As the United States celebrates gay pride, marriage equality enters its first year, and the world partakes in solidarity for those lost in the Orlando shooting, Pope Francis is issuing his own personal decree to fellow Christians: apologize for marginalizing LGBT citizens.
After a holy trip to Armenia, Pope Francis bluntly stated that the Catholic Church, as well as other Christians, needed to apologize to gays and lesbians for “not having comported itself well many times, many times” and called all Christians “sinners” for ostracizing them for so many years:
“I believe that the church not only must say its sorry … to this person that is gay that it has offended, but it must say it’ sorry to the poor, also, to mistreated women, to children forced to work. When I say the church: Christians. The church is healthy. We are the sinners.”
When responding to questions regarding German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who suggested the Church apologize, Francis doubled down:
“I will repeat the same thing I said on the first trip. I will also repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that [gay people] should not be discriminated against, that they have to be respected, pastorally accompanied. The matter is a person that has that condition [and] that has good will because they search for God. Who are we to judge them?”
Francis, using anecdotes from his younger days in Argentina, praised the shift of acceptance, saying, “The culture has changed — and thank God! Christians; we must say we are sorry many times; not only on this.”
These are the Pope’s strongest words yet in favor of a broader acceptance of LGBTQ in the Church. As Republican lawmakers, many of whom are Catholic, continue down a generous and hateful road of bigotry and discrimination, the real Catholics (including the leader of the church) are standing firm against hatred and bigotry.
Although not an endorsement of unions of love between same-sex couples, a big step in the right direction – yet again – no doubt. A culture of acceptance makes way for endless possibilities.