Pope Francis said what now?

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word “gay.”

That’s a bit suprising.

Let’s start with just those last five words, which may be the biggest departure in tone from his predecessor. “Who am I to judge?” wasn’t something we heard much, if ever, from Benedict XVI — a guy who seemed to enjoy heading up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the “Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition,” really) and then changed his name so that it included the word “edict.”

(EPA photo) “If you’re a seeker and you need a guide, someone to counsel you so you can find your way forward into a spiritual realm. And you’re on an airplane. Don’t look in first class.” — John Patrick Shanley

“Who am I to judge?” seems like a pretty un-pope-like thing to say. Francis, after all, was literally enthroned by his denomination as the final arbiter of all matters apostolic. He was given a hat, a scepter and a ring all symbolizing that judging is pretty much his job description. But one of the things it’s hard not to like about Francis is that he doesn’t seem overly impressed with hats, scepters, rings and thrones — and even less so now that he’s the one wearing them and sitting on them.

“Who am I to judge?” is, taken by itself, good Baptist theology, so I have to applaud that part.

This also creates a happily awkward situation for the bishops over whom Francis is bishop. Many of them — particularly here in America  — seem enormously impressed with hats and throne and scepters. “Who am I to judge?” is not a question one expects to hear from them, except maybe in order to quickly answer it themselves: “I’m the bishop, that’s who — so you’d better listen.”

Now that the pope himself has given this question his blessing, it would be nice to see it redirected toward some of those bishops. “Cardinal Dolan, who are you to judge?”

Based on some of Francis’ other recent comments, I’m not sure this subversive effect is wholly unintentional. The pope’s comments above, after all, were made on his way home from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, where his message to political leaders was “dialogue, dialogue, dialogue” and his message to tens of thousands of young people was a commission to “make a mess” in their dioceses.

Actually, according to Mary Hunt, his invitation to those young people was to become troublemakers:

On July 25, in a rousing speech to young people, he stated: “quiero lío en las diócesis,” which the English language press prissily translated as a plea for the youth to “make a mess.” I suspect that those more familiar with the Argentine way of speaking would have rendered it “go ahead and ‘screw up,’” though that is a bit unseemly for a pontiff. What Francis appears to have meant is that he wants young people to shake things up in their local situations as they manifest their faith.

Sara Benincasa’s take isn’t as hyperbolic as it seems: “New Pope Wants Kids Wilding in the Streets,” says the jokey Wonkette headline. But it’s only half-jokey. “A young person who does not protest, I do not like,” Francis said in Rio.

I’m with him on that bit, too, although I also agree with Hunt when she says of such protests and mess-making: “Whether the institutional church will permit much of it remains to be seen.”

Francis also had some good things to say about poverty and the environment, but the biggest media splash surrounded the comment at the top of this post. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” is where most of the reaction is focused.

That initial big splash came from the idea that this comment indicated some kind of big change in Catholic teaching or practice regarding LGBT people. Here I’ll take what will probably be my one and only opportunity to agree with both Fr. Geoff Farrow and Al Mohler who both note — one with dismay and the other with delight — that Francis’ remarks leave the teaching of the Catechism unchanged and unchallenged.

Father Farrow’s response is worth reading in full:

“If someone is gay…” Substitute the word “straight” for “gay” and you begin to see the problem; in fact, whenever an issue arises regarding gender orientation, simply do that: Substitute the word “straight” for “gay.” Does the statement still make sense?

Farrow has, for many years, been making a mess and protesting, and that hasn’t gone over very well with the bishops or with Francis’ predecessors, so he’s not inclined to give the new pope partial credit for at least changing the tone of his remarks. Changing the tone without changing the substance, Farrow says, “is a way of appearing to change everything without changing anything.”

He’s got a point. A change in tone without any change in substance is, well, insubstantial.

But perhaps it’s not completely insubstantial. The substance of Catholic teaching and Catholic behavior toward LGBT people needs to change. But the tone needed to change too. It matters less, but it still matters, that Francis spoke of someone who “is gay,” rather than of someone who is “homosexual” or who is “intrinsically disordered.” It is, at least, a step back from the silly authoritarian semantic games in which church leaders claim the right to define others as othered. Accepting the language that others use for themselves is a tiny step in the direction of coming to terms.

But, yes, still a relatively insubstantial step. It might mean something, I suppose, if the folks from Westboro Baptist started waving signs that read “God Hates LGBTQI People,” instead of what their infamous signs usually say now. That would be an improvement of sorts, but still a far cry from good.

So my response to this comment is much like Grandmere Mimi’s, “I don’t see the pope offering hope for any change in practice. The pope’s tone is more pastoral than previous popes, but that’s about it.” She also links to a Daily Mash bit that flips the script nicely:

A gay man has said that although Pope-ish acts are bad, a Pope-ish orientation is not.

In what his friends claim is a softening of his stance on Popes, 38-year-old gay chef Tom Logan claimed he was fine with them as long as they didn’t do any Pope stuff.

He said: “If a person is a Pope but has good will, who am I to judge them?

“And it would be even more ridiculous if I were to say that then continue by telling Popes how to behave.”

That’s pretty good Baptist theology too.

Think Progress’ Igor Volsky reports on Cardinal Tim Dolan’s damage-control efforts following Francis’ remarks:

But the Cardinal hasn’t always followed his own advice and has repeatedly condemned the rights of same-sex couples under the guise of love and support for the gay community.

After lobbying against New York’s marriage equality law, Dolan prohibited by decree any Church personnel or property from being utilized for same-sex marriage ceremonies under penalty of “canonical sanctions,” calling the state’s law “irreconcilable with the nature and the definition of marriage as established by Divine law.” He has also compared the “threat” posed to marriage by gays and lesbians to that of polygamy, adultery, forced marriagecommunist dictatorships, and incest. …

Again, we now have a set response every time Dolan says stuff like that, or whenever he calls the cops to keep gay Catholics from attending mass: “Who are you to judge?” Is he claiming to have more authority than his boss? (I seem to recall his boss’s boss also had something to say about judging others.)

William Lindsey offers his own initial response to the pope’s remarks, and his response to the response in U.S. Catholic media:

When the leaders of powerful Catholic institutions that determine what’s considered normative begin to include openly gay voices, when they ask gay and lesbian Catholics to give our testimony in official conversations that count for something in the real world, and when they begin to be willing to listen respectfully to what we have to say, even when our testimony calls on these  leaders to confront their own unmerited privilege and the way in which they have inflicted pain on fellow Catholics they have long treated as the other, I may begin to hear the words of Francis about what John Allen calls “homosexuals” with ears open to hope and joy.

He’s also got a good round-up of other thoughtful responses.

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  • Grey Seer

    …dude.

    That feels like a slightly ridiculous way to encompass my reaction to all of that, but it’s a good starting point.

    I mean, I have very little respect for the idea of the Pope on general principle, and I’ve been greeting everything each one in turn says and does with increased cynicism, but this… actually might get through anyway.

    Granted, some actual, physical work to back up the positive words would be excellent, but I think this is a pretty fantastic step forwards in it’s own right. Because there are sympathetic and genuinely nice Catholics who have opposed the authoritarian and (at times) outright evil acts of their greater hierarchy, and one of the biggest problems facing them has always been the lack of official support.

    Only, you know, now there looks to be a very good chance that the freaking POPE is on their side, willing to back them up and encourage others to do the same.

    So, overall mood… surprisingly optimistic.

  • If you listen to Dolan on the Charlie Rose Interview on CBS July 30, the pope cannot change church teachings, but only clarifies them. WTF happened to the infallible pope Mr. Prince of NYC who brags in his blog that he flies around in his Billionaire “friend’s” borrowed private jet. Care to identify your Friend Timmy? He is treating this new South American pope as if he has come to cut his grass at the Bishop’s Palace at 452 Madison Ave.?

  • TomSatsuma

    I’m not holding my breath – call me a cynic but a new pope, seeing how unpopular the old pope’s homophobia made him, tosses a bone to the gay community without actually doing anything? Sounds like a PR move that we won’t see again now.

    He’s still head of the most powerful homophobic lobby group in the world.

    I’m afraid “well done for only being a little bit homophobic” isn’t really in my vocabulary

  • I remain unimpressed. At best, Francis is just softening the harsh rhetoric that became par for the course under the previous two popes; Francis remains deeply orthodox. If you want further proof that he’s not about to make any meaningful changes regarding teachings about gender and sexuality, see the comments he made in that same press conference when asked about women becoming priests: “That door is closed.” I think misogyny and heterosexism (homophobia) are deeply connected, and if Francis is unwilling to challenge institutional sexism, he’ll be equally unwilling to make substantial change regarding teachings on sexual orientation.

  • Michael Pullmann

    The new pope is, so far, behaving more like Jesus than the old pope.
    Then again, look at the old pope…

  • AnonCollie

    As a long suffering Catholic, struggling with the tatters of faith I’ve got left in the church, this fills me with a spark of hope that we’re finally, *finally* moving in the right direction, even if it’s just a small step.

    Francis definitely shows that he’s not the gilded monarch Benedict was, and to a lesser extent JPII. He’s got the entrenched bureaucracy running scared of his reform committees, and he’s taking a very Ignatian view of poverty and solidarity, which as someone who was Ignatian educated is awesome.

    This statement doesn’t change the church’s position on LGBT people overall. But it shows Francis to be the compassionate pontiff the Church needs right now, instead of a Benedict-esqe Oligarch.

    Dolan can run all the damage control he wants; it doesn’t matter. The message is very clear that despite how dark the night’s been, the first few flecks of dawn are finally showing themselves on the horizon.

  • Figs

    I think pressure needs to be kept up, of course, but I also think that even meager steps in the right direction need to be acknowledged, especially from organizations as ossified as the Catholic church. If the Pope decides that this statement is good enough and that’s all he’s going to do, then I’ll be with everybody else saying that it means nothing. But I’m willing to wait and see what the follow-up is, and if it’s more steps, even if they’re very small and even if it’s only a trickle, that will still be a good thing.

  • Ursula L

    Who is he to judge? He’s the pope, that’s who.

    “Who am I to judge” is certainly fine Baptist theology. And Baptists organize themselves so that no one has the right to judge, and no one has the authority to impose religious rules on others.

    But the Pope isn’t Baptist. He’s the Catholic Pope. He has the authority to set policy and rules for that denomination. And saying “who am I to judge” is a moral cop-out, evading his responsibility to set good rules. If he thinks that gay people are being unfairly judged, then it is both within his authority an therefore his responsibility to set policies and rules that correct the problem. To judge that gay people are being hurt, and judge those who are hurting them as doing wrong.

    He does not have the moral right to pretend that he’s part of the Baptist laity, part of a denomination that has rejected hierarchy. To pretend he’s someone who doesn’t have the authority and responsibility to set the rules by which people are judged within the organization.

  • aine

    Infallibility only applies to certain statements about doctrine, made in a particular way and carefully reviewed beforehand, in case his holiness accidentally contradicts any point if church teaching. It has only been done two or three times ever. Bishops try very hard not to contradict him in public, but they’d be allowed to, for any ordinary comment made by the pope.

  • VMtheCoyote

    …I’m glad I’m not the only one whose first thought was along the lines of “Let’s see Dolan’s hands now.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m sorry, what did we accomplish here?

    He still says we’re only okay if we live a destructive lie and follow his particular god. And that’s after cloaking his entire comment in “If” language that, to me anyway, made it sound like he doubts we exist at all.

    But this time he dressed it up in prettyful sounding language, so…I guess that’s a change?

    His comments on women were horrible, as expected.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And once was in a game of Scrabble.

  • Ursula L

    This reminds me of him suddenly saying that Argentina should have civil unions – when it became clear that it was inevitable that marriage equality should pass.

    Something that superficially looked like an improvement, but actually would have been a step backwards if the law was passed as he wanted rather than it was written, and seemed mostly designed to derail the process rather than an actual change in what he considered the appropriate way for society to function.

    In saying “who am I to judge” it superficially looks as if he’s avoiding casting judgment against gay people.

    But gay people are already being judged and harmed by the Catholic Church. By refusing to judge himself, he leaves the status quo intact.

    It’s like when the US Supreme Court refuses to hear a case, leaving a lower-court ruling in favor of the status quo in place. The refusal to judge is, in itself, a judgment in favor of the status quo.

  • LL

    The new pope guy clearly hasn’t been told how this religion thing is supposed to work. Judging is, like, the bulk of his job description. Telling other (non-celibate) people how to conduct their sex lives, telling women (the people with vaginas) what they’re supposed to do with the vaginas, cozying up to rich people against the poor people, telling the poor people to do what their betters tell them and be humble and happy in their poorness … I don’t know how an obvious Communist rabble-rouser got through the Vatican filters.

  • Ursula L

    It’s a political evasion.

    He likes the current rules, and doesn’t want to change them.

    But he doesn’t want the bad publicity that would come with explicitly saying that he supports the status quo.

    So he says “who am I to judge” which superficially looks non-judgmental, but which is actually a voicing of his judgment that the current rules are fine and do not need to be reviewed and revised.

    He can no more say “who am I to judge” than someone on the Supreme Court can say “who am I to judge” about the case in front of them. Even abstaining from the case has a real effect on how the world works.

  • John Small Berries

    As Cardinal Bergoglio, he “strongly [affirmed] church teaching on the intrinsic immorality of homosexual practices, though he [taught] the importance of respecting
    homosexual persons. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to give legal equivalency between true marriage and
    homosexual partners. He has also insisted that adoption by homosexuals
    is a form of discrimination against children.”

    Seems like he thought he was in a position to judge back when he was only a Cardinal; as far as I’m aware, he has never walked back those positions.

    As to “the importance of respecting homosexual persons”: as you’ve pointed out more than once on this blog, it doesn’t matter how nicely or respectfully you tell someone that they don’t deserve the same civil rights as other people; you’re still a “bad guy”.

    And asking “Who am I to judge?” avoids actually stating a position one way or the other. Everybody judges. Everyone (except, possibly, sociopaths) has a moral framework against which they compare the actions of themselves and others, whether they announce it publicly or not. He’s weaseling out of either reasserting positions that he expressed as a Cardinal, or recanting those positions.

  • Yeah, “new pope doesn’t say anything avowedly homophobic, continues church policies unabated” isn’t the most heart warming news. Hey, let’s give him a cookie, he didn’t say anything shocking or appalling!

  • VMtheCoyote

    Alternatively, he doesn’t like the current rules, but knows he has to take this in small pieces, and start by making things less awful, rather than not awful at all.

  • Salvatore

    if every one becomes Gay who will give birth to who.

  • The Leaf Blower is in the garage Jorge. And don’t forget to wash your hands before and after touching it. lol

  • LoneWolf343

    At this rate, he’s going to end up saying that there are “no hard feelings” over the Great Schism.

  • Ursula L

    I’m not sure that he has to take things in small pieces.

    He’s not subject to impeachment or recall. He doesn’t have to worry about reelection. He’s a monarch, not an elected leader.

    The conservatives who believe in hierarchy will feel obliged to obey him, because they believe in the concept of hierarchy. Liberals who support QUILTBAG rights aren’t going to complain if he takes an aggressive position on reform.

    And if he’s not willing to take risks to do what is right, he gets no credit for being right.

    Words that aren’t followed by policy changes are meaningless. And his words were chosen to avoid addressing the problems with policy, rather than to address them.

  • LoneWolf343

    1.) You don’t “become gay.”

    2.) Why would everyone have to become gay?

  • Figs

    I’m not a Catholic, but I think this is at least a little bit of a misunderstanding of the purview of the Pope. Yes, he’s a monarch, but I don’t know that you could accurately say that any Pope has the authority to immediately and unilaterally override the history of his church no matter how much he disagrees with it. But again, this is just my impression, I could be wrong.

  • Carstonio

    I appreciate Father Farrow’s point that the moral theology separates sex from relationship. While I wouldn’t label that type of sex as immoral, I agree that sex in a relationship tends to be more emotionally fulfilling. I’m far from an expert on Catholic doctrine, so I can only go with my suspicion that the separation of sex from relationship is largely about gender roles, what the Church calls sexual complementarity. Natural law can mean anything that anyone wants it to mean, and at best the definition that Farrow quotes treats procreation as the highest good.

  • Becca Stareyes

    It’s all part of the Vatican’s secret plan: occasionally have a pope with appalling PR skills so the next few popes look good simply by saying relatively non-offensive things and not being compared to movie villains.

    Disclaimer: I doubt that was the reason the other cardinals actually chose Cardinal Ratzinger to become Pope. If it was… ouch, man.

  • Becca Stareyes

    Given the number of same-sex couples who desire children and then arrange for gamete donors and surrogate mothers… I don’t think that’s a problem, save for cutting down the number of unplanned pregnancy. Oh, noes, now every child will be born into a world where his/her parents wanted and planned (and laid down some cash or prevailed on a friend for a favor) for his/her existence! How terrible!

  • Francis campaigned against equal marriage and adoption rights just a few years ago. I suspect the only reason he has said this was because the context was gay priests, who are to remain celibate anyway — if the context were gay parishioners, the message would probably be “being gay is acceptable, provided one doesn’t act on their unnatural desires.”

  • William Dhalgren

    You must find homosexuality very tempting if you’re worried about everyone becoming gay. Downloaded grindr yet?

  • To say nothing for the advances in genetic research which have already provided us with lab experiments where two animals of the same sex have produced offspring. In another decade or so, we’ll probably be seeing this extended to humans.

  • The conservatives who believe in hierarchy will feel obliged to obey him, because they believe in the concept of hierarchy.

    What of the conservatives who believe in hierarchy only insofar as it supports their love of power over others, and their hate? I’d be willing to bet that if Francis came out tomorrow and said “The Catholic church does not believe that homosexuality is a sin, or birth control, we’re ordaining women as priests, and every current priest, bishop, or cardinal who’s been involved in a sexual abuse scandal is going to be excommunicated,” one of two things would happen.

    Either his mic would be cut off, and he’d be declared insane or possessed, or be disappeared or whatever, and they’d elect a new one… or about half the Catholic church would up and leave, founding their own new hierarchy that let them oppress as they wished. They’d almost certainly fail, since “We don’t want to give up our power and bigotry” isn’t exactly a rousing statement of faith, nor likely to attract lots of followers… but it would still be disastrous for the church. I think Francis is in a position a bit like Abraham Lincoln’s. He knows things have to change, he wants things to change (I assume – his disdain of opulence speaks volumes in his favor), but he is taking things slow, because he also wants to keep the church unified.

    Like Lincoln, the rest of us rather wish he’d just do the right thing already, but I have some sympathy for his position.

  • Becca Stareyes

    Probably easier when at least one partner has a uterus*. I’d also suspect it’s easier on egg cells, since sperm cells don’t have much beyond a nucleus, a cell membrane, and a flagellum.

    * Hey do you think Salvatore counts a cisman and a transman (or a ciswoman and transwoman) as a same-sex couple? Assuming the transperson hadn’t had surgery and was willing to forgo hormones for a while, sie and hir partner could conceive without outside assistance.

  • Hexep

    I agree with this entirely. The Pope is supposed to be the Supreme Representative of God; he is supposed to give commands and his subjects to tremble and obey them. His scepter is symbolic of a mace, of a weapon – he’s supposed to take it up and beat people with it, for those occasions when justice and rectitude demand bloodshed, until they are powerless to resist his decrees.

    To wash his hands of his rightful bailiwick – of his duty, predicated on the highest oaths, sanctified by sacred regalia, to give and expound laws – is simply irresponsible. If he had a problem with the demands of the job, he shouldn’t have taken it.

    When you are called to lead, lead – or else get out of the way, for someone who will.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    What’s wrong with who giving birth to who? Are you some kind of grinch?

  • Yeah, right now the assumptions are two female partners, but it’s also theoretically possible to perform the procedure with male sex cells and deposit the resulting zygote in a surrogate womb.

    It makes me wonder what affect this will have on genetic diversity.

  • AnonaMiss

    And if everyone went to the same restaurant on the same night and ordered blintzes, there’d be chaos!

  • Ursula L

    He may not be able to instantaneously override all of church history.

    But that is very, very far from being so powerless that all he can do is say “who am I to judge.”

    There are all kinds of way in which he can set policy, and effect change.

    He can instruct his subordinates that lay church employees are not to be fired for being in committed same-sex relationships, and that economic benefits of employment, such as health insurance, are to be extended to same sex partners in the same way in which they are extended to married partners. (Not recognizing a religious marriage, but honoring the social nature of the relationships.)

    He can instruct his subordinates that they are not to investigate the sexual orientation of lay church employees, and that anonymous accusations that an adult employee is in a consensual same-sex relationship with an adult are to be discarded.

    He can instruct that when his subordinates talk about things like condoms, they must do so in a way that affirms the scientific consensus on how they help limit the spread of disease, rather than the lie that condoms are ineffective.

    He can do a lot.

    And saying “who am I to judge” is a way of deliberately doing nothing.

  • Figs

    I’m not at all trying to say that he’s doing everything he could possibly do. I don’t know where you got that idea.

  • sidhe

    Argh, the Pope. This Pope. Better than Pope Palpatine, yes, but I can’t tell if he’s serious or just trying to do damage control after the previous Sith Lord.
    On the one hand, he spurns opulence and seeks to emulate Francis of Assisi; even as a pretty hardline pagan, I’m down with the original Francis. Pope Francis speaks of the problems of income inequality, wealth distribution, etc. I like that.
    On the other, he says things like this, that are a more progressive way of saying the status quo. While its a step above “disordered persons,” it’s not “hey, you’re okay and I think you deserve equal legal rights!” or even, “Hey, you’re not okay by my religious rules, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve secular legal protection and right!”
    Then he comes down hard on the idea of ordination of women. Yes, it’s Tradition, but appeal to Tradition is a fallacy for good reason.
    I suppose that he’s so all over the place is actually a good thing, overall, since it indicates someone who at least is independent of influence from either extreme. But I’d really prefer it if he was influenced by the extreme I agree with. ;)

  • Figs

    I’m genuinely curious, do you know of any precedent for a pope coming in and inside of a few months outright contradicting something proclaimed by just about all previous popes? I think the ban on ordination of women is silly and harmful, but I just don’t know that people are setting expectations reasonably here. I know I sound like an apologist, or a concern troll, and I don’t want to. I would fully support such a move. I’m just saying that from inside the frame of the Catholic church, is there any precedent for expecting wild swings in fundamental theology from one pope to the next?

  • MMorse

    This…is a joke, right?

  • sidhe

    Oh, there’s no precedent for such a radical change, but his words of that door being “closed” left much to be desired. It didn’t even get the pleasant rephrasing of the comments on homosexuality.

  • mcc

    The problem is that we had what seemed like a sorta reconciliatory/inclusive pope, and then we had a very fire-breathing exclusionary pope, and then now we have what seems like a *very* reconciliatory/inclusive pope. Excceppt… from where I’m sitting, in terms of church *policy* and how the church uses its influence, nothing changes from administration to administration? All that seems to change is the public statements of the Pope, personally. A point Fred makes is that the Pope changing his mind doesn’t change the mind of the bishops, but from my perspective the internal mechanics of *why* the Catholic church doesn’t seem to change much when the Pope says something are entirely uninteresting. From my perspective the important thing is that the Pope’s comments, nasty or nice, seem to be effectively PR which effect nothing except the kinds of news stories written about the Catholic church.

    In short: Does the Pope saying this mean I can stop worrying about whether I’m going to be allowed to attend my grandmother’s funeral? At the moment, no, it would seem it does not.

  • Figs

    Sure, I get that. I just don’t know how much of the comments about the door being closed are his explicit agreement, and how much is sort of the stare decisis of popes, you dig?

  • Daniel

    How exactly would they do that?
    And it’s “who would give birth to whom”. And I don’t think “gay” has to have a capital letter- it’s not trademarked or a proper noun.

  • mcc

    “2.) Why would everyone have to become gay?”

    OBAMACARE.

  • Daniel

    It’s like his earlier amazing comments about atheism- it’s ok, just wrong. Basically the message is “If you’re gay, fine. For now. One day you’ll realise it’s gross and then you’ll stop, but I’m tolerant enough to let you work out how bad it is on your own. I’m certainly not going to tell you.”
    What a progressive guy!

  • Daniel

    No, I don’t think it is. Hexep makes reference to the Pope’s “rightful bailiwick”. There’s nothing even remotely humourous about that term. Particularly not “washing his hands of his rightful bailiwick”. I imagine the Pope desperately scraping Sark from off his fingers.

  • general_apathy

    Who’s giving birth to who? We just don’t know anymore! Babies giving birth to adults! Madness, rioting in the streets! Dogs and cats living together! (and also it is a gay dog and cat)

  • sidhe

    I dig. I think the irony of the situation is that, regardless of the personal politics/views of the individual holding the office, the papacy requires upholding prior ex cathedra statements. Even if – say – Hans Kung became pope, his actions would be constrained by the definition and requirements of the office.