“A Small Step”: LGBTQ People in Los Angeles and Their Supporters See Progress in The Vatican’s Approval of Same-Sex Couples!


cybersecdn- “This is huge for the LGBTQ community,” said Richard Zaldivar, founder and executive director of the Wall Las Memorias Project in Los Angeles. The project helps Latinos and the LGBTQ+ community with their health. He said, “It’s about dignity and respect.” Zaldivar was also proud to be gay and Catholic.

When Zaldivar came out, he said he stopped going to Mass often because he didn’t know where he fit in the church. But he cared a lot about his religion. He now sits in the front row at the L.A. Cathedral with his partner every week and makes sure they kiss during the sign of the peace. He hopes that the fact that Pope Francis says it in public will help more gay Catholics feel welcome and accepted, even though it’s still a long way from marriage freedom.

Zaldivar said, “I believe we are very fortunate to have Pope Francis with us today.” “I commend him. I know that change is hard and takes a long time.”

There is no order in the new papal statement for Catholic leaders. Instead, it gives clergy more chances to bless same-sex couples in some situations, “without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage,” the document says. It also says that this kind of gift shouldn’t happen during a civil union or with wedding-themed clothes or actions.

LGBTQ+ Angelenos

Still, people who follow Catholicism say this is a big change. It fits with the pope’s ongoing work to make the church friendlier while keeping its rules.

Peggy Ehling, co-chair of the L.A. Archdiocese’s Ministry With Lesbian and Gay Persons, said, “This message greets LGBTQ Catholics with an acknowledgment rather than a condemnation, and that is a change.” She joined the church after one of her children came out as transgender because she wanted all queer Catholics to have the same support her son did.

Ehling said she wasn’t sure yet how the directive would affect everyone in L.A. She said that some people on both sides of the issue will be angry, either because it goes too far or not far enough. However, she is hopeful that priests will feel safer giving these kinds of blessings, especially if they were afraid of getting in trouble before.

Many people think that L.A. Archbishop José H. Gomez is much more conservative than the pope, but he didn’t answer when asked about the new papal document. Lina Diaz, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, said in a statement that the archdiocese “is still reviewing the announcement at this time.”

But Gomez isn’t seen as very supportive of LGBTQ+ issues. This summer, he spoke out against the Dodgers honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a caring and funny LGBTQ+ group that dresses as nuns. This decision was heavily attacked. He said the non-profit group makes fun of Catholics and women.

But the Vatican’s new order was bound to cause a stir, even though it clearly distinguishes between a blessing and the church’s marriage ceremony, which can only be given to couples who are married. Many Catholic leaders across the country have said that the pope’s statement on same-sex blessings is a “disaster” because it changes how the church deals with sin. In the Catholic Church, being gay is seen as a sin. The pope made this clear earlier this year when he spoke out against laws that make it a crime.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has been strongly against gay marriage, but he did not openly back the new papal guidance. Instead, he stressed that the blessings are up to the leaders and that the directive does not change what the church teaches about marriage.

“Those who have questions should read the Vatican declaration carefully,” Cordileone said in a statement. “This is in line with the Church’s teaching that never changes.” “This will help you understand how it promotes pastoral care while staying true to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego did not answer a call for comment on Tuesday.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has had disagreements with the Vatican in the past few years, agreed with Cordileone and pointed out that the Vatican’s view on marriage has not changed. Going forward, Gomez was the head of the conference from 2019 to 2022.

A spokesperson for the conference, Chieko Noguchi, said in a statement, “The Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed, and this declaration affirms that. At the same time, it tries to walk with people by giving them pastoral blessings, because we all need God’s healing love and mercy in our lives.”

LGBTQ+ Angelenos

Cecilia González-Andrieu, a theology professor at the Jesuit school Loyola Marymount University, said she doesn’t know how the state’s most important Catholics will understand or use the statement. Her point of view is that it is important to remember that the pope wrote the new text with ordinary people in mind.

“I think the document says on purpose, ‘Let this come from the community. Let’s not try to control this from the top,'” González-Andrieu said. For priests and parishioners, this means they can enjoy these gifts without fear or guilt, she said.

She said that younger Catholics, who have been most vocal about their problems with the church’s anti-LGBTQ+ teachings, might change how they feel about the church the most because of the Vatican’s news.

“It’s only a small step toward the big goals that many of my students may have,” she said. “I picture the Catholic faith community’s arms wide open to welcome you: We see you, we love you, we want to pray with you, and we support everything about you and who you are.”

She said that from a religious point of view, it supports Jesus’ actions of “absolute and unconditional love,” no matter what stage of life someone is in.

The statement makes that very clear: it doesn’t lead to same-sex marriage. But González-Andrieu said, “It does give us a way to support people’s desire to be in a relationship with God and the [church] community.” “And not to feel like they can’t get in.”

She said that the pope’s statement gives queer Catholics a new kind of affirmation that she hopes will grow. Ehling said, “I think it gives priests and other ministers in the church a little freedom to be more pastoral, to meet people where they are, and to recognize that they have a relationship with God, even if it’s not the most traditional relationship.” “They are still loved and a child of God.”

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