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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pope Francis reached out to the gay community in a press conference on Monday that marked the end of his trip to Brazil.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked. “We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.”

While this did not officially shift Church policy, it represented a marked difference in tone from Pope Benedict, who proclaimed in 2005 that men with “homosexual tendencies” could be barred from serving as priests.

Francis’ comments also stand in stark contrast to Virginia’s attorney general and Republican nominee for governor Ken Cuccinelli, who does think it’s his place to judge.

In a debate earlier this month, Cuccinelli said, “My personal beliefs about the personal challenges of homosexuality haven’t changed.”

The term “personal challenges of homosexuality” is a little judge-y.

But what are his beliefs that haven’t changed?

”When you look at the homosexual agenda, I cannot support something that I believe brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul,” Cuccinelli said in 2008.

The Republican is also pursuing enforcement of a law banning sodomy, though the Supreme Court declared such injunctions unconstitutional years ago.

So we have a Pope who wants to be inclusive and nonjudgemental of gay people and a GOP nominee who condemns gay people and wants to make their private sex acts — and private sex acts enjoyed by nearly all Virginians — illegal.

The Vatican is obviously a little bit better at rebranding than the GOP.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

  • Sand_Cat

    For all the flaws of the institution he leads, the pope (or this one, at least) is sane and compassionate, and actually acts in good faith. Not sure any of these apply to the idiot in Virginia.

    • FredAppell

      Considering they both come from different denominations, I’m not sure what one has to do with the other anyway. One is Catholic and the other is probably one of the Protestant sects. I’m sick and tired of anyone that tries to rationalize and justify having a separate set of laws for different members of our society. The wealthy and powerful get to enjoy special conditions while they deny others of some of their most fundamental rights.

    • jointerjohn

      I want to see this pope as sane and compassionate, but the organization to which he has dedicated his life makes that difficult. I think he is smart, in that he sees Catholic membership declining sharply, sees that young people don’t share it’s medieval positions, and is trying to steer the ship away from the iceberg of ideological obsolescence. Churches set, (or change), their positions on social issues based on head count and moreover the collection plate.

  • Dominick Vila

    Being more progressive than Cuccinelli, a man whose brain cell stopped evolving in the Middle Ages, doesn’t mean much. The comments that Pope Francis has been making since he became Pope, and his actions, especially his inclination to be close to the poor and the destitute, say a lot about his character and introduces a ray of hope in an institution known for its intransigence and refusal to change its ancient doctrine.

    • JDavidS

      Idi Amin once professed tolerance for his opponents and we know how that turned out. Right now it’s just talk, and as they say “talk is cheap”. Let’s wait and see if there’s any action to back up the flowery prose.

  • Allan Richardson

    One issue on which the Church has refused to move into the 20th century, much less the 21st, is reproductive medicine. The Catholic Church, and some more extreme Protestant denominations, use an out-of-context reading of Genesis 38 to label ALL intentionally non-fertile orgasms as mortal sins, affecting not only gay people, but good married heterosexual couples. Namely, saying ALL forms of birth control except the not-too-reliable “rhythm” method are sinful; and if they fail, abortion at ANY time, even prevention of implantation with the “morning after” pill, is sinful; and that such “sins” ought to be punished BY LAW, or at least the law ought to make them harder to “commit.” And this at a time when public health is threatened DIRECTLY by HIV, and by pregnancy without adequate (i.e. expensive) prenatal care, and INDIRECTLY by increasing the population. The Church has historical “excuses” on the use of law to enforce Catholic sexual ethics (which killed that young Indian mother in Ireland recently by delaying surgery until she and the fetus both died of sepsis), but in America the churches are NOT supposed to interfere with each others’ beliefs by using the law. Yet American conservative politicians are making not only abortion but preventive health care (and ironically, prenatal care for women who ARE trying to have a health baby) almost inaccessible by the working poor. One governor just signed such a law after PROMISING in his election campaign that he WOULD NOT sign such a bill. Oh well, the Ninth Commandment can be broken for the sake of enforcing the other ones, right?

  • John Smith

    The headline of the article is cute but misrepresents what the Pope said. The writer seems to have glanced that the headlines about the Pope’s comments – not the only writer to make that mistake – and voila! – the Pope is a liberal! The Pope was not changing Church policy, was referring to abstinent gay priests (not exactly a liberal position there, dont ya’ think) and otherwise was being open but hardly groundbreaking. I understand the temptation to have a cutesy story that allows someone like Cuccinelli to be the bad guy, but this isn’t it. Next time try to remember the idea of “accuracy is important.” You won’t look so stupid.