By Michael O'Loughlin
Originally published on Advocate.com February 04 2014 10:36 PM ET
A Jesuit production company is highlighting the experiences of LGBT Catholics in a YouTube series called Who Are We to Judge?, a reference Pope Francis’s response when asked about gay priests last summer.
Rev. Eddie Siebert, president of Culver City, California-based Loyola Productions, said that the series creates a space for LGBT Catholics to share their faith stories.
“We didn’t want to get into church teaching, and dogma, and doctrine," said Siebert. "We just wanted to talk to faithful people who are gay and ask them to tell their stories."
He explained that the staff at Loyola Productions, which runs the YouTube channel Ignatius News Network where the videos are posted, came up with the idea to create the series:
“We asked, ‘What can we do to highlight this issue in terms of being Catholic and being gay, and what this means for people?’”
Though some conservative Catholic groups have criticized the project, Siebert said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The series is an ongoing project, in which Siebert said he hopes to include more voices from women and LGBT people of color.
“We need to do more to tell these stories and invite people to tell their stories,” he said. “Ultimately our goal is to welcome everyone in the church, to open the door,” and the videos “help get the conversation started.”
Three videos feature the voices of Jesuits, LGBT Catholics, and the parents of LGBT children.
The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church, with 17,000 members worldwide. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit to be elected pope.
Michael O'Loughlin is a writer based in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in America, Religion News Service, and Religion & Politics. Find more of his work mikeoloughlin.com, and follow him on Twitter at @MikeOLoughlin.