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Boston Catholics Expecting Sea Change for Gays In Catholic Church

Pope Francis said he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference Monday as he returned from his first foreign trip. (AP/Luca Zennaro)

Pope Francis said he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference Monday as he returned from his first foreign trip. (AP/Luca Zennaro)

In the four months since he was installed as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has surprised a lot of people with some of his statements and advocacy. He has spoken out on behalf of the poor and made dramatic overtures toward the Muslim world. Monday, on his way back to Rome from Brazil, he was asked about gay priests.

“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” he asked.

For a very long time the Church has regarded homosexuality as taboo. As Cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI called homosexuality “an intrinsic moral evil.” In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI issued an instruction essentially banning gay men from entering the priesthood.

The comment from Pope Francis surprised many observers of the Papacy. Many are asking whether his comments are an indication of the Church inching toward a new tolerance.

Guests

Thomas Groome, professor of theology and religious education at Boston College.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA, a Boston-based group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics.


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Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • J__o__h__n

    Better off finding a new religion instead of thinking that crumbs of personal decency from the new Pope signify any real change. Dignity USA is as effective as the Log Cabin Club.

  • J__o__h__n

    What does he mean Catholics don’t have a history of schism? Where did the Protestants come from?

  • BoilerMike

    Like almost all reports of Pope Francis’ Q&A in the English language media, this one gets it wrong. Pope Francis articulated the Catholic Church’s long-standing perspective on how to relate to those who are in sin. Spanish language coverage of the Pope’s remarks treated the full content of the Pope’s answer to a question about a “gay lobby” in Rome. What Pope Francis did and said was no different from what Benedict XVI would have said, if asked the same question. Sadly, secular media, perhaps because of their nature, are either incapable of covering or willfully obfuscate (as in this case) Catholic issues, events, personalities, teachings, etc.

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