- March 13, 2013
Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
Today the Cardinals of the Catholic Church hierarchy exited their conclave announcing Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the new Pope. Now Pope Francis, he is the new leader of the 1.2 billion member Church. Dr. Sharon Groves, director of the HRC Religion and Faith Program made the following statement.
“We congratulate Pope Francis in his new position as leader for the Roman Catholic Church. As Pope, he has enormous power to be a source of spiritual healing for millions around the world. But for him to be the best kind of spiritual leader, he must acknowledge the signs of the times and embrace LGBT people as worthy of dignity and respect. American lay Catholics are fully supportive of equality, even more so than the broader population. The new Pope should follow the virtuous lead of his flock.
“We hope the new Pope understands the time for religious-based bigotry is not only over, but must be denounced. Demonizing LGBT people and their families from this powerful platform not only fails to keep faith with the most charitable principles of Catholic teachings and the Jesuit tradition of caring for the marginalized, but it does real psychological damage to millions of LGBT people around the world.”
A recent poll from New York Times/CBS News found that more than six in ten American Catholics support equal marriage, compared to 53 percent of the country as a whole.