When an annual meeting of Catholic bishops concluded at the Vatican on Sunday, the church finally inched closer toward accepting a community it has long neglected: divorcees.
But to much dismay, the meeting called Synod on the Family did not yield highly-anticipated changes to the church’s policy toward a different group: gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual Catholics.
As the New York Times reported, “[The church doors] remained firmly shut to same-sex marriage, even as the document said gay people should be treated with respect.”
A new documentary about a Manhattan congregation is pushing back on this traditional Catholic thinking.
“Owning Our Faith,” features LGBT members of the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle and their families speaking about the intersection of spirituality and sexuality.
Father Gil Martinez, who leads the parish at the center of the documentary, says he hopes the film will shed light on the struggles of LGBT Catholics and nudge the church closer to embracing all of its believers.
“Our intention was to get the conversation going,” he told MetroFocus Contributor Mary Alice Williams.
Martinez says he gave the film to Pope Francis at the Vatican but isn’t certain the pontiff watched it.
“I gave it to him and he just simply said ‘Please tell the gays to pray for me and I shall pray for them,'” Martinez said.
Matt Vidal, a gay member of the church who participated in the film, said his commitment to Catholicism is important despite its rejection of homosexuality.
“If we leave it, if we abandon the church then it’s never going to change,” Vidal said in the documentary. “So we have to continue living here, being an example and encouraging other people to be that example because that’s what’s going to change the church.”
You can watch the full documentary and hear more stories from LGBT catholics who are owning their faith.