogue.
GIACOMO: In your book you mention the need for repentance several times with respect to how the church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics relate to each other.
Recently, a woman wrote to ask if I knew a “compassionate priest” in her city. Because she was working in a hospice and the local priest refused to anoint a man who was dying—because he was gay. Instead, they should be made to feel like who they are—beloved children of God.
This is the way that Jesus treated people, so it’s the way the church should treat people.