Pope Francis has spoken openly about homosexuality. In a recent interview, the pope said that homosexual tendencies “are not a sin.” And a few years ago, in comments made during an in-flight interview, he said,
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
However, the pope has also discouraged homosexual men from entering the priesthood. He categorically stated in another interview that for one with homosexual tendencies, the “ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”
Many gay priests, when interviewed by The New York Times, characterized themselves as being in a “cage” as a result of the church’s policies on homosexuality.
As a scholar specializing in the history of the Catholic Church and gender studies, I can attest that 1,000 years ago, gay priests were not so restricted. In earlier centuries, the Catholic Church paid little attention to homosexual activity among priests or laypeople.
Open admission of same-sex desires
Source: A thousand years ago, the Catholic Church paid little attention to homosexuality : The Conversation
Widespread public shock followed the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse. In fact, as I know through my research, the Vatican and its American bishops have known about the problem of priestly pedophilia since at least the 1950s. And the Church has consistently silenced would-be whistleblowers from within its own ranks.
In the memory of many Americans, the only comparable scandal was in Massachusetts, where, in 2002, the Boston Globe published more than 600 articles about abuses under the administration of Cardinal Bernard Law. That investigation was immortalized in the 2015 award-winning film, “Spotlight.”
What many Americans don’t remember, however, are other similar scandals, some even more dramatic and national in scope.
Doubling down on secrecy
Source: The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia – and silencing would-be whistleblowers : The Conversation
The pope has flown home after a roughing-up in Ireland. Just a few years ago it was unimaginable that a gay taoiseach would dare berate a visiting pontiff face-to-face about the “dark aspects” of Ireland’s history and “brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic church”.
Leo Varadkar’s magnificent assault eviscerated his country’s past cultural capture by the church. “The failures of both church and state and wider society created a bitter and broken heritage for so many, leaving a legacy of pain and suffering,” he said. “It is a history of sorrow and shame.” The sorrow is not just for victims of monstrous priestly abuse, but the abuse of an entire society in thrall to clerical oppression: lives crimped, warped and blighted, no escape from the church’s domination of everything. The best Irish literature breathes that pernicious incense.
Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland had the opposite effect of the healing intended: it set a seal on the liberation of a nation broken free with its votes on same-sex marriage and abortion. Varadkar’s government plans to loosen the grip of the Catholic church over primary education, ripping out indoctrination by the roots.
The pope apologised for the “grave scandal”, for the failure “adequately to address these repellent crimes” that “remain a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community”. But the Irish horrors are beyond apology, the women enslaved in Magdalene laundries, babies snatched into forced adoption, and 800 children’s bodies dumped into a cesspit at a convent in Tuam. For thousands revealed to have been abused by Catholic priests around the world, whose crimes were covered up by bishops and the Vatican, no mere apology will do.
Source: The culture of respect for religion has gone too far | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian
The pope addresses a crowd of half a million people in Dublin at the closing event of a fraught two-day trip to Ireland, which has been dominated by the issue of sexual and institutional abuse in the Catholic church. In his penitential prayer, the pope listed specific forms of abuse, including sexual crimes and forced or coerced adoptions.
Source: Pope Francis makes plea for forgiveness in Dublin as Ireland trip ends – video | World news | The Guardian
Pope begs forgiveness for abuse scandals as Ireland trip ends | The Guardian
Pope begs forgiveness for ‘state of shame’ inflicted on Ireland | Reuters
I remember the last papal visit to Ireland. It was 1979, and I was aged 13. I went to a Christian Brothers school. I sang at mass every Sunday, occasionally did readings, and the youth group I attended every week took place in a convent.
I remember being envious because my older brother and sister got to see the pope, but I didn’t. I was in the minority in that regard: a staggering 75% of the population saw John Paul II during his three-day visit. One-third of the population attended the papal mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. That event remains the largest single mobilisation of people in Irish history.
I remember the most iconic moment of the visit, during a youth mass in Galway. The pope’s voice booming out across a crowd of 300,000 young people as he proclaimed: “Young people of Ireland, I love you!” I remember the ecstatic cheering of that huge crowd in response. And I remember my own heart feeling like it might burst as I watched it all unfold on television. I believed him. He loved us. No one had ever said that before. It was huge.
Eighteen months later, I was raped for the first time by a Roman Catholic priest. The abuse continued for two and half years, until I was 17, and I fled. More than a decade later, I finally found the strength to report those crimes. That complaint would eventually lead me to uncovering the crimes not just of one priest, but the cover up of the crimes of many others by bishops, cardinals and even popes. It led to me suing a pope in an effort to force the Vatican to tell the truth of what it knew about the rape and abuse of children by its priests.
Source: I was raped by a priest, then it was covered-up. The pope has to tell the truth | Colm O’Gorman | Opinion | The Guardian
I suppose it is a start in the modernisation of the Catholic Church, for it has only taken some 20 centuries to create some progress, how many more centuries for more.
Pope Francis has extended indefinitely the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortions, making the announcement in an apostolic letter released Monday.
Source: Pope Francis extends power to forgive abortion – CNN.com
Pope Francis has created a commission to study the historical role of female deacons in the Catholic Church, the Vatican’s press office said.
Source: Pope Francis creates commission to study female deacons – CNN.com
Pope Francis took three families of Syrian refugees back to Rome on Saturday after visiting the frontline of Europe’s migrant crisis at a camp in Greece where migrants wept at his feet, kissed his hand and begged for help.
Source: Pope returns with 12 refugees after visit to Greek camp | Reuters