U.S. actor Sharon Stone has urged Vatican officials to “listen to your pope and respect him” when it comes to LGBTQ issues. She made the comments earlier this year during the international film festival in Cannes, France.
While not Catholic herself, Stone expressed an appreciation for Pope Francis’ pastoral leadership in the Catholic Church, especially regarding LGBTQ Catholics, and his approach to health issues and the environment. Religion News Service reported:
“In the wide-ranging interview, . . . , the actress portrayed Pope Francis as a supporter of LGBTQ rights who is embattled with a hostile Curia. ‘The church should open its doors to LGBTQ Catholics and the curia should accept the directives of this pope who is wonderful,’ she said.”
“‘God sent him to them, listen to God,’ she concluded.”
“This wasn’t the first time Stone voiced her sympathies for the Argentine pontiff. In a tweet last year, she praised Pope Francis for his scientific education and great spirituality: ‘I am not Catholic but I am a believer!’”
Other LGBTQ activists and confidantes to the pope have echoed Stone’s portrayal of the rocky relationship between the statements and actions of Pope Francis and those of the Curia. “I can understand that it’s very confusing for people,” said Juan Carlos Cruz, a clerical abuse survivor and member of the LGBTQ community, to Religion News Service.
Cruz, who meets frequently with Francis, continued:
“‘I’ve never seen in my life a more political and LGBTQ-obsessed Curia,’ he said. ‘It is sad to see how much Pope Francis wants to support and open his arms to the LGBTQ community and how much they put land mines in his path to be able to do it,’ he added.”
“Concerning the CDF’s ban on the blessing of same-sex couples, which occurred shortly after Francis returned from his historic trip to Iraq, Cruz said he believes that ‘in some way (the pope) is going to try to repair the harm that document did.’”
Cruz praised Francis’ efforts to take a pastoral and compassionate approach to LGBTQ Catholics and noted that “we cannot change church teaching in a minute.”
Others, however, are running out of patience. Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice and an LGBTQ activist, wants more from Francis:
“Manson praised the pope for opening the conversation on LGBTQ issues in the church, which she believes has led to ‘meaningful change,’ but she added that the time for talk is over. She called for the pope to meet with members of the LGBTQ community at the Vatican and publicly acknowledge his private statements on LGBTQ issues.”
When even outsiders like Sharon Stone are noticing the internal tensions in the Catholic Church between Francis’ attempt to make room for LGBTQ people and those who would double down on the church’s historic position of homophobia and transphobia, that means we are witnessing an important moment. Cruz and Manson offer viewpoints held by many LGBTQ Catholics, who are both grateful for the objectively revolutionary nature of Francis’ comments and who also experience his tepid public tolerance as “crumbs from the table.” Many eyes are turned to the Synod on Synodality and to how seriously the positions of LGBTQ Catholics will be taken throughout the process.
—Barbara Anne Kozee, New Ways Ministry, November 5, 2021