It’s Not New, It’s Not Exciting

“OMG, OMG, OMG. Did you hear what the Pope said about gay people? Did you? DID YOU? This is a sea change! It’s so important! He’s said something amazing and groundbreaking!”

Now, please raise your hand if you’re, like me, getting tired of hearing people take a throwaway line and try to make it sound like it means that a man who has historically been a homophobe in one of the most homophobic organizations on the planet is suddenly all buddy-buddy with the LGBT community.

For those who missed it, on the way home from Brazil, Pope Francis held a press conference on the plane where he was remarkably candid about a number of topics. One of them was about homosexuals.

They say they exist. If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society.

Now, people have heard this and thought “Wow, this is such a change!” Hate to be the one who ruins the fun happy Pontifex Pleasure Party, but this is not a change. This is status quo.


Thus begins my newest post on Queereka about why it’s not a big deal what the Pope said and why we really should be less willing to praise what is basically just standard human decency.

5 thoughts on “It’s Not New, It’s Not Exciting

  1. Honestly, to me it sounded like he was denying LGBT people even really exist. The entire comment was loaded with “If” language.

  2. I half agree, half disagree. It is indeed the status quo per the Catechism, but is very different from Benedict’s position and comes after the Pope appointed a gay priest to an important office in the church hierarchy. Under Benedict, official catechism or not, if it came out that a priest in the Vatican hierarchy was gay, that priest would not have just lost his position, but likely been defrocked and excommunicated.

    What’s different isn’t what the pope is saying, but that his actions are reflecting his words. The fact that by doing so he is extending the bar minimum of human decency shouldn’t be a big deal. But it shouldn’t be a bit deal when my father says “I realize I shouldn’t have done htat,” about trying to force me to have my rapist at my wedding. Yeah, he really should be saying “I’m sorry.” he really shouldn’t have done that in the first place. But the fact that he’s willing to admit that he was wrong is still a big deal – even if isn’t a fraction of what he should be saying. Same thing here. What the pope is saying isn’t nearly what it should be, but combined with appointing a priest that he knows is gay to a high position? Well compared to whats come before, it’s a big deal.

    • I don’t see how it’s significantly different from Benedict’s position, except that Benedict was more honest about it. Francis still considers “homosexual acts” to be a sin and will not do anything that can be considered approving of them, so putting a nice face on his oppression is functionally no different. If you’re punching me, I see no difference in whether you’re also calling me names or being very polite while doing so. Similarly, appointing a gay man to a high position is good for that one person, but it does nothing for the LGBT community unless the Church bends to social pressure or begins to exhibit actual empathy, neither of which is well precedented.

      I get that when an organization that is known for how despicable they are on certain issues is slightly less despicable, it’s a big deal. That being said, it doesn’t merit plaudits. At best it deserves to be treated with unadulterated shock, at worst with angry jeers at such blatant political bullshittery. There’s no room for patting the Pope on the head like a toddler who just figured out how sharing works. He’s a grown man, an educated man, one who knows the struggles LGBT people face and is getting a PR handjob for saying that they shouldn’t have to (duh) while perpetuating policies that cause those very problems.

      • I agree with both of you. Francis’s comments are a step in the right direction, but the Catholic Church clearly still has a long way to go. I don’t care what people think about homosexuality and whether they think it’s good/bad/indifferent. I care how they treat other people. At least he’s saying “make nice with gays,” even if he hasn’t tried to change policy yet or apologized for the RCC’s past treatment of gays. And to be fair to most Catholics, they’re on the side of equality, whatever some homophobic self-proclaimed “Catholic” might be telling them. 54% of Catholics support marriage equality. The Catholic Church is going to have to adapt or die. I think they’ll very slowly adapt.

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