MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts recently invited a group of diverse Roman Catholics to New York City’s Rockefeller Center — just steps from St. Patrick's Cathedral — to discuss Pope Francis's first visit to the United States.
Roberts, the out anchorman who hosts a daily live two-hour news program on MSNBC as well as an online show about LGBT issues on its Web-based Shift service, hosted the panel discussion, which was recorded last week.
He asked a twice-divorced Catholic, a woman who leads a pro-choice group, two gay men, a lesbian, and a transgender woman to talk with him about what they would say to the pope if they could meet him, their views on his papacy thus far, and what they think of his predecessor, retired Pope Benedict XVI.
Dawn Ennis, The Advocate's news editor and a lifelong practicing Catholic, was the trans woman who took part in the panel.
Perhaps most surprising to Roberts was that each member of the group felt a strong connection to their faith despite the church's disdain for gay, lesbian, pro-choice, divorced, and trans parishioners. He revealed to the group that as a survivor of abuse, he himself is conflicted about his Catholic faith.
Watch parts 1 through 4 of the panel discussion below, from MSNBC.