As you've probably heard by now, Pope Francis is making major headlines for a comment he made while in Rio de Janeiro last week for World Youth Day regarding homosexuality in the clergy:
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
WHOA. Now, for anyone who wasn't raised unrelentingly, uncompromisingly Catholic (I was, in case you were wondering), the Pope's remark might seem relatively unremarkable. Big deal, it's not like he said he approved of being gay or anything. You call that progressive?? But here's the thing: Coming from THE POPE?! Trust me, that's the most progressive comment any pontiff has ever made. Pope John Paul II, for example, called the concept of gay marriage a "new ideology of evil." So ... see what I mean?
Even more hopeful is this latest quote taken in the context of Francis' other tolerant statements:
The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. "But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good." Yes, he can ... The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! "Father, the atheists?" Even the atheists. Everyone! ... We must meet one another doing good. "But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!" But do good: we will meet one another there.
When a person or a society suffers devaluation and disintegration, certainly in the bottom of their hearts they lack peace and joy, and sadness nests. Disunity and contempt are children of sorrow. Sadness is a truth that belongs to the spirit of this world, and the remedy is joy.
On the importance of loving all people:
Those who love with all their being, even full of foibles and limits, are flying with lightness, free of influences and pressures.
Are you surprised by the Pope's comments about gay clergy?
Image via BostonCatholic/Flickr