Our constitution describes our purpose as “to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
In concrete terms, we aim to:
- Bring good news to LGBT Catholics
- Deliver pastoral support for LGBT Catholics
- Provide resources for LGBT Catholics
- Practise advocacy for LGBT Catholics
To which we could add, as a recent addition to our activities
- Work towards safer schools for LGBT Catholics
Bringing Good News/ Proclaiming the Gospel
The word “Gospel” is derived from “Good News”. Pope Francis’ first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), emphasised this aspect of the Gospel message, and insisted that evangelization and proclaiming the Gospel is a task for all Catholics, not just for ordained clergy. In taking on this task in accordance with our own constitution, we are, in effect, bringing good news to LGBT Catholics – and carrying out Pope Francis’ instruction (and have been doing so, since well before he issued it).
Specifically in terms of sexuality and gender, we seek to reassure our people that it is indeed possible to reconcile their sexual orientation or gender identity with their Catholic faith – and show them how this can be done.
We do this by a range of means. Our simple existence provides a simple counterexample to the claim that one cannot be both Catholic and gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender). One can, and we are. The overwhelming majority of our members identify as both Catholic, and openly lgbt. Many of these are also fully active, practising Catholics, out and proud in their local parishes, where they make valued contributions to parish life.
The idea that “gay Catholic” is an oxymoron, that it is impossible to be both a practising Catholic and lgbt, rests on a partial, inaccurate and incomplete reading of what Church teaching actually says. Quest aims to counter this by promoting a more complete and balanced understanding of Church teaching, by drawing attention to where matters of sexuality and sexual ethics fit in the broader context of the Gospels and Catholic teaching as a whole, and to the many neglected but supportive elements that also exist.
Delivering pastoral support.
Proclaiming Good News to LGBT Catholics is itself a form of pastoral support, for those who have been accustomed to hearing allegations that an affectional orientation to the same sex, or a non-conformist gender identity are somehow pathological, disordered, unnatural or sinful, and who in consequence have found themselves or believed themselves to be rejected by the Church.
Specifically, this pastoral support is made concrete in a number of ways, at both national and regional level.
The support we offer is to our own members in the United Kingdom, but is also available to others, here and worldwide, through the resources we provide on our website, in our publications, and at our conferences and retreats.
Advocacy on behalf of LGBT Catholics
We practise “establishing and extending a dialogue between homosexual Catholics and members of the clergy” by writing to and meeting with bishops, other diocesan officers, parish priests and religious orders, and lay groups, reminding them that relevant Catholic teaching is far more extensive, and more complex, than the simplistic “don’t do it” which is the popular understanding of the doctrine.
Working towards safer schools for LGBT Catholics.
One of the important Catholic groups we are working with as part of our advocacy, is all those involved with our Catholic schools.
The Catholic Catechism insists that lesbian and gay people should be protected from unjust discrimination, and from any form of violence or malice, in speech or in action. All schools have a similar obligation in law to protect LGBT children. By working with Catholic schools, parent groups and church safeguarding teams as well as with the children themselves, Quest is doing more than just providing theoretical advocacy – we are also contributing directly to safeguarding young LGBT Catholics, by protecting them from bullying and violence, in speech or in action.