Many, including myself, were skeptical when Pope Francis told a reporter in July that he wouldn't judge a gay priest. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" said Francis, whose comment was dismissed by cynics as nothing more the pope putting a happier face on an exceedingly anti-gay institution. Now, in his most comprehensive and seemingly supportive statement yet, the Catholic leader is admonishing his church and its followers for their tenacious moralizing.
"It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," the pope said in an interview with the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica. "The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel." The church, the pope explained, must be a "home for all."
He later remarked, "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: 'Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?' We must always consider the person."
This is the most positive statement a pope has ever made about gay people, and certainly the most inclusive since Pope John Paul II set a new standard for discrimination by describing homosexuality as an "objective disorder." Though this is a small step, do you think Pope Francis, who categorically rejects claims that he's right-wing ("I have never been a right-winger") can help modernize the Church's medieval gay politics?
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