In his latest move on behalf of the LGBT community, Pope Francis addressed non-traditional parents and their children in a meeting of Catholic leaders in November 2013, saying the church needs to change the way it reaches out to a new generation.
“How can we proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing? We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them,” said Francis at a meeting for leaders of various religious leaders.
Pointing to the changing social and cultural landscape, Francis spoke about children with non-traditional families, such as those with separated parents, or those growing up in an LGBT household.
“The percentage of children studying in schools who have separated parents is very high,” he said in the meeting, held on November 29. “The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult to understand.”
“I remember the case of a very sad little girl who finally confided to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: ‘My mother’s girlfriend doesn’t like me,’ ” Francis said, according to La Civilta Cattolica, an Italian Jesuit magazine, which published Francis’ remarks this week.
The pope’s mention of a lesbian mom made headlines this week, as it’s the first time homosexual parents have ever been addressed by the Catholic Church without the damnation that has traditionally accompanied such remarks from church leaders.
Although the example of a girl who is seemingly rejected by her mother’s girlfriend is not the most positive light that can be shed on homosexual parenting, speculation has soared as to whether this remark is part of a new trend for the Catholic Church, one that will end in LGBT inclusion.
It started with the Pope’s infamous statement back in July 2013, when he responded to a question about gays with “who am I to judge?”
With that one line, hope was born for a resolution between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church.
That hope inspired the Advocate, a leading LGBT publication and community stronghold for over forty years, to name Pope Francis their person of the year, a decision which lead to much controversy within the gay community.
The hope, however, is alive and well. While Francis isn’t throwing open the doors for LGBTs within the Catholic church, he is definitely leading the church on the way towards a different relationship with queer material.
Even though Vatican officials were quick to point out that the pope did not in fact endorse homosexual unions, and many catholic leaders continue their longstanding opposition to advances for LGBT rights, the fact remains that Francis seems dedicated to changing the church’s stance on this, and many other issues.
Although a full apology for the pain and trauma caused by labeling a large population of people “sinners” because of their inherent nature is highly unlikely in the near future, it is quite possible that, in order to catch up with the times, the church may soften its loud, brash voice of damnation and replace it with a quiet headshake of disapproval.