LGBT-Affirming Catholics Express Hope About Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ past anti-LGBT history has captured media attention since his election, leading many to conclude this papacy will be more of the same. Bondings 2.0 previously reported troubling statements made while archbishop, especially an ambiguous record on marriage equality. However, some observers express hope that Pope Francis will be a pope under whom LGBT issues can progress within the Catholic Church.

On Huffington Post, Joseph Amodeo writes that Pope Francis may be “the gay community’s greatest hope”:

Joseph Amodeo

“…he is the first pope to be elected from a country that has legalized marriage equality. In this way, Bergoglio has perhaps witnessed firsthand how same-sex marriage has been a public good in Argentina…he may be the first pope who has any real experience in meeting LGBT people while also witnessing the impact of gay marriage — namely, no negative impact at all…

“In short, the pope’s desire to be among those most in need and those who have been forgotten by society should be a source of great hope for all of us. As a marginalized people not only in society, but particularly in the Church, it is my hope that Pope Francis will take this opportunity to extend a loving embrace to his LGBT brothers and sisters around the world.

“I do think that we may start to see a softening of language. This is a much-needed first step toward witnessing, appreciating and encouraging LGBT people of faith to share their gifts openly in service to the Church.”

Pablo Manriquez at Fox News Latino contemplates why this pope opposes same-gender relationships, and he encourages Catholics to initiate the necessary dialogue that could affect change:

Pablo Manriquez

“The Vatican’s current teaching on marriage and sexuality relies on a troubling gender essentialism rooted in the recent insistence that every child needs a father and a mother. This has become the church’s hinge argument against gay marriage. It is theologically unfounded and culturally dangerous.

“Catholicism is better than this. The faith has more to say about love and responsibility than it has to say about sexual difference and gender roles. While Catholics can hardly expect an institution as old and enormous as the Roman Catholic Church to turn on a dime, the Vatican is not immune to change…

“As Catholics, we should invite our new pope to devote more attention to gay marriage as a theological (not political or cultural) question. Ultimately, the question is not whether the church should accommodate the culture, but about how gay relationships fit into the mystery of God’s love for all of humanity.”

Whether or not Pope Francis is the LGBT community’s greatest hope remains to be seen, but Kate Childs Graham at National Catholic Reporter reminds readers that even just starting anew with any papacy is reason for hope:

Kate Childs-Graham

Kate Childs-Graham

“As I scrolled through my Facebook feed and email reactions came flooding in from fellow progressive Catholics, I noticed I wasn’t alone in my (perhaps foolhardy) hope…

“As committed as [progressive Catholics] are to creating change in the church from the ground up, we can’t help but hold out hope this change will be reflected by the leaders of the hierarchy. We can’t help but treat moments like Wednesday’s as fresh starts, as new beginnings.

“Or, as a friend wrote,: ‘This is the beginning of the beginning of a new time for our church. I can’t possibly know what that will look like, but that’s what we’re in. The beginning of the beginning.’…

“But in my heart of hearts, in my faith of faiths, I can’t help but hope that she is right.”

Let us pray that this hope will motivate us all to redouble our efforts to work for equality and justice for LGBT people in church and society.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
  1. tomfluce
    tomfluce says:

    Sorry Bob, Joseph, Pablo, Kate,

    Brother Bergoglio’s practice of poverty is coming out of the same theological, soulful conviction that drives him–Brother Ratzinger, Brother Wojtala and all the other conservative catholics–to warn the world about us LGBT’s. You have quoted him and you have read the others’ proclamations that homosexuality/same sex marriage is one of the same of the worst evils that are ruining our planet, our society.

    Eschewing the perks of a scandalous, outmoded regal/imperial church, is extremely laudable, even heroic, but hardly a harbinger of changing dogmatic stands he holds on homosexuality. Yes he will kiss the feet of HIV victiims. But his beliefs are that we are victims of our secularist temptations and he wants to deliver all of us from ourselves.

    Don’t be fooled by his “desire to be among those most in need…” as a trait that will eventually bring him to accept our reality as God’s creatures who were created to love people of the same sexual construction. Hey, Sen. Portman has seen the light through his son. Ain’t going to happen with theological conservatives. Or at least I wouldn’t spend any energy hoping for such a change. We have a much more practical and demanding calling.

    The mindset cultivated by Brother Wojtala and Brother Ratzinger based on their experiences in Poland and Germany is what they branded “liberation theology” with, a violent, communist-tending, leftist secular movement. Brother Ratzinger as head of the doctrinal “purity” congregation fulminated against “liberation theology” and canned theololgians for espousing it. They even stopped the Latin American bishops conference, CELAM, who had agreed that a “preferential option for the poor”, accepting “base communities” as a legitimate way to do the work of the church in supporting poor people organizing against social inequality. In stark contrast, Brother Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, a member of the “conservative” hierarchy, was converted from his conservatism by the brutal slaying of one of his priests, Rutilio Grande, who was supporting poor farmers developing coops to gain more financial//political power. I think one can detect a “secularist” strain to the teaching of Brothers Ratzinger and Wojtala as to how to deal with social inequality. Brother Romero gave his life for a more spiritual, non-violent witness to the poor.

    Brother Romero went to Rome to beseech Brother Wojtala for help. The Pope wouldn’t meet with him until he joined a line of “simple” faithful seeking his blessing. The Pope ordered him not to disturb the authorities. Pres. Carter authorized $1.5 million dollars a day to support the dictators. Brother Romero became a martyr for his unwavering condemnation of the brutality of the “authorities”. Brother Bergoglio was and still is of the same school. He has called the current President of Argentina a fomenter of demagoguery–the cry of the ultra rightists in Latin America– because of her promotion of same sex marriage. He states, “…At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.

    O.K. I’m very troubled, though not surprised, by all the tons of attention and speculation about the new pope. Hoping for Brother Bergoglio to change things cannot be a distraction from building reforms from within. Although LGBT groups give great witness, the force that is driving the real change both in civil society and the church, we have to create a movement from within, no more DADT. Seemingly there is no such movement afoot to impress/morally force internal change from among us reformists. Yes I feel that we are understandably inhibited by the fascist persecution within the church by the likes of our Brother Popes and their mostly silent hierarchy. And I continually feel I have to shout from the roof tops that it isn’t just this handful of hierarchs but a huge following–majority–of the billions of catholics loyal to this fundamentalist mindset who are our opponents. However, unless we give the moral witness and also the numerical witness with our allies, inside church structures, (ecclesiastical disobedience) to the changes that must be made, we’ll continue existing on hope betraying our “forgotten by society” sisters and brothers.

    The call that makes sense to me is to demand the formation of a “Galileo Reconciliation Commission” within the church to deal with issues like homosexuality and all the other reforms being silenced. It is that dire. Something we cannot let happen again as to Galileo and so many others in name of “orthodoxy”. No name calling, no condemnations, respect for each other, including that treatment of gays is a life and death issue. As this body, participated in by the church authorities begins, they will agree to do the “least harm” to everyone affected by the dissent.

    Brother Bergoglio is attracting the Orthodox church leaders. Will we have a healing of the age old schism? Apologize for the senseless killing and mayhem of the past? They do have “married” priests….Where do you think they stand on homosexuality? Will they be allies of our leadership? It seems they will ally with the anti-gay theology of Brother Bergoglio. They do acknowledge LGBT’s but along with alcoholism and other weaknesses they see such secularism as the enemy of pure Christian love/chastity. Check out wwwwDOTantiochianDOTorg/node/17905

    We have our work still cut out for us.

    Reply

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