VATICAN CITY – The Vatican did something it has never done before by giving a group of U.S. gay and lesbian Catholics VIP seats at Pope Francis' weekly general audience.
But in a sign that the welcome wasn't all it could have been, the New Ways Ministry pilgrims were identified on the Vatican's list of attendees only as a "group of lay people accompanied by a Sister of Loreto."
And not even that got announced at Wednesday's audience: When a monsignor read out the different groups of pilgrims attending the audience, he skipped that reference altogether. Francis didn't mention them either.
New Ways Ministry officials were nevertheless pleased that they had been invited to sit up front by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, the prefect of the papal household who dispenses the coveted reserved tickets.