I’ve not yet had the opportunity to properly study, let alone write sensibly about, Pope Francis’ encyclical “Evangelium Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), but will be doing so extensively, as I see it as of major importance, for the Church as a whole, and for LGBT Cathollics in particular.
To be getting on with, read Frank DeBenardo at Bondings 2.0, who asks (and begins to answer)
How Will Pope’s New Document Affect LGBT Issues?
Pope Francis has issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”). The focus on the document is on renewing the evangelization efforts of the church, which he rightly envisions as the entire People of God. It is a document which does not shy away from examining how church structures, including the Vatican and the papacy, need to reform in order to make this renewal of evangelization possible.
The document does not discuss sexuality, gender, or LGBT issues. In fact, in chapter two, he outlines many of today’s social ills, and unlike the previous two popes, he does not single out any sexuality issues for discussion here. His only reference to these topics is a passing one, and noteworthy for NOT naming any hot-button issues such as same-gender marriage:
“The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born ‘of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life’. ” (chapter 2, section 66)
As we’ve noted before, Pope Francis may not be ready to make wholesale changes in church doctrine on LGBT issues, but he does seem intent on establishing reforms which can eventually lead to such needed changes. While sexuality is not discussed in this new document, there are many topics in it that can pave the way for the church hierarchy to renew itself in regard to these concerns.
Continue reading at Bondings 2.0.
- In Major Document, Pope Francis Presents His Vision – NYTimes.com (nytimes.com)
- Pope Francis calls on Catholics to create more compassionate church (irishtimes.com)
- Pope Francis Slams Unfettered Capitalism: ‘A New Tyranny’ (atlantablackstar.com)
- Pope Francis strikes again (millennialjournal.com)
- Pope says Catholic church must decentralise and tackle poverty (theguardian.com)
- All Catholics must become evangelisers, says Francis in major new document (catholicherald.co.uk)