In July 1999, Fr Robert Nugent SDS was ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to stop his pastoral work at the New Ways Ministry in Maryland. For 20 years Fr Robert and his colleague Sr Jeannine Gramick ran retreats, workshops and support groups for gay Catholic people. They also worked with lay people, clergy and religious in the UK - in Westminster, Arundel and Brighton, and Liverpool dioceses. Fr Robert has been forbidden to discuss his work. The Executive Committee of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) of the United States issued the following statement this week: By our vow of obedience, we religious, publicly profess to the Church community that we will spend our lives in service to the Gospel mission entrusted by the Spirit to our religious congregations. Our religious commitment is sacramentalized, at any given point in history, by obedience to our congregation's mission. That obedience emerges from the understanding of its members of their community's founding charisms and the discernment and mediation of the congregation's leadership. We thank our brother, Robert Nugent, SDS, for the witness of his obedience recently expressed to the mission of the Society of the Divine Saviour (Salvatorians). We understand the sacrifice that that obedience has entailed. Conscious of the weighty responsibility of leadership, we hold in prayer the General Council of the Salvatorians who, in their present discernment of the Salvatorian mission, have called their brother to this obedience. We call upon the leadership of religious congregations in the United States to continue the dialogue with other Church leaders regarding implications for pastoral ministry and Church life that arise from the Notification issued in July 1999 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We religious have always been called to minister to persons at the margins of society and the margins of the Church itself. Our partnership in ministry with our brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian continues to call religious to creative and courageous pastoral ministry with them and on their behalf.
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