Gay rights groups are cautiously cheering a shift in tone from the Catholic Church toward homosexuals, encouraged that Pope Francis’ famous “Who am I to judge?” position has filtered down to bishops debating family issues at a Vatican meeting this week.
There is no discussion that church doctrine on homosexuality will change or that the Vatican will soon endorse gay marriage or even gay unions. It will not, as the Vatican’s top canon lawyer made clear Thursday.
But for the first time, a Vatican meeting is discussing gay and lesbian issues and how to provide better spiritual care to Catholic homosexuals. Day after day, bishops have spoken of the need to change the church’s language about gays from words of moral condemnation and judgment to words of welcome and respect.
“I think what we’re seeing is a crack in the ice that we have been waiting for, for a very long time,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group. “It’s a sign of a first step.” Continue reading