That was the sound of Bill Donohue’s head imploding. Pope Francis I has made headlines stating “Who am I to judge a gay person?” The pontiff was taking questions from reporters on his way back to Rome from Brazil. He was asked about gay and the gay clique within the Vatican.
While answering the question, Francis apparently broached the subject gay priests. In full, he said, in Italian, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can’t marginalize these people.” This comes after years of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI attacking gays as being ‘disordered’ and barring gays from entering the priesthood. It also comes after years of Benedict and Pope John-Paul II blaming gays for the child sexual abuse scandal that has hurt the Church internationally. The comments do not apparently lift the Vatican’s stance on gays remaining celibate or reverse any of the stated stances from the Vatican about homosexuality being intrinsically disordered.
Francis joked that he has yet to see the words ‘gay lobby’ stamped on anyone’s official Vatican ID.
Father James Martin, an admirer of Francis, was not surprised by the comments saying that it is consistent with the tone of the pontiff’s papacy. He stated that “One of Francis’s hallmarks is an emphasis on mercy, which you see in that response. That mercy, of course, comes from Jesus. And we can never have too much of it.”
However, women in the priesthood is still a problem. Pope Francis stated that Pope John-Paul II pretty much put the kibosh on that.
The pontiff’s statement comes a few weeks after it was revealed that he was running into stiff opposition from the anti-reform Conservatives inside the Vatican. According to one senior bishop, the pontiff is facing stern criticism from the right wing of the Church in part because he has not taken a combative tone on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.
While Pope Francis has spoken out about the sacredness of life and the need for traditional (Catholic) marriage, he has not made use of buzz words or dog whistle phraseology in order to do so.