Pope will never be ally to LGBTQ
Pope Francis has done a spectacular job of modernizing the Catholic Church and opening it up to ideas and people that it would have turned away in the past. However, the Catholic Church will never be a champion for liberal ideas and social constructs.
As recently pointed out in an article entitled "Pope Francis is unlikely, powerful voice for new generation," Pope Francis is indeed revolutionary. He refuses to live in the hypocritical luxury that many in his position have enjoyed, instead living a life of relative poverty as dictated by his vows. When he visits different countries, he spends his time meeting with impoverished individuals. Just a few days after his appointment, he even washed and kissed the feet of twelve juvenile offenders, including two Muslims. He will clearly not be dedicating his time to politicians and celebrities.
He is also a scholar. In his journey to priesthood he studied philosophy and theology; he focused on social justice — albeit a Catholic brand. He also extensively studied chemistry in high school, although he does not have the "advanced degree” that many people have claimed him to have.
Pope Francis is extremely concerned about global warming, and has criticized politicians and global warming deniers for not taking action to combat its dangerous path. He preaches for peace and forgiveness, denounces absolute capitalism, stresses the need for interfaith communication, and believes that both capital punishment and life imprisonment should be abolished.
At the beginning of his tenure as pope, it also seemed that he might fight for LGBTQ+ rights. "If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him," he said early on, and there were rumors that as a bishop he had supported civil unions. However, the Vatican quickly announced that the Pope did not support civil unions, and the Pope himself said that he still views homosexuality as immoral.
But it still seemed as if the Pope would be a passive ally for LGBTQ+ individuals. His “welcoming” stance is miles ahead of any opinion held by any former Pope, and many gay Catholics found themselves relieved that their church would at least tolerate their identity.
During his American tour, the Pope continued to be his charismatic, happy, typical self. He stopped his caravan to greet disabled children, met with prisoners in Philadelphia, and became the first Pope to visit a Jewish synagogue in the United States.
In the days following his visit, another stop on his schedule was announced and his support for LGBTQ+ individuals crumbled. The Pope met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was arrested for infamously refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court ruling.
When Davis announced that the Pope had met with her in secret, many people thought it was just another lie. Davis claimed that the Pope had thanked her for being courageous and encouraged her to keep fighting. Meanwhile, the Vatican scrambled to cover up its tracks, first refusing to comment and later confirming that there had been a meeting, but the meeting did not necessarily mean that the Pope was expressing his support for Kim Davis.
While it is still unclear exactly what happened during this meeting, the simple fact is that the Pope met with a woman who discriminated against people that he claims to love. The most telling evidence in this fiasco is that the Church attempted to cover it up. It realized that the public would not condone this meeting, yet thought that if it conducted the meeting in secret it would avoid angering people. The Vatican clearly knew that their stance on this particular issue was not favored by popular opinion.
If anyone thought that the Catholic Church would turn into a liberal institution with the induction of the new pope, they unfortunately were wrong. Perhaps the Catholic Church will allow same-sex marriages in our lifetime, but that is extremely doubtful. While it is indeed groundbreaking that the Pope supports acceptance for LGBTQ+ individuals, his opinions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights remain stuck in the past, along with his stance on women's reproductive rights.
While Pope Francis has led the Catholic Church into an evolution to fit the current needs and desires of the Catholic community, he is not the voice of a new generation. He is a symbol of an ancient institution that is struggling with the decision to evolve or face extinction.