Post submitted by Adam Talbot, former HRC Deputy Communications Director
While traveling back from celebrating World Youth Day in Brazil, Pope Francis was asked by a group of reporters about gay priests within the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope responded, in part, "Who am I to judge them if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?" In response to these widely-celebrated comments, today HRC President Chad Griffin praised the pontiff but called on Roman Catholic Church leadership to take the next step toward a broader message of support for all LGBT people.
“While Pope Francis’s words do not reflect a shift in Church policy, they represent a significant change in tone,” Griffin said. “Like his namesake, Francis’s humility and respect for human dignity are showing through, and the widespread positive response his words have received around the world reveals that Catholics everywhere are thirsty for change.”
“But as long as millions of LGBT Catholic individuals, couples and youth alike are told in churches big and small that their lives and their families are disordered and sinful because of how they are born—how God made them—then the Church is sending a deeply harmful message. One’s sexuality is an immutable characteristic, and every leading medical and mental health organization has declared that attempts to change or suppress that fact are profoundly damaging. It’s time to send positive and affirming messages to all people, because the Bible is clear. All people have dignity in themselves and in their love for one another. It’s time for Church teaching to reflect that simple fact.”
Rank-and-file American Catholics are broadly supportive of equality for LGBT people—and they reveal a path forward for Church leadership. American Catholics support marriage equality at a greater rate than the general public, with as much as 60 percent of Catholics supporting the legalization of marriage equality in all 50 states.