In light of the shooting in an Orlando Gay Club that left 49 dead, LGBT sentiments run high. The recent gay pride parade in NYC has proven that LGBT approval is at an all time high. Even the papacy has taken notice. Pope Francis has publicly stated during a press conference that the church should seek forgiveness from those that they have marginalized including homosexuals. In the press conference, Pope Francis also touches on other subjects including the Armenian genocide as well as women’s rights. But of course the biggest news is that which concerns LGBT and their marginalization from a large group of Christians. This is a huge departure from the traditional views of previous Popes.
Of course, the current Pope has become quite famous for thinking what seems like worlds apart from his predecessors. For instance, the previous Pope Benedict XVI publicly said Catholics are “obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions” and he even took it once step further saying, “has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against” those unions. Where LGBT unions have already been legalized Pope Benedict said that the politicians in charge must actively oppose it.
Pope Francis has shown us that the church can in fact be progressive, and in certain cases humble. Pope Francis’ desire to mend relations with people that was previously thought to go against Christian teachings is an olive branch. More than just wanting to mend relations, his statement even seems to imply fault lies with the church. Whether individuals in the LGBT community will take him up on his offer of peace and forgiveness is still unclear.
What is clear is the fact that the church is headed in a very different direction with Pope Francis at the helm. He even has his own twitter account by the handle @Pontifex. He actually uses his account too and rather frequently. He also owned a personalized iPad before it was auctioned off at a charity to benefit a school in Uruguay. The iPad went for more than $30,000 in case you were wondering. Pope Francis also refuses to live in the Papal Palace where Popes have lived for more than a century. He takes on a much more humble apartment next to St. Peter’s Basilica. There is a much more humble intonation from the church today. An eagerness to join the rest of the world in order to lead it. A gentle push has never been the church’s strong suit, but perhaps Pope Francis will lead the way.