Pope Francis watches Mo Rocca deliver his reading (MSNBC)
In a welcome move, openly gay TV journalist and host Mo Rocca was invited to deliver the opening Bible reading at last week’s Papal Mass in New York City.
Rocca, who has also stated his support for same-sex marriage, read in Spanish from the Book of Isaiah at the event at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
One of the passages that he quoted was Isaiah 9:2:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
Rocca spoke at the altar just a few meters from Pope Francis, who has been visiting the US.
He later tweeted: “I am deeply grateful and humbled to have delivered a reading at a Mass celebrated by @Pontifex.”
Rocca, 46, came out just four years ago. He told the Latin Post in 2013: “Everyone assumes (including my Anglo friends) that it’s hard to be gay if you have a parent who is a religious Catholic, and especially a Latin American Catholic — all I can tell you that wasn’t the case with me.”
The decision to include a proudly gay man at a Papal event will have been well thought out. However, while a positive and affirming statement, it also adds to the Pope’s confusing signals on LGBT issues.
While Francis has famously said that he would never judge gay people, during his American trip he repeated his view that same-sex marriage is a threat to “traditional” marriage, the family and humanity.