“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” This quote from Pope Francis is reverberating all over the world and some are even calling it a papal blessing of homosexuals. He made the comments during a transatlantic flight from Brazil to Italy during an unusually long and detailed interview.
The statement softens the extreme anti-gay mold set by his predecessor, however, the gays aren’t getting a thumbs up from the pope. Instead the Pope is arguing that clergymen shouldn’t be banned from the church based on their sexuality. He believes they should be forgiven for being gay – a much more conciliatory position on the matter. This action was completely banned by the previous pope, Pope Benedict.
Gays and the Catholic Church came up following a report in an Italian magazine revealing that a Vatican monsignor, Battista Ricca, had engaged in gay sex. Ricca was investigated and no wrongdoing was found. This might explain Pope Francis’ softer stance on homosexuality, calling for gays to be treated with dignity and not be marginalized.
Another issue addressed by the Pope during the press conference involved condemning the confirmed gay lobby operating in the Vatican. Reports say that they are working tirelessly to reform the Catholic Church from within. Some reports even suggest that pressure is being put on gay church officials to support reform or their secret sexual orientation will be revealed. However, Pope Francis was adamant that any and all reform would go through him and not the gay lobby — you know, him being God’s representative on Earth and all.
What hasn’t changed is the Pope’s position on women in the church — or more precisely female priests – where he said, “that door is closed” and women, although a pillar of the Catholic Church, will not be ordained as priests in the future.