Well, well, well…this is a refreshing change of heart:
ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT — Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.
What? No “Burn in Hell!”? No “God hates fags!”?
Whatever is religion coming to?
God, is what.
Yes, there are plenty of things from yesterday’s Papal press conference(!) that we can criticize, such as the “investigation” into a monsignor on his staff on pedophilia charges, but this position, seemingly unqualified and unconditional, leaps off the page.
People of all colors, creeds and orientations struggle to find meaning in life. Even atheists have been known to try and answer what is essentially a spiritual dilemma: What’s the point?
For me, for this Christian, the Pope strikes the right tone about religion. It’s a voyage of self-discovery. It’s about finding a place for one’s higher power in one’s life, because let’s face facts, there are times you need one, and wish you had one. Maybe it doesn’t answer your questions or solve your problems, but a god or goddess or enlightened plane or what have you help you get ready to get through and then past a crisis.
Many of my friends, scientists and realists, are atheist (or at least agnostic) and I respect them for that, but a lack of a system of faith is, well, still a system of faith, since none of us can ever really know the answer to the ultimate questions we all have.
Even Francis has tacitly endorsed atheism. It’s not about holding a book or hands folded in prayer, it’s about how we all behave towards one another.
On that point, I believe we can all find common ground.