• Mon, Jul 29 - 12:20 pm ET

The Pope Is Cool With Gay People But The Jury’s Still Out On Women (As Priests Or Otherwise)

Pope Francis Celebrates Mass On Copacabana Beach

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?

Photo: Getty Images

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  • Elizabeth Alexander

    he may not have talked much about letting women become priests, but he did say that they greatly underestimate the importance of women in the bible instead focusing on the apostles, and that needs to be rectified. so while that might not mean much in terms of clergy life, it is a very significant improvement!

  • Cee

    My dad takes the pope and Catholicism very seriously…lets see if this sparks a change in him.

  • Evil Stepmom

    I’m still unimpressed by the new pope. I understand that it’s revolutionary for the Pope to take a borderline-accepting stance on homosexuality, but he offers that acceptance with a caveat: The full quote states that homosexuality is not to be condemned, but that homosexual ACTIVITY is what is sinful. Basically, that homosexuality is fine as long as you’re celibate. So, that’s both irritating and a little hypocritical – it’s like saying that it’s fine for me to have a car, but driving it is unacceptable.

  • Kevin Wollersheim

    Saying that it is ok to be Gay but that it is a sin to be a practicing Gay is saying nothing. The church has discriminated against Gay people, women, and scientists for almost 2000 years, but at the same time turns a blind eye to it’s petifile priests. When an organization tells me NOT to use my brain and simply follow the word of God written by
    dudes 2000 years ago – well I have a problem with that. When there is a religion that works to end all forms of discrimination, realizes the importance of birth control and education of all people and especially women, and is a champion for the environment and conflict resolution around the world, than sign me up. I would say the Catholic Church is woefully short.

    • Melaniethem

      But it doesnt tell you to only follow the word of God written “by dudes” 2000 years ago. Thats one of the major things that separates Catholics from other Christians (that and the pope of course)