05 December 2018, The Tablet

How the Pope's latest remarks on gay priests show a shift to a conservative mindset


Catholics have been on a journey these last 50 years regarding homosexuality. Attitudes have changed almost beyond recognition. It may even be possible to begin to discern a shift in the sensus fidelium under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Not everyone is on the same stage of that journey, however, and it may not be unfair to position Pope Francis himself towards the back of the pack – even though, with his “Who am I to judge?” remark when asked about gay clergy in the Vatican, he has himself helped to move the middle ground of Catholic opinion.

His latest contribution to the debate indicates a more conservative mindset, but more by tone than substance. In a long interview just published in book form, Francis says he is worried about homosexuality in the priesthood: “In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church.”

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