By SIMON COPLAND
When Pope Francis was installed earlier this year many were hoping for a shift in the church’s tone towards homosexuality. It seems like we may have got our wish. In a wide-ranging interview over the weekend, Francis, it was reported, reached out to homosexuals. He said:
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
The Pope has quickly received praise for his comments.
Reverand James Martin commented that ”Pope Francis’s brief comment on gays reveals great mercy.”
Here at home, Australian Marriage Equality said: “While the Pope still opposes marriage equality and thinks homosexual sex is sinful, he has opened up a space for discussion about these issues that did not exist under his predecessors.”
“This is glasnost for gay Catholics.”
I can see why people are happy. His statement is more progressive than anything that ever seemed to come out of Pope Benedict XVI’s mouth. It definitely is a shift from the past years. But unfortunately I’m going to have to hold back from my cheering.
I think the reason Francis’ statement seems so great is because of the difference between him and his predecessor. Benedict, a rampant homophobe, did not hold back during his leadership. At one point he said that homosexuality was as much of a threat to the survival of the human race as climate change. Being better than that is certainly not a high bar to jump over.