by Tommi Avicolli Mecca
A new day at the Vatican? Could be. At least a little bit of sunshine has been allowed to fall into dusty old windows and halls that have rarely seen much light in the past twenty centuries.
Returning from Armenia in his papal plane, Pope Francis told reporters on the day after millions celebrated LGBT pride in the U.S.: “I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended, but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons.”
"The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times,” he also told CNN. “When I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners!”
Many were quick to praise the pontiff, especially on the gay issue. After all, they’re not used to the head of the Catholic church saying things like that. Church leaders have, for a very long time, condemned homosexuality in no uncertain terms, even referring to it as intrinsically evil.
Apologies are fine.
As a queer atheist man who, as a child, sat in Catholic school being told by nuns that there was something wrong with me because I was effeminate, not to mention having the brides of Christ watch silently as kids in class called me “sissy” and “faggot,” I want more. I want action.
I want the church to change its teaching on homosexuality. I want every reference to us as sinful or sick or evil stricken from its Catechism. I want the Leviticus line about a man lying with a man and any other anti-gay reference in the Bible disregarded. I want nuns and priests to teach children in Catholic schools that being queer is no different than being heterosexual, and that transgender people should be accepted for who they are.
I want the church not only to stand up for the poor, but to push for ways for them to become self sufficient, especially in terms of being able to take or buy back lands stolen from them with the blessing of Holy Mother Church in centuries past.
I want the church to support fair trade co-ops, increased minimum wage, unions, and anti-child labor laws. I want it to support worker strikes.
I want the church to work actively against all wars and against the proliferation of weapons. The Vatican should be encouraging more priests and nuns to become future Daniel and Philip Berrigans, two anti-Vietnam War priests who at one point were arrested for breaking into an induction center and burning draft records.
Apologies mean a hell of a lot more if they are backed up with actions.