Pope Francis' comments on Gay Tolerance
Pope Francis’ comments regarding homosexuality, made during his flight home from the first papal visit to Ireland for 40 years, seem to show more forbearance than his predecessors but still fall short of a true understanding.
His direction to parents of children who show signs that they may be gay to show tolerance towards their children and not to condemn them is a big step forward for the Catholic Church. However, the implication and the belief that early psychiatric intervention could change gay children seems to be a backward step.
The Pontiff has, of course, a very big issue to deal with in the shape of the abuse scandal that dogs the Catholic Church which continues to be unsatisfactorily addressed. Pope Francis showed gay abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz compassion for his situation telling him that In May this year “the Pope loves you this way. God made you like this and He loves you”. Pope Francis has also spoken of his own ministry to gay and transgender people, insisting they are children of God, loved by God and deserving of accompaniment by the church. However, he does apparently think that whilst gay people should be respected, loved and not discriminated against, homosexual activity is 'intrinsically disordered'.
The Pope was, of course, welcomed by the first gay Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who told him Ireland had 'modernised' its laws by legalising divorce and same-sex marriage. Mr. Varadkar pointed out that Ireland was changing and that families come in many forms including those headed by a grandparent, lone parent or same-sex parents or parents who are divorced.
The softening attitude by the Catholic Church towards gay and transgender people is a welcome shift but there is still some way to go as many stalwarts of the Church will not share the more enlightened attitude.
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