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Bishop Gene Robinson’s open letter to Pope Francis

Bishop Gene Robinson’s open letter to Pope Francis

Retired Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, is one of the White House papal visit guests over whom the Vatican has expressed concern. Bishop Robinson responded by writing an open letter to the Pope, which can be read in its entirety at The Daily Beast.

There has been a bit of a kerfuffle in the last 24 hours due to reports that a senior Vatican official is offended, on your behalf, by my invitation to the White House on Wednesday to welcome you to America. Sister Simone Campbell, one of the nuns working day in and day out on behalf of the poor, is lumped in with me as a purported offense to you.

Based on your saintly ministry so far as Pope, I have to suspect that this report does not represent your own views (if this has even been brought to your attention), but rather the views of those who would try to “protect” you from the world. It would seem that I hold a higher view of you than some of your handlers who may have forgotten that you have demonstrated quite regularly not only your knowledge of the real world, but also a compassion for it. Not to mention that the good nun and I will be somewhere in the middle of a throng of 10,000+ Americans joining together to welcome you and wish you well.

Robinson calls himself “a laborer in another part of the vineyard,” emphasizing the points of ministry and theology he and Pope Francis both share:

Our churches disagree on those whom we are willing to ordain, their gender and their sexual orientation. Still, that does not keep me from striving to love and serve those entrusted to me, and to pray for you as you strive to love and serve those entrusted to you. We both care passionately about the poor, and we share the notion that unfettered capitalism creates and perpetuates poverty, treating the less fortunate as goods to be used up and discarded.



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Robert Recio

The ministry of Christ’s church should be to all the children of God. Gene is absolutely right to call out Pope Francis on the still existing sexism and homophobia in the RC church. While we, as Episcopalians, are still struggling to resolve past historical errors, we are light-years ahead of Rome on this issue and we are a far better church as a result.

Leslie Marshall

Will Robinson & the Pope talk about Jesus?

Kenneth Knapp

My understanding is that Gene Robinson is as big a publicity hound as Pope Francis. It would appear to me that they are birds of a feather. I wish them both well but I think our politicians should ignore everyone who reads their politics into the Bible regardless of whether they are RC or Episcopalians.

JC Fisher

“everyone who reads their politics into the Bible”

You’re so nice, Kenneth, I’m sure you would never, ever do that…

Carolyn Peet

I thought snarky drive-by comments were not allowed under this site’s protocol?

Leslie Summers


What exactly do you think the Pope’s staff needs to explain?

Jeremy Bates

Have you read the WSJ article?

Jeremy Bates

The letter is, among other things, a useful factual clarification.

I had thought that Bishop Gene might be on the guest list for a state dinner (which usually involves around 200 people).

According to Bishop Gene, he has been invited to a South Lawn welcoming ceremony, nothing more.

In my opinion, the Pope’s staff has some explaining to do.

David Allen

Our coverage has always been that +Gene was invited to the Welcoming Ceremony and that it is that invitation list about which the Vatican objected.

Vatican pushes back on White House guest list

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