In a surprising turn of events, we find that Pope Francis might be an all-around decent guy. Pope Francis answered questions from reporters for 82 minutes while on the plane ride back from celebrating World Youth Day in Brazil. Here’s what he had to say about homosexuality:
“We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society. If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” – Pope Francis I
I know! It surprised me too! It seems the Catholic Church has finally realized all of the gay-bashing is no good for their PR. Francis might not be as staunchly conservative as we thought! Well, I guess let’s not get carried away here. He did also reiterate the point that women can not be priests. And while the leader of the Catholic Church says not to “marginalize” people for being gay, this does not indicate a change in church policy, and the church still believes homosexuality to be ”intrinsically disordered.”
So while no policy has changed, what Francis said is still important because he still holds a lot of influence on people’s attitudes towards the gay community. Francis made another significant comment, and Italian Gov. Nichi Vendola praised the Pope for making a clear distinction between homosexuality, a sin, and pedophilia, a crime.
“In only one blow, he carried out a very brilliant operation, separating the theme of homosexuality from that of pedophilia,” said Vendola.”We know that a part of reactionary clerical thought plays on the confusion between these two completely different categories.”
So the Pope did a couple of pretty cool things today, but even so, HRC president Chad Griffin got to the heart of the issue with his response:
“[As long as gays] are told in churches big and small that their lives and their families are disordered and sinful because of how they were born – how God made them – then the church is sending a deeply harmful message.” – HRC President, Chad Griffin.
So it’s progress. While I don’t think we can expect too much more from the Catholic Church at this time, we should still not be satisfied with it.
For more of the juicy details on the story, read the Associated Press article.
Photo via Reuters: Paul Hanna