Pope Francis Softens Stance Toward LGBT Community

By Chris Hoenig


Cardinal Timothy Dolan is backing Pope Francis’s comments about gay priests as a “change in tone or emphasis” toward the LGBT community.

In a nearly 90-minute news conference on his flight back from Brazil, the Pope spoke openly and directly about a subject the Catholic Church has long considered taboo and commonly ignored altogether. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them They shouldn’t be marginalized,” Pope Francis told reporters in Italian. “The tendency is not the problem. They’re our brothers.”

Appearing on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, the Archbishop of New York said the Pope was unequivocal in his statement. “He’s articulating well, in a beautifully tender way, the traditional teachings of the church, that while certain acts may be wrong, we would always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity,” Dolan said. “People are always saying, ‘Can we expect, now, changes in church teaching’ Of course, Pope Francis would be the first to say, ‘Well, my job isn’t to change church teaching, my job is to present it as clearly as possible.'”

“A person’s identity, respect, the dignity and love that he or she deserves, does not depend on anything—sexual orientation, how much money we’ve got, if we’ve got a green card or immigration papers, if we’ve got a stock portfolio. It doesn’t depend on anything other than the fact that we’re a child of God, made in his image.”

The Vatican was quick to point out that the Pope’s comments don’t apply only to gay priests, but also to the entire LGBT community. They mark a stark contrast from the hostile tone of Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who signed a document banning gay priests.

Community Welcomes Comments

The Pope’s comments are being welcomed by many in the LGBT community. Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations supporting LGBT people and their families, released a statement supporting the Pope’s “compassionate tone.”

“Pope Francis today uttered some of the most encouraging words a pontiff has ever spoken about gay and lesbian people. In doing so, he has set a great example for Catholics everywhere,” the statement read. “The Pope has rejected the harsh language of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for a compassionate approach and a pastoral tone. Lesbians and gays are no longer a ‘threat to civilization,’ rather they are people of faith and good will.”

Women Still Excluded

Even as Pope Francis opened the door to a better relationship with the LGBT community, however, he left another closed, saying the church will not have female priests anytime soon. While advocating for more leadership roles for women in other activities, the Pope said the ban on female priests is “definitive,” adding, “On the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed.”

Pope Francis did admit that the Catholic Church needs to better develop its understanding of women in the church, suggesting they could work in advanced administrative roles within the church.

Latest News

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…