Has Hell started to freeze over? Will the Westboro Baptist Church start to protest priest ordinations of the Catholic Church? Will New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan seek redemption here on earth before heaven?
As Pope Francis is whirling about the planet, as he seeks a humble motif of his most powerful religious office, it is the small things that count. When asked about the “Gay Lobby” within the Vatican the Wall Street Journal reported the Pope replying, “Who am I to judge.”
On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that homosexuality was not a sin. The caveat is that homosexual acts are the sin, not being gay.
The church is opening up to allowing homosexual priests and nuns within its ranks while creating a rift between the conservative and liberal arms of the Papacy.
This is the same problem the Church of England, the Episcopalians, are having when the two sides clash on how to read they holy writings.
We can speculate as to why the Pope made this declaration. Maybe it is his life in Brazil as opposed to Europe. Maybe it is more humble tendencies. Maybe he is a bit more of a Humanist than his predecessors. It really does not matter; the doors have been opened.
What will be interesting will be the Protestant and Baptist communities and the religious-right who read their scriptures with more venom then the religious-left. I am not speaking of the extremists like Fred Phelps and the Westboro congregation, but the more “mainstream” mega churches which claim non-denominational status. These bastions of conservative religion and politics will read the Pope’s comments as a threat to their religions.
As a secular humanist and atheist, I welcome the Pope’s comments and position. I am leery of Cardinal Dolan’s statements, which need to be read with a magnifying glass to check between the lines. I wonder what the true position of the church may be if a priest admits to his homosexuality; will he be reassigned to a gay parsonage? Will the individual parish accept him? How about the lesbian nun and teacher at the Catholic grade school? How will the parents treat her?
Pope Francis has opened a door that he will not be able to close. For me, I want to pull that door open, block it and let the Church enter the 21st Century.