March 16, 2015 at 11:59 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
LGBT Catholics invited to grade Pope Francis

Catholic, gay news, Washington Blade

Pope Francis (Photo by Jeon Han; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The LGBT supportive group New Ways Ministry is conducting an online poll asking people who follow its social media outlets to complete a report card on how Pope Francis is responding to LGBT issues.

The non-scientific poll was launched March 13 and will continue through Friday, according to New Ways Ministry Executive Director Francis DeBernardo.

As of Sunday night, 28.94 percent of those completing the poll gave Francis a grade of “C,” saying they agree with this statement: “He’s done some good things, but he has also done some band things.”

Following close behind were 28.21 percent of the respondents who gave Francis a grade of “B,” saying they agree he has “done some great things and is on the right track.”

Coming in third place were 17.22 percent of the respondents who gave Francis a grade of “A,” saying they agree with this statement: “He has done more than any other previous pope” on LGBT related issues.

Next in the lineup were 13.19 percent of the respondents who gave Francis a “D,” agreeing with the statement that he “hasn’t really moved the issue ahead at all; 7.33 percent gave him a grade of “incomplete,” agreeing with the statement that “he hasn’t done enough for me to be able to grade him; and 3.3 percent checked a box saying “other.”

Just 1.81 percent of the poll’s respondents gave Francis an “F” grade, saying they agree with the statement, “He has made things worse than they were before.”

The New Ways Ministry website on which the poll results are shown doesn’t disclose the number of people who completed the poll.

DeBernardo is calling on LGBT Catholics and their supporters to take part in the poll before it’s taken down on Friday and is urging those who take it to forward it to others they think would be interested grading the pope.

“It is being distributed through New Ways Ministry’s social media outlets, and whoever they share it with,” DeBernardo told the Washington Blade in an e-mail. “It will probably be ‘skewed’ to reflect the opinions of Catholics who are greatly interested in LGBT issues (and LGBT folks interested in Catholic issues, to a lesser extent), not the general Catholic or LGBT populations, and definitely not the general public,” he said.

New Ways Ministry describes itself on its website as a “gay positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.”

The poll asking people to grade Francis can be reached at https://newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/10837/

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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