The Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau is listening to the “dreams” of Alaska’s LGBTQ community in an effort to better celebrate “diversity within local Catholic communities.”

Archbishop Andrew Bellisario explains the purpose of the ongoing listening sessions in the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau.

Last month, the archdiocese held a little-publicized “listening session” with people who identify as LGBTQ. The meeting took place March 12 in a secluded room on the fourth floor of the Loussac Library.

An invitation to the meeting was sent to local LGBTQ groups as part of the archdiocese’s ongoing listening sessions to solicit feedback on how the church might change to better meet the needs of the modern world. While much more publicized sessions have occurred in area parishes this winter, the March 12 meeting was specifically tailored to LGBTQ concerns, and it does not appear on the archdiocese website with other sessions from the past two months.

Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to share their thoughts, concerns and suggestions about the church. This so-called “synodal process” is part of an international effort to foster dialogue about the direction of the church with regard to those deemed to be at the peripheries.

The invitation to the recent meeting at the library, however, made no mention of official church teachings with regard to homosexuality.

Many faithful Catholics have expressed concern that the synod might be commandeered by those who oppose Catholic moral principles in an effort to try and weaken or change long-established doctrines. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that “homosexual acts” are “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered.” It adds that such behavior is “contrary to the natural law” because it does not “proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The Catechism further teaches that while having a homosexual orientation is not sinful in and of itself, it is nonetheless “objectively disordered” and must never be acted upon. In responding to those who struggle with these issues, the church teaches that gay people “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” and that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

The invitation to the recent meeting at the library, however, made no mention of official church teachings with regard to homosexuality. Sent by co-chairs of the Archdiocese’s Synod Committee, Jenny Michaelson and Mary Gore, the letter simply invited people to “a journey of listening and discernment to inspire people to dream about what the Church could be…”

“The focus of this process is to provide an opportunity for honest and open dialogue where all perspectives are heard equally and respected with no judgement,” the letter states. “Your participation can contribute to a greater understanding of how the Church can become one of open doors and open hearts.”

While the Anchorage-Juneau Archdiocese soliciting ways to be more open and welcoming to those who identify as LGBTQ, it has, in recent months, actively distanced itself from more conservative minded Catholics. Late last year, the archdiocese cut spiritual ties with Holy Rosary Academy, a robustly Catholic K-12th grade school that has operated independently of the archdiocese for more than 35 years. The archdiocese wanted to take over control of the private school’s operations and curriculum. When the school refused, it was barred from hosting Mass, calling itself Catholic, or having any access to clergy for spiritual direction and instruction.


Click here to respectfully share your thoughts with Anchorage-Juneau Archbishop Andrew Bellisario.

Catholic Archdiocese seeks direction from Alaska’s LGBTQ community

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Reggie Taylor says:

    “……Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to share their thoughts, concerns and suggestions about the church……..”
    Here’s a suggestion for Papa Francois: resign. Make room for a renewed feeling of legitimate leadership.

  • Theresa Bird says:

    How is inviting a select group of individuals to an unpublicized, private meeting an attempt to foster “honest and open dialogue where all perspectives are heard equally and respected with no judgement?”

    When I attended a synod session at my parish, I was told that that’s exactly what we were doing: answering the invitation to be heard/to share our thoughts and opinions without judgment. Why on earth would any select group of individuals need a private meeting with employees of the Archdiocese for their own, private listening session?

    The listening session I attended was hosted by two parishioners who volunteered to host it, not by any pastor of our parish or representative of the Archdiocese. By organizing and hosting this private meeting and sending representatives of the Archdiocese to facilitate it, the Archbishop has made clear exactly which members of the community he wants to hear from, and who he does not.

  • Christine Dordan says:

    I recently participated in a synodal listening session held at my parish hosted by parishioner volunteers as well. I then sent a letter to my parish priest, the very same Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau personnel in this article, and His Holiness Pope Francis with my concerns. In particular, the exclusion of women in the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Catholic church. The silence has been deafening. My question to all Synod facilitators is this, “Why would the church seek direction from a particular community while it has many diverse communities within its own walls?” Crickets?


    Yes, very interesting that members of these LGBTJIAOIDJG

    • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

      OOPS, hit a button by mistake. To continue: interesting that members of the LGBTQIANLIJ organizations were invited but not faithful Catholics who made suffer from same sex attraction and follow the precepts of the church – like not engaging in any sexual activity (which, by the way, any single person no matter what sexual attraction they may have is also supposed to do), like me. I used to be active in some of these organizations before the Lord converted me to right thinking and action. I know their RADICAL agendas. It baffles me why the Archbishop is asking for their input but not from people like me.
      A side note: several years ago I was verbally abused, several times – even in confession – by a local priest. I called Jenny Michaelson to report this and she proceeded to tell me that I was the problem, not the priest. So much for the system that is supposed to help those abused by priests.

      • Theresa Bird says:

        I’m guessing the Archdiocese was not getting the thoughts and dreams they were hoping for from the regularly scheduled synod sessions, so they had to find a way to solicit them.
        Why is it our local Archbishops are always willing to dialogue with those who openly express hostility to the teachings of the Church, but will not take the time to openly discuss or address questions or concerns raised by those who occupy Her pews?

  • Timothy Williams says:

    When do adulterers, thieves, pathological liars, child-molesters and abortionists get their “dream” listening sessions? I am sure the bishop could learn a lot about how the Church must change to accommodate their identities, too.