Whoa. The Pope Basically Out in Favor of Gay Rights

This is big. Asked a question yesterday about the alleged “gay lobby” that protects priests in the Vatican, Pope Francis gave what is undoubtedly the most progressive papal response ever regarding gay rights.

When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”

Speaking to reporters at the end of an eight-day trip to Brazil, Francis was similarly open to the idea gay priests and clergy, while reinforcing the Church’s condemnation homosexual acts; Pope Benedict XVI, by contrast, signed a 2005 document that decreed gay men could not become priests. It’ll be fascinating to see if Philly Archbishop Charles Chaput responds in any way. He’s been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage–and he’s got a weekly column. But this is the leader of the Catholic Church we’re talking about, a man with a direct line to God. [NCR]

This post has been updated.