By ANDREW COGLIANO
The Catholic Church has been, for many years, infamous for its less than tolerant views of homosexuals, women, and abortion. Abortion was viewed as murder in the highest degree, and homosexuality was considered an abomination and an act of blasphemy. The newly elected Pope Francis however, has shattered these conservative views, most notably in a recent interview with an Italian journalist.
In the interview, Pope Francis was described as “incredibly frank” by the interviewer, who worked for a Jesuit magazine. He said that the church, although it can express its opinions, has no right to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians, according to the Huffington Post UK. Many conservative supporters of the church were outraged by these new views of homosexuality, but the pontiff was quick to dismiss them, preaching that the church has to “find a new balance,” and that it must be “a home for all...not a small chapel.”
In the matters of women, Francis was equally as blunt, saying that women must play a more key role in the decisions of the church. On the subject of women’s ordination however, he stated that “[the] door is closed.” He also admits that “the feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions”, and that the church cannot exist without the role of women, according to BBC interviewers.
In July of 2013, Pope Francis attended World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On his way back to Rome, he made many “explosive comments” about homosexuality, specifically in the Catholic Church. His famous statement “who am I to judge [gay people]?” showed that the gears of the church were in motion as a new order took center stage. The Pope also admits that “it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” and that the church can “lock itself up” in these matters.
The New York Times has called this movement “revolutionary”, even though these facts “do not indicate a change in doctrine”. Worldwide shock has not been dampened by this, however. It is clear that the Catholic Church remains divided into more than just two sides. There are those who support LGBT rights and women’s rights, those who support LGBT rights but not women’s rights, and vice versa, in addition to the stereotypical views of supporting neither. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in an argument against same-sex marriage, compared it to incest, saying saying, "I love my mom, but I don't have the right to marry her." It appears that the general acceptance of gays and women within the Catholic Church will continue to fluctuate, but as long as Pope Francis reigns supreme, big changes are underway.