14th April 2021

ULCCI

United Liberal Catholic Churches International

Response to the Declarations of Pope Francis Regarding Civil Unions on 22 October 2020

As the Presiding Bishop of the United Liberal Catholic Church International (ULCCI), I wish to clarify the message being reported by many surrounding the news that Pope Francis supports LGBT people.

ULCCI is an open and affirming Old and Liberal Catholic jurisdiction that embraces the beauty of the diversity in this glorious world that God made for us to inhabit.

Much important and necessary analysis of the Pope’s surprising comments yesterday, including the origin, timing and context of the clips from the documentary “Francesco.” (And, as many have noted, Francis had said similar things before, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.)

But a few things to remember when you parse these often complex analyses:

  1. The Pope is clearly telling families not to reject LGBT members.
  2. Francis is also publicly expressing his support for (depending on the translation) some sort of legal protections for same-sex couples in civil law.
  3. Almost totally overlooked, the documentary also looks at his warm relationships over the years with LGBT individuals, like Juan Carlos Cruz.

This may be the first time that many people are hearing about this kind of pastoral outreach to the LGBT community and his perspectives on some of these issues. They have been expressed by the Pope before in other ways (interviews, homilies, books, press conferences, etc.), but perhaps not broadcast or known as widely as yesterday’s comments. So the reaction was not surprising.

Overall, we can see the Pope’s comments as yet another positive step in the church’s relationship with LGBT people and a sign of his continuing pastoral care for LGBT Catholics.

But what troubles me as an openly gay ordained person, is that a lot of LGBT Clergy are still living in silence, hiding their true identity.