Gay man gives first Bible reading at Pope Francis mass (VIDEO)
An openly gay man and supporter of same-sex marriage delivered the first Bible reading at Pope Francis’ New York City mass.
In a surprise move for the Catholic Church, openly gay Mo Rocca was chosen to open the Pope’s mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday (September 25), to mark the Catholic leader’s visit to the city.
Former Daily Show correspondent and political satirist Rocca delivered the first Bible reading of the evening, as the event’s Lector.
Rocca read from the Book of Isaiah in Spanish, reciting the verses, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
The pundit came out publicly in 2011, at the age of 42, revealing that he had visited the site of the Stonewall Riots on the night same-sex marriage was legalised in the state of New York.
Following Pope Francis’ mass Rocca took to Twitter to express his thoughts.
“I am deeply grateful and humbled to have delivered a reading at a Mass celebrated by @Pontifex,” he wrote.
Despite strong Catholic opposition to the Supreme Court ruling legalising same-sex marriage earlier this year, so far the Pontiff has largely stayed away from LGBT issues that the religious right oppose during his trip to the US.
However, in a speech to Congress earlier this week, he delivered a dire warning about the future of marriage while referencing his upcoming visit to the anti-LGBT World Meeting of Families.
The Pope said: “I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families.
“Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.
“I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life,” he added.
He also claimed that people were being ‘pressured’ into not starting families.
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Despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.
Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped by the Church last year – and despite suggestions that the plans would return at a 2015 Synod, it soon became clear the Church has no plans to discuss the matter again.
The Pope has also increasingly rallied against same-sex marriage, inviting representatives from listed hate groups to a ‘traditional marriage’ conference, urging Slovakians to vote against equal marriage, which he claims “disfigures God’s creation”.
You can watch Rocca perform his role as Lector in the video below.