Pope Francis will be clarifying his stance on LGBT people in a new book set to be released later this week. In his forthcoming book, The Name of God Is Mercy, the Pope explains a comment he made in 2013 in which he said if a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, “who am I to judge.”
The comment caused a great deal of controversy and had many wondering if the Catholic Church would change its stance on LGBT rights under the new pontiff.
While the book has not been released yet, the National Catholic Reporter is reporting that the Pope explains in his book that with regards to the controversial statement:
“I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized…. I am glad that we are talking about homosexual people because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity… And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love…. I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together… You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show the way, and accompany them along it”
While the Catholic Church has not changed its stance on LGBT relationships, which it objects to, Pope Francis has expressed a different approach to LGBT individuals, a tone that includes more tolerance and inclusiveness than his predecessors.
It is clear more must be done, but hopefully the Pope’s message, both in 2013 and clarified in his new book will help move the Church in the right direction – one that respects tradition, but not at the expense of equality and fairness.