The Piece About What The LGBT Can Expect From Pope Francis

The Piece About What The LGBT Can Expect From Pope Francis

Pope Francis has made headlines worldwide for his conflicting statements and actions when it comes to LGBTQI people. In famous off-the-cuff remarks, he stunned many by asking “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay priests. He also had a reportedly warm meeting with a transgender man and his fiancée, and even said that the Catholic Church owes an apology to gay people. On the flip side, he worked to advance a referendum to prevent same-sex marriage and adoption by gay people in Slovakia, he bowed to pressure to remove positive statements about gay people and same-sex couples from a report during the global Synod on the Family, and he has called teaching about transgender people and gender theory a “global war” against the family.

On December 8, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy promulgated a new set of guidelines for the selection and training of Catholic priests. This document, which states it was approved and ordered to be published by Pope Francis, states that the church “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” It states that such people are unable to have appropriate relationships with women or men and warns against “the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” an allusion to the hierarchy’s claims that it was gay priests who are to blame for the decades of sexual abuse of children.

The pope’s endorsement of this document sends a clear signal to those of us in the LGBTQI and ally community who follow church politics. Despite the pope’s tendency to say reasonable things about us in unscripted moments, when he is acting for the institution of the church, he shows no willingness to disrupt the status quo. This means that those who saw the Franciscan papacy as a time when official Catholic teaching on gender identity and sexual orientation might be changed are likely to be deeply disappointed.

In the case of the new guidelines for priests, the way that gay men are described is rooted in the church’s belief that human relationships are and should be rooted in “complementarity,” a belief that women and men have different, divinely ordained roles rooted in biology. Anything other than that is “objectively disordered” in the technical language of the church. This thinking establishes a hierarchy that puts gay and transgender people in a degraded position, and it seems that this is where we are going to stay, at least when it comes to Pope Francis and most other members of the church’s hierarchy.

The fact that church leaders cannot accept the wide variety of human expression and relationships has far-reaching implications. It impacts social policy, educational systems, health care delivery, and cultures in many countries around the globe. Their willful ignorance about healthy sexuality and gender puts countless people at risk of violence, imprisonment, mental and physical health problems, social isolation, and increased poverty. This is shameful, sinful even.

It is also a perversion of the core of the Catholic faith, which teaches inclusion, equality, compassion, and love. Fortunately, solid majorities, at least of Western Catholics, reject church teaching on homosexuality and gender identity. They realize that LGBTQI people should be accepted in the church and in society for who we are, and many are actively resisting harmful teachings and practices. Some do this by withdrawing support from or even leaving the Catholic Church, and others strive to work from within, leading by example and resisting practices with which they disagree.

How long will it take before the voice of this majority influences the Vatican? That is the great and too often tragic unknown. In the meantime, it is the unfortunate truth that despite being drawn to Pope Francis’s commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and many who are pushed to the margins of society, our community will continue to experience misunderstanding and rejection from him. DignityUSA, the organization I represent, has long called for Pope Francis and other church leaders to engage in deep and open conversation with LGBTQI people and our families to learn the reality of our lives, our relationships, our struggles, and our strengths. We believe they must listen in the spirit of humility. We continue to believe that this step is a necessary beginning to the process of substantive and beneficial change for our community and families.

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11 Comments

  1. Mandy
    December 13, 07:44 Reply

    I feel like the pope is a more accepting man who just can’t afford to be his own man under the weight of a powerful institution like the Vatican. Allegedly, the Vatican is just as corrupt and full of politicking as any other institution of power in the world. Just watch ‘The Young Pope’. And if it wants to remain closed to the LGBT, there’s no amount of ‘who are we to judge’ that will change that.

    And that’s really disappointing.

  2. yinkss
    December 13, 08:32 Reply

    I feel what we need is love, and toleranceas a “human being” not as
    a Christian or Muslim. it’s obvious both religions are against us regardless of those that practise it,it’s in their holy books.. but despite the differences, so many people of different religion are able to coexist peacefully several parts of the world. So all we want from them is tolerance, ability to live our life the way we want, without looking over our shoulders!

  3. Bryce
    December 13, 10:56 Reply

    Where is Francis?.
    Don’t tell me this is not an obvious “PP v Religious People” yarn.
    I knew he was leading up to something when he put up that first one two days ago.

    @Post,this has been thrashed out several times.The Catholic church does not allow sex of any kind,gay/straight or in between,among its priesthood.
    It has been like that for centuries,not anything about “degrading of LGBTQI”.We may as well say they are degrading the institution of marriage.
    To the best of my knowledge, no other church officially allow gay priests,though they allow married straight ones.That double standard is what we should be up against,not of an institution that tries to maintain its historical “fair” standard.
    Let the Catholics be,abeg

  4. Dimkpa
    December 13, 17:50 Reply

    I think it is pitiable that it has reached the stage where we are insulted and we welcome it because of religion.

    @Bryce, the issue is not about celibacy but rather the suitability for priesthood. It can be argued that since Catholic priests are required to be celibate, then sexuality shouldn’t matter because no priest will have sex no matter his proclivities. The Vatican has however said we ashould human beings are unable to have appropriate relationships with ‘either men or women’. In other words you are a flawed human being but I guess it sounds better when insults come from the church.

    In making that assertion we are all labelled pedophiles. That is the consequence they warned about. But of course that is all fine and good because the mouth that uttered it is holy and infallible.

    I wonder whether this means that they don’t have faith in the power of God to change those ordained for priesthood. Is this an admission that the one in the sky cannot set gay priests on the ‘straight’ path despite being all powerful, all knowing and ever present?

    My views on religion are not in question but I support equality for everyone in any endeavour. If straight men with all their perfection are good enough for priesthood, then gay men in all our imperfections should be good enough as well.

    It is sad that we still don’t get that.

    • Bryce
      December 13, 22:28 Reply

      Your views on faith are well known,but even this is quite the contortion from you.
      The report specifically mentioned those “who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture'”.In other words,those who can’t hold their sexual urges in check and support the,shall we say,’fly’ way of life some gays are known for,which,as I’m sure you know,is quite opposite to church teachings,be you straight or bent.
      How you now made the leap to pedophilia presents an interesting peek into how human mind works when casting about for excuses to support a position.

      There have always been gay priests in the Catholic church,but some,like Cardinal O’Brien (I’m sure you’ve heard of him),had put the church in untenable positions in the recent past,by not being able to stick to the oaths they took.
      So yes,if you’re a practising homosexual and find it difficult abiding the the Church’s no sex rule,don’t join the priesthood.Same measure apply to the practising heterosexual male.That is equality.

      • Rapum
        December 14, 10:10 Reply

        Oga, your church is homophobic. Stop flailing in the air. Nobody is asking you to quit worshiping, though. Chill.

        • Bryce
          December 14, 23:21 Reply

          My church is….why do I even bother.

  5. Whitney
    December 13, 21:27 Reply

    My take is this:
    *present deep-seated homosexual tendencies*. I think the Church means here that it rejects the ordination of effeminate men as priest, as they hold the very characters of homosexuality.

    There are obviously thousands of gay priests. Some of them are sexually inactive with respect to the celibacy while others practice it behind closed doors. The Church is aware of them.

    Truly, it’ll be so absurd for me to go to Church and see a Rev Father on the altar throwing up wig and slicing words. I think it’s better this way. The church does not have a sex meter to check if someone is having sex or not. So a gay can be priest but must learn how to erase the gay tendencies.

  6. IBK
    December 14, 00:15 Reply

    Oh.. some of us are still on this.

    *sings RAIGN’s Heaven help me*

  7. DarkSide
    December 14, 08:11 Reply

    The Catholic Church does not support the use of condoms, in spite of the HIV pandemic. And we are hoping they will shift grounds on this? It will take another 500 years. Be dia…

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