Full disclosure: I do not feel excited or hopeful about what Pope Francis said about women and gay priests during his epic press conference on the way home to Rome.
- Jamie Manson, NCR
Now, wait. Before you click me off as a hater or an incorrigible pessimist or an angry feminist lesbian or another choice label, please understand this: I don't dislike Pope Francis. I think he has an authentic warmth.
I appreciate his desire to be among the people. I laugh at some of his jokes, and there are themes in his sermons that genuinely move me. I share his desire to break down clericalism and the injustices of capitalism, and I believe wholeheartedly in his vision of ecological justice.
More substantively than even all of this, I share with him a deep passion for the poor and marginalized. Like Francis, I, too, have my most vivid encounters with Jesus among those who are homeless, mentally ill, incarcerated or suffering with addictions.
But Francis and I part ways on the topics of women's equality and the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the church. The pope's statements on the plane only reinforced the depth of my disagreement with him.
An excessive amount of commentary has been launched into cyberspace since the news of the pope's comments on women and gay priests hit the Internet, so I'll attempt to give the short, bullet-point version of why I do not share in the hope or excitement of some of my colleagues and friends.
In terms of his much-touted use of the word 'gay,' I believe he used it not so much as a sign of respect but because the word was being used in the context of the rumored 'gay lobby.'
Few people still know what this mysterious lobby inside the Curia is or what precisely they are advocating for (clearly it isn't LGBT rights), but Francis was again clear he was not pleased with this lobby, saying he needed to distinguish whether a person was gay or part of the gay lobby.