Remember, this is the guy who as a Cardinal vehemently opposed gay marriage which he described as “the devil’s work,” and gay adoption which he felt was “discrimination against children.”
According to a papal spokesperson, what Pope Francis said, in response to a reporter’s question about homosexual priests who are living a celibate life (the spokesperson’s italics, not mine), was: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Could this have all been a ploy to deflect attention from the whole notion of a gay Vatican lobby which is gaining increased traction in the media?
Maybe. But the fact remains he was simply reiterating Catholic Church doctrine which never shunned the homosexual for being homosexual, only for acting on his or her impulses, though many gays feel the former was the reality they faced.
So has anything really changed?
No, but I’ll throw in my five cents on why I really think the Pope made this statement.
It’s no secret that the number of priests and nuns are dropping faster than a dick coming off Viagra. In fact, there were 549 parishes in the U.S. without a priest in 1965; today that number stands at over 3300. Many American Catholics are Catholics on paper, or cafeteria Catholics, choosing what part of Church Doctrine, i.e., birth control, they wish to ignore. The Church has also lost a number of gays because of its perceived homophobic philosophy. Despite these trends, there has been a growth in overall membership as a result of – surprise, surprise – our increasing Latino population.
So the Pope’s subliminal strategy may be to not lose any more gay men and women (some with good incomes looking for tax write-offs) to less traditional Catholic parishes or other denominations; and not discourage those gay men who may still have the faith and want to enter the priesthood, particularly after the black eye Catholic priests still nurse following the whole pedophile scandal. What two men do behind closed doors, well …
And remember, priests and nuns were also once the backbone of what put the Catholic in Catholic schools. These schools are now dominated by a lay faculty which is demanding salaries and benefits on par with their counterparts in the public sector, something institutions reliant on tuition and benefactors, not tax dollars, can ill afford. Wonder why more and more Catholic schools are closing down?
So, guys, don’t think the Pope was being benevolent or inclusive; like any CEO, he was just being smart.