EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)– Following the Vatican’s statement on Monday, which decreed the Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions, members of El Paso’s LGBTQ community voiced concerns and questioned their faith.
The official decree states in a lengthy two-page explanation published in seven languages that God “cannot bless sin.” This was also approved by Pope Francis.
Explaining their decision, the decree referred to same-sex unions as “a choice” and the Vatican said it’s position on same-sex unions in not part of God’s plan. The Vatican said that recognition of them in sacraments could be confused as marriage.
Robert Delgadillo, an El Pasoan and lifelong devout Catholic, said this announcement has him questioning his faith.
“You take so many steps forward and then one step back,” Delgadillo said. “I do doubt my faith obviously it’s like a roller coaster where some days you’re on this high and other days it’s like what’s the point.”
Delgadillo said he’s committed to teaching youth at his parish to be accepting of everyone and stand up for those who identify in the LGBTQ community.
“It’s like, I get very passionate, that just because something hasn’t always been doesn’t mean that is the right way to do things,” Delgadillo said.
Brenda Risch, the executive director of the advocacy group, Borderland Rainbow Center, said in El Paso there is a lot of gay people who are also Catholic. Risch said this announcement can be detrimental to the beliefs and faith of those in the community.
“It’s a big slap in the face it’s just being told again you’re a second-class citizen and not good enough to be approved of,” Risch said.
Risch said it was also upsetting Pope Francis signed off on this decree because of the strides Pope Francis made to bring a welcoming tone of LGBTQ members inside and out of the church.
“Up until this point, I think a lot of LGBTQ people were hopeful this pope was more open and understanding towards lesbian and gay, bisexual people,” Risch said.
Pastor Brian Sieve, a gay man said he left the Catholic Church and is now part of the Municipal Community Church of El Paso.
He said the church is accepting of LGBTQ views and groups and welcomes everyone.
“It’s important people don’t discuss our goodness, our dignity, our blessedness our sacredness because that’s not up for question,” Sieve said.
Sieve said he encourages anyone who may be questioning their faith to check out their church, but also discourages people from leaving their Catholic faith because of this announcement.
“I want you to demand that your priests, your ministers, bishops, pope, speak the truth and stop speaking violence,” Sieve said.
He added in his few years in El Paso so far, he’s had a great professional relationship with Bishop Seitz and others in the community.