In a move that has all sides of an age-old conflict in some disarray, Pope Francis has written letters to clergy that have served the LGBTQ community where the church would not. Historically, the Church has condemned homosexuality, some say even while participating in it. There are many examples of sex crimes in the church yet what the Pope is attempting to do here is re-affirm that living your faith in a practical fashion is better than living a life of legalism and that this also applies to the marginalized communities of which, LGBTQ is only one.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey writes for the Washington Post:
The pope’s letter follows actions by the Vatican on gay rights that have frustrated Francis’s more liberal supporters. Early in his papacy, he famously declared: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” But he has upheld church doctrine that calls LGBTQ acts “disordered.”
In his letter dated Dec. 10, Francis wrote that Sister Jeannine Gramick has not been afraid of “closeness” and without condemning anyone had the “tenderness” of a sister and a mother. “Thank you, Sister Jeannine, for all your closeness, compassion and tenderness,” he wrote.
Gramick said she started her ministry when she was 29 while studying in graduate school and befriended a gay man who had left the Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church. In his apartment, she organized Mass for gay and lesbian people who had left the Catholic Church.
“When the liturgy was over, they had tears in their eyes because they felt they were being welcomed home again,” she said.
Does this letter from the Pope remove the sin from homosexuality, or is it more of an admonition to the Church at large? The Catholic churches (Roman and Greek-based) still agree that homosexuality is a sin, that all are sinners and no one is better than another because of their particular sin. Yet the RCC is now coming to the point of view of the Eastern Orthodox Catholics in that everyone is still to love the marginalized as they work with them for healing instead of censure.
Read the full article here.