When Pope Francis I held an impromptu interview on the long flight from Rio de Janerio back to Rome on July 29, 2013, he openly discussed the issue of gay priests in the Vatican.
Some have taken his statements that he was not one to judge gay priests and parishioners as a softening of the official Catholic Church stance that homosexual acts are a sin.
That is not what he said. He said that he would not judge the homosexual tendencies, but that acting on these tendencies was a sin. He also said that everyone deserves forgiveness and respect whatever their sins.
As quoted in a New York Times article posted on July 29, 2013 by Rachel Donadio,
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word “gay.”
You can read the full article by Donadio regarding the Pope’s interview on the plane at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/world/europe/pope-francis-gay-priests.html.
While Pope Francis was taking a more conciliatory road regarding gay priests, the position on having women as priests was clearly and firmly against this happening. Pope Francis laid the blame on the proclamation by Pope John Paul II that women should not be ordained into the priesthood.
Pope John Paul II relied on teachings from the Bible to justify never ordaining women into the Catholic Church. This is a quote from a discussion of these verses that appeared in Catholic Answers.
While women could publicly pray and prophesy in church (1 Cor. 11:1–16), they could not teach or have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:11–14), since these were two essential functions of the clergy. Nor could women publicly question or challenge the teaching of the clergy (1 Cor. 14:34–38).
You can see the full discussion at http://www.catholic.com/tracts/women-and-the-priesthood.
It is a curious twist of logic and theology that has a Pope permitting gay priests but not female priests. This provides a good illustration of the depth of the male chauvinism that is at the foundation of the Catholic Church.
The New Testament was written by men, and inherently assumes male superiority when it comes to matters of teaching and organizational dominance. Pope Francis is not going to make any changes in allowing women into the priesthood unless women begin abandoning the Church at a rate that threatens the Church’s growth.
Many people do not realize that women’s suffrage and spiritualism were tightly linked in the US. Susan B. Anthony led the suffragette movement and was a regular visitor at Lily Dale, NY, which remains to this day a spiritualist community.
Spiritualism provides a major role for women to teach, prophesize, and hold positions of leadership. It is a tradition. Spiritualism does not condemn same-gender relationships, and supports the commitment of two people that are devoted to each other without regard to the sex of the partners.
From a semi-detached point of view, Pope Francis I is making a lot of decisions that address serious problems inside the Catholic Church. While the logic is often convoluted, e.g. allowing prophylactic use to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, but not for birth control, the results are still positive and meaningful.
For those reporting on Pope Francis’ statements, it would be good to listen more carefully and put the comments in context with the fact that Pope Francis remains a conservative male leader of the Church.