While Pope Francis and the Vatican are starting an important conversation on how much to welcome gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church, the Los Angeles Archdiocese is well into a long discussion on the topic. The archdiocese, by far the largest in the country, has America's oldest ministry for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, dating back to 1986. And the current co-chairman of that ministry, Frank McKown, says the Vatican is just playing catch-up.
"The LBGT genie is now out of the bottle," McKown tells the Los Angeles Times. He says he still sees anti-gay sentiment in the local church, including from "clerics and the highest order," but that "there's more acceptance of LGBT as more gay people come out to neighbors and friends and families."
McKown and other Catholic officials aren't rewriting Catholic orthodoxy — being gay isn't a sin, but gay sex acts are, like all out-of-marriage-sex — but church teaching "doesn't mean ostracize people or marginalize people or treat them with hostility or venom," McKown says. Read more about the dialogue in L.A. and the U.S. Catholic Church at the Los Angeles Times.