Over the summer, the Pope ignited a firestorm of curiosity with this comment regarding gay priests: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” In a world that largely misses the distinction between SSA as a sin-struggle and LGBT+ as an identity, this remark was widely interpreted as a potential theological shift by the head of the Catholic church.

While the Vatican quickly clarified that church doctrine considers homosexual acts to be sinful, this more complex message was swept over by the rogue wave of five simple words: “who am I to judge?” For weeks, people around the world have been pondering what he actually meant. No other Pope has ever spoken so generously on the topic.

Not surprisingly, curiosity grew so enormous that it became necessary for the Pope to do “another take.” In his latest remarks, he challenges the wider church: “We have to find a new balance. Otherwise, even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” He clarified that the church’s beliefs on homosexuality remain unchanged, but said that it “is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

Pope Francis sees the church “as a field hospital after battle.” He says: “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.” For years, the church engaged gay teens and young adults – who had been ruthlessly bullied for years – with a doctrinal solution to their deep emotional wounds. We attempted to be theological experts when a “Great Physician” was most needed.

This disconnect between the Gospel of Jesus and our posture towards gay people requires what Lead Them Home refers to as a Posture Shift.  Watching this occur at the top of the Catholic church is quite remarkable, and yet moving from words to real action steps is a daunting task for many church leaders. Over the last decade, Lead Them Home has developed a training seminar to train church leaders on effective pastoral care for LGBT+-identified persons and those who experience SSA as a sin-struggle. Contact us to learn more about Posture Shift.    

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