Pope Francis, a pastor for gay Catholics?

When Argentina debated legalizing same-sex marriage, the cardinal who would become Pope Francis proposed to his brother bishops that the church publicly endorse same-sex civil unions in an attempt to reserve marriage for one man and one woman. What then Cardinal Bergoglio put on the table was a compromise to offer protections to same-sex couples, which he apparently told confidants he believed were needed, while keeping a traditional definition of marriage on the books. His peers balked, and he suffered his only defeat during his time as head of the Argentine bishops conference, according to an article from the New York Times.

Pope Francis Cristina Fernandez

This new detail is but the latest in a string of episodes that is delighting Catholics across the political and ecclesial spectrum (am I the only one to raise an eyebrow at the hourly NPR updates on Francis’s every move?). Francis brings a pastoral sensibility to the papacy, something the more reserved and professorial Benedict XVI wasn’t quite able to accomplish. As pastor to the world’s Catholics, and a moral leader to many others, might Francis bring his pragmatic views on LGBT issues to the global stage? He is poised, if he so desires, to make huge advances for the church in how it treats its gay and lesbian members, all without engaging in the divisive doctrinal battles that would accompany an adjustment of church teaching on sexuality.

First, a simple shift in emphasis. Yes, canon law condemns homosexual acts, but it also calls for unmitigated respect for all people, gays and lesbians included. Yet too often we hear words of condemnation. Imagine Pope Francis preaching, with the power of his office, that gay men and women in the West and, perhaps more importantly, in places like Russia and Uganda, were to be not only tolerated, but loved, and that any laws placing hardship on these individuals was indeed unjust.

via Faith Fix.

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