Perhaps But Only One Step Forward
During a wide-ranging impromptu press conference while returning from the Papal visit to Brazil, when asked, " Pope Francis rhetorically answered, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis asked, and went on to say, ""You can't marginalize these people." While most reporting on this story accentuate the reformist postion of the Pope on homosexuality, Catholic Culture
commented the Pope's statements, "were widely interpreted by reporters as an acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood. But in fact the Pope’s comments were addressed to different questions. According to Catholic Culture the Pope, "... had been answering questions from reporters on two sensitive topics: the reported existence of a “gay lobby” at the Vatican, and reports that the newly appointed prelate of the Vatican bank, Msgr. Battista Ricca, had been involved in past homosexual scandals."
However, responding to a question about ordaining women, the Pope relied upon the policy of his predecessor, stating, ""On the ordination of women, the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed."
Excerpts from the press conference –
From Catholic Culture.org
Thus the Pope did not address the issue of whether homosexuals should be ordained to the priesthood. He did not contradict the existing Vatican policy, set forth in a 2005 instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education, stipulating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained.
Nor did the Pope dismiss concerns about a "gay lobby" at the Vatican. On the contrary Pope Francis acknowledged-- as he has in the past-- that the existence of a lobby is a problem to be addressed.
Read the full story on Catholic Culture here
From The Wall Street Journal
Fielding questions from reporters during the first news conference of his young papacy, the pontiff broached the delicate question of how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active. For decades, the Vatican has regarded homosexuality as a "disorder," and Pope Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI
formally barred men with what the Vatican deemed "deep-seated" homosexuality from entering the priesthood.
"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. "You can't marginalize these people."
Read the full story on the Wall Street Journal here
From The New Christian Reporter
"There's a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I've never seen it on the Vatican ID card ... The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers."
Women in the church
"A church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother."
"The role of women doesn't end just with being a mother and with housework ... we don't yet have a truly deep theology of women in the church. We talk about whether they can do this or that, can they be altar boys, can they be lectors, about a woman as president of Caritas, but we don't have a deep theology of women in the church."
"On the ordination of women, the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed."
Read the full post on The New Christian Reporter here.
Other reporting on the Papal news conference –
Huffington Post, "Pope Francis On Gays: Who Am I To Judge Them?"
ABC News, "Pope Shifts Church's Tone on Gay People"
The Washington Post, "In shift of tone, Pope Francis reaches out to gays, says he won’t judge gay priests"