Bishop tells gays and lesbians: ìThe church is your homeî

No, you didn’t misread the headline. In late March, Mexican Bishop Raul Vera Lopez celebrated Mass for participants in a diocesan-endorsed forum on sexual diversity, known as Comunidad San Aelredo.

Bishop Vera has made the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church a priority in his northern Mexican diocese, which has a reputation for championing human rights issues.

Basing his convictions on the gospel, Bishop Vera told the congregation, "Jesus founded the church to bring in those on the outside, for those suffering exclusion and rejection ... so that they find the love of God."

Interestingly, Vera’s diocese is in Saltillo. On April 6th, NCR reported on a migrant shelter in Saltillo run by Fr. Pedro Pantoja that helps to house, clothe and feed weary migrants journeying from Mexico to the United States. It also offers them spiritual, psychological and legal support.

Additionally, Bishop Vera presided and preached at the funeral of his predecessor, Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, a life-long champion of the poor and the powerless.

Though Bishop Vera does not support gay marriage in the Catholic Church, he endorsed a 2007 law in Coahuila state -- which includes his diocese -- allowing same-sex civil unions. He also said that the church should do better in addressing the issue of same-sex couples adopting children.

“I can't judge a gay person or a lesbian by their sexual preferences," Bishop Vera said. "The most important thing for us is that they have legal protections. Period."

Not only have poor people, migrants, gays and lesbians found refuge in Saltillo. It seems that the Holy Spirit may have, too.

Read the full story here.

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