Sep 22, 2013

[Technicolor Musings] Jesuit Hope for LGBTs?

A few months ago, Pope Francis stated "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" - a rather surprising statement for the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The media were all over that story of course, but admittedly I remained rather skeptical about the whole thing. It's a nice statement, but it's not exactly official Church policy or anything like that.

But in a published interview released this week, the new Pope has gone on to discuss a number of controversial topics - or at least those considered rather controversial by the Church. In the most direct statement ever released by a Catholic Pope, he has actually gone on to talk about how the Church needs to adopt a more inclusive approach to dealing with subjects like homosexuality and even the role of women in the Church. And while homosexual acts are still considered a sin, this was a rather public acknowledgement that this is still somehow separate from the orientation.

These views are not particularly new - we've heard them a lot from the Church in general but especially among Jesuits in particular. I had been taught as much during my school years given I had gone to a Jesuit-run school. But it's nice to hear him to make such statements formally in something as concrete as the interview published around the world.

This won't make me become Catholic again or anything like that - I think I'm well and done with organized religion. But the Pope's statements do give me hope for how the Catholic Church approaches members of the LGBT community. Instead of a Church that actively campaigns against LGBT concerns and rights issues, perhaps this will lead to the Church focusing on its ministry instead of negative campaigns and such.

One cannot say for certain how the Pope's statements will translate into actual doctrine and Church policy. But again, even a skeptical agnostic like myself finds reason to hope for the better. And that's a good thing.
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