The pontiff recently stated “Who am I to judge if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”
Dolan is insisting that the Church has long embraced gays and that the pontiff’s statements do not represent some shift in tone. Dolan insisted that homosexual acts are still a sin saying that “Homosexuality is not a sin, right? Homosexual acts are just like heterosexuality is not a sin outside of marriage, that would be sinful. . .While certain acts may be wrong, [the Pope] would always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity and not judge them.”
Dolan’s decision to play damage control comes despite years of attacking LGBT people. He has routinely compared homosexuality to pedophilia, adultery, forced marriage, communist dictatorships, incest, and polygamy.
Pope Francis’ comments caused a great deal of excitement and happiness among the LGBT Community worldwide. While not seen as being much more than a simple statement about gay priests, it does mark a shift in tone from the previous pontiff’s administration which saw a never ending slew of attacks on LGBT people, and specifically gay men. Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope John-Paul II blamed gay men for the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis has come under fire for not being aggressive enough in condemning same-sex marriage and abortion. This criticism has largely come from within the politically active Conservative wing of the Vatican hierarchy that Cardinal Dolan represents.