San Diego Bishop Dermot Rodgers lives by the saying, “Judge none, love all.”
He said it’s necessary to create a Catholic parish to serve all Catholics from all walks of life, including divorcees, remarried people, the LGBTQ community and female ordained priests.
Rodgers is challenging the Roman Catholic Church to become more inclusive.
“As far as I know from the scriptures, there has been no occasion where Jesus turned anyone away under any circumstances,” he said.
Like Pope Francis, Bishop Rodgers said we are all the children of God.
“One of the earliest statements the Holy Father made about equality and about gays and lesbians in the world is, 'Who am I to judge?'” Rodgers said. “And a whole theology is being formed from that very statement, so not only to affect the LGBTQ community, but also divorced and remarried people and other people who feel excluded from the traditional Catholic Church.“
It’s a trend many are seeing in the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Francis. Church watchers are dubbing it the “Francis Effect.”
For the first time ever Wednesday, the Vatican gave a group, American Gay and Lesbian Catholics, VIP seating at Pope Francis’ weekly general audience.
Parishioners who spoke to FOX 5 said creating an all-inclusive parish is a step in the right direction.
“The Catholic Church in particular has been so far behind the times so far. I think it’s great … I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s going in the right direction,” said parishioner Greg Bolian. He said the church under Pope Francis would make “Catholics feel more welcomed.”
FOX 5 reached out to the San Diego Catholic Diocese about Bishop Rodgers’ plans.
“Bishop Dermot Rodgers and the group associated with him are not affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, and therefore we have no comment,” the diocese said.
Bishop Rodgers isn’t surprised that local church officials have little to say. He expects push back in the coming months as the parish comes together. He said he and other Catholic priests will use Lent as a time to pray and plan locations and find the faithful.
He and his group of Catholic priests will perform their first mass in the next two weeks. He said it will likely be at his home until the group is able to find a permanent church location.
“Our goal is simply to reach out to the 30 million non-practicing Catholics with an option that might be suitable for them to hold on to their Catholic faith without having to deny who they are, or to try to alter a very difficult situation that cannot be altered.”
For more information on the all-inclusive Roman Catholic Church, contact Bishop Dermot Rodgers at 619-634-3708 or on Facebook.