Column: An increasingly accepting Church

Following the demotion of Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Catholic Church is making significant steps toward accepting the LGBT community.

“Homosexuality” has long been synonymous with “sin” in the Catholic Church. It was clear that previous papacies and their administrations did not support the LGBT community in any way. The Catholic Church, however, seems to be turning over a new leaf under the more progressive Pope Francis.

Pope Francis demoted American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is now a former Archbishop of St. Louis. Pink News reports he now has a more ceremonial job as the patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta. He was known as one of the most extreme anti-gay advocates in the Catholic Church. Bustle stated that Burke recently called for parents to protect their children from gay relatives. He has also made several verbal attacks on Pope Francis’ papacy.

Although the cardinal was most likely removed from his position solely because he was attacking the Pope, this is still a large step forward for the Church. They are finally taking some action against the very vocally, and sometimes violently, homophobic figureheads they have in administration. Hopefully, this demotion will serve as an example to other members of the Church, the clergy and the laity, concerning their hatred of the LGBT movement. The Church is becoming more concerned with spreading love and compassion than with announcing sinful acts.

Pope Francis has been a positive influence on this more accepting Church. The Christian Post reported that in his first in-depth interview in September, he called on the Church to show “respect, compassion and sensitivity” to homosexual members of the Church. However, this does not mean that he fully accepts the LGBT community or homosexuality, as he reinforced his support of the views of the Church, which currently denounces same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, the Pope has opened up discussion on the subject that has long been avoided or steadfastly opposed within the Catholic community. According to The Advocate, Pope Francis invited leading American evangelical preachers to the Vatican later this month to discuss their opinions on marriage equality.

In addition, the “Relation post disceptationem,” a document that the Synod of Bishops released in September, solidifies that though marriage in the Catholic Church is still defined as a union between a man and woman, the Church should begin to accept homosexual individuals into worship.

Never before has this subject been discussed in such a positive light within the Catholic community. Pope Francis and his administration are certainly bringing in a more liberal and open Catholic Church.

There are still issues with the Church’s stances on LGBT issues, however. Pink News reported that though Burke has been demoted, he is being replaced by French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, who is still very conservative and anti-gay, but less extreme in his viewpoints.

The Catholic Church has made some headway into becoming a more compassionate and open-minded church in recent years. They still have a long road to travel to ensure complete justice, but they are moving in the right direction.

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