On October 21, as part of a documentary film entitled “Francesco” about the life and teaches of Pope Francis, he expressed support for creating laws for civil unions for same-sex couples. Dignity Washington (a local chapter of LGBT Catholic individuals) is pleased to support this seemingly positive statement. We appreciate it as far as it goes though it is not a reversal of many otherwise negative Church statements about LGBT couples. The statement does favor the idea of a fully diverse Church in a way Dignity/Washington has prayed and worked for since its founding in 1972.
Several members of Dignity Washington (DW) have been couples for close to half a century, and more recently, many of the younger couples were married by priests who are part of the community over the years. Supporting devoted couples who make a commitment to each other is a major part of what DW is about, and the larger theme Pope Francis spoke about, in finding full membership within the Church family. We hope that these statements supporting LGBTQ people from Pope Francis will pressure governments around the world to stop acts of violence against individuals for their sexuality or gender identity and save the lives of LGBTQ people at risk of state-sanctioned violence. We also hope this is a beginning step in the process of bringing full participation in Church life for all same-sex individuals.
Dignity Washington President Christopher Flow was featured alongside other LGBTQ Catholics in a piece by WUSA9 responding to this news. Other optimistic reactions were released by groups such as DignityUSA (the organization of which Dignity Washington is the largest chapter) and New Ways Ministries.