Good news if you’re Catholic, gay, friends with gay people, practice a religion, not religious, or any combination of those attributes. Head Catholic Honcho Pope Francis had some encouraging things to say about gay people, which will hopefully help to shape the Catholic Church’s future message on homosexuality.
According The Wall Street Journal, Pope Francis ”broached the delicate question of how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active.” His response was, for lack a better descriptor, Christ-like.
“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can’t marginalize these people.”
To me and you, this may seem like the obvious answer, but it’s fairly revolutionary for the leader of the Catholic Church. In fact, this is the first time that any pope has defended gay priests. As WSJ points out,
For decades, the Vatican has regarded homosexuality as a “disorder,” and Pope Francis’ predecessor Pope Benedict XVI formally barred men with what the Vatican deemed “deep-seated” homosexuality from entering the priesthood.
A group that can be marginalized, however, are women in the Catholic Church. There is a movement in the Church to begin ordaining women as priests, and it has been met with resistance from Church authorities. When asked about the possibility of ordaining women, Pope Francis passed the blame to Pope John Paul II.
Women, he said, couldn’t be ordained as priests, because the issue had been “definitively” settled by Pope John Paul II. However, the pope wanted to develop a “theology of the woman,” in order to expand and deepen their involvement in the life of the church.
Pope Francis didn’t elaborate on his plan to create this “theology of the woman,” but I’m not sure why the Catholic Church is so gun-shy about ordaining women. If women are capable of being nuns (which, according to Sister Act 1 & 2 entails a life of poverty, chastity, obedience, and helping inner city residents through the power of music), what is it that makes them incapable of taking confessions, offering communion, and serving the Church as priests? As always with any religious organization, progress comes in baby steps and moves decades behind the rest of the world.
Who wants to take bets on when we’ll hear positive, contraception-related news coming out of the Catholic Church?
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