On his return flight from Brazil, Pope Francis spoke with the press corps, taking on controversial questions about the power of the “gay lobby” in the Vatican. The Pope said, “Who am I to judge a person of good will who seeks the Lord?” He elaborated that the problem is less that these people are gay, but that any lobby should exist in the Vatican, which contains many pressure groups and rivalries.
The Pope was strict, saying that those who commit criminal acts should be punished, but also noted that if a sinner confesses, he must be forgiven, “When the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets.”
Under Pope Benedict, Bishops were instructed to be biased against homosexual clergy candidates, but Pope Francis has suggested that homosexuals are no more likely to betray vows of celibacy than heterosexuals.
The mere fact that the Pope has made these remarks makes it more difficult for Catholic organizations to discriminate against homosexuals, and also for leaders within the Church to speak out against homosexuality.
Homosexual acts remain sinful in the eyes of the Church, as does all sex outside of the confines of marriage, but the vision that Pope Francis holds makes those who practice homosexuality not inherently enemies of faith.
The Pope has said that he expects a revolution in dioceses all around the world, and with his leadership and teachings on equality, it just might be possible.
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