We're recruiting new authors! To find out how to apply, click here!
Site under maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Freedom Requires Wings FRW The #1 QUILTBAG opinion blog on the web. We aim to open minds and help the queer community. News, blogs, video, worldwide suicide prevention and more. Worldwide

Don't Hate Pope Francis!

Freedom Requires Wings | by on




Today I am going to be slightly controversial, but that is because I’m annoyed. As I’m sure you will know (unless live under a rock in the middle of Australian outback, perhaps) a new pope was elected last week, Pope Francis. He is the man who will lead the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and naturally, he has a lot of opinions about things. It comes as no surprise that one of the things he feels strongly about is homosexuality.

Argentina, the country from which he hails, is one of the few countries in the world where same sex marriage is legal, although he and other members of the Catholic Church vehemently opposed it. He has also spoken out against same sex adoption: “At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God.” However, it is also known that he teaches that homosexuals should be respected, and this is what I’m going to talk about now.

In the few days since Pope Francis’ election on Wednesday I have seen some members of the LGBT community, who I usually respect, complaining about and ridiculing him. There have also been a lot of comments along the line of ‘oh no, not another homophobic pope’, and there are two things I would like to say about this.

First of all, are you honestly surprised that this man doesn’t condone homosexuality? He’s a 76 year old man who is at the very top of the Catholic Church. When he was born in 1936 homosexuality was still illegal in a vast majority of places, and it continues to be far less acceptable within religious circles, of which he is clearly a major part.

When I was talking about all this the other day, someone said a very sensible thing, which is that in fifty years, when members of my generation make up world leaders both secular and religious, then we will perhaps have a pope, and a church, who accepts homosexuals and same sex marriage. Let’s not be annoyed by what we have (unsurprisingly) been given, but instead let’s try and work with it. You may ask why we should work with this apparently homophobic old religious guy, and that is the second thing I would like to address.

My perception of Pope Francis is that he is a sensible man. He seems smart, humble and a generally decent guy. He seems like someone who you could sit down and have a normal conversation with. He seems like someone who is a good listener. My suggestion, therefore is that instead of vilifying this man for his beliefs, and instead of sitting around ridiculing him and complaining, we actually engage with him and talk to him. This is the person we have, so let’s make the best of it.

We know that he at least teaches respect for homosexuals, and we also know that he thinks social justice is an important issue. He advocates morality and mercy. He supports the poor and works with HIV/AIDS sufferers. He doesn’t seem to be someone who dismisses people and issues out of hand, and I think that we as a community can work with him, and as someone who has so much worldwide influence, I think it’s important that we do that.

It may not be easy, and there will be major differences that need to be set aside and overcome, but surely it is important to engage with someone who has the potential to either persecute or listen to us? If we show respect and a willingness to cooperate then we will get much further than if we sit around grumbling and mocking.

Of course there is always the chance that he won’t listen and he won’t engage, but I don’t think that this is likely. This man seems far more approachable on a human level than perhaps his predecessor was, and maybe there is some small chance that by the end of this papacy, LGBT people could have a voice which gets heard at least within some parts of the Catholic Church.

For those of us who are religious, the complainers and those who sigh and say ‘oh no, not another homophobic pope,’ before ignoring the man for the next few years, are only detrimental to our image and place within a community that means a lot to us. Where there are opportunities to take a positive step towards equality, we have to take them, and I am of the firm belief that this is one of those opportunities. And even if our attempts to reach out do fail this time, at least we’ll have tried, and we’ll try again and again until we finally do get someone to listen to us, because that is the best way forward from here.

< > F
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter