Who will be the first American cardinal or bishop to lay off their open gay-hating? I wonder how long it will take the sentiments that Pope Francis expressed in an interview with La Civiltà Cattolica to filter down to real life.
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.
Pope Francis speaks from a place of compassion. This is not something LGBT Americans have been conditioned to expect from Catholic hierarchy. Just a few months ago, for example, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence told followers that anyone simply attending a same-sex marriage ceremony “might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others”.
Stridently anti-gay Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt said just last week that “the redefinition of marriage” is the work of “the Father of Lies”, Satan, and is one “of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization”.
The list of similar horrible anti-LGBT utterances from members of the Catholic hierarchy is almost endless.
So I ask again, who will be the first American cardinal or bishop to embrace Pope Francis’s compassionate message and cease their open gay-hating? Who will be the first to stop reducing gay human beings to sex acts? How long will it take for the Pope’s words to influence those who profess to serve him?