Pope Francis, in his vague baby-step efforts to bring the Catholic church past Medieval Times, has issued the Amoris Laetitia, a 256-page missive that, according to The New York Times, “calls for priests to welcome single parents, gay people and unmarried straight couples who are living together.”

Advertisement

This includes possibly more liberal decrees on the way priests deal with divorced Catholics, setting forth “a path” to allow them to accept Communion, but unfortunately halts at any more progressive views—including same-sex marriage. The Times:

Echoing the report issued by the second synod in 2015, Francis’ exhortation says that “every person regardless of sexual orientation” should be treated with respect and consideration, while “every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.”

But in the next section, he states categorically that the church cannot countenance same-sex marriages or unions, citing the second synod’s final report, which said “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

The document “does not inspire joy in L.G.B.T. Catholics and their supporters,” said Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group for gay Catholics.

The slow inching towards just a touch of progress, but never enough, is often cited as a reason the church is bleeding members, and the fact that the idea that divorced Catholics might finally get some reprieve within it seems big is indicative of how archaic the Vatican’s views remain. Yet Pope Francis, who’s as “progressive” as any in the history of the church, seems to waffle on the topic of gay inclusion and perpetually hedges on gay marriage, behind much of the world in which its parishioners live, something church leaders and its members find confusing.

Advertisement

“While not expecting a blessing on marriage for lesbian and gay couples, many were anticipating that Pope Francis would offer an affirming message to L.G.B.T. people, and not the same ill-informed comments,” said Mr. DeBernardo, who is based in Maryland. “Where is the Pope Francis who embraced his gay former student and husband during his U.S. visit? Where is the Pope Francis who invited a transgender Spanish man for a personal meeting at the Vatican? This Pope Francis is hard to find in his latest text.”

Chill Pope, not all that chill; at least my divorced mom will be stoked.


Image via Getty