Friday, September 20, 2013

Pope Francis' Bombshell Remarks on Gays Yesterday Are a Big Deal

Huffington Post Headlines Yesterday

Pope Francis caused tidal waves in the Catholic Church yesterday by telling conservative Catholics to get over with their obsession with gays, abortion, and contraception. The right wing of the Catholic Church has been told to change their negative attitudes and make the church more welcoming to people traditionally excluded from it.

Pope Francis did not change any dogma of the Church. In other words, Catholics are still supposed to oppose marriage equality and abortion legalization -- but not make such a big deal out of it. Francis would rather see the Church focus on positive social issues just like he is. And when it comes to full acceptance of LGBT people in the Church, even as priests, Francis wants nothing put in the way. He has stopped Pope Benedict (the retired one) crusade against gay clergy -- even celibate individuals - from continuing.

I am not a Catholic,  However, I am highly appreciative of Catholicism, and Pope Francis in particular.  I have noticed that my friends who are Catholic, especially LGBT people, tend to be skeptical of remarks like this. They have more of a "let's wait and see attitude".  But I think they need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Popes do not "issue orders" regularly. They lead from example. It is the Curia of cardinals and archbishops underneath him that should implement what he says. The Pope can "issue orders" and is infallible, meaning his word must be taken as final decision on the subject.  But this power is rarely used. The last time a Pope invoked infallibility was in 1950 when Pope Pius ruled that Mary was physically assumed into heaven (The Assumption).  In addition, Church policy can be set at councils of Cardinals and Bishops under the Pope's guidance. The most recent example of a large shake-up in Catholic belief came in the early 1960's at the Second Vatican Council under Pope John XXIII did things like approve the use of languages other than Latin for Mass.

But what I am saying here is that this is exactly how the Church changes. By Papal example.

The reactionary Church right opposing gay marriage has not yet replied to this Papal Statement. But they are reading the writing on the wall. The Pope would like to move on from this issue.  Enough is enough. Expect some big changes as liberal Catholics take center stage.
Catholic America Magazine and Blog Supports the Pope's Acceptance of Gays

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