Pope Francis took a leaf out of Obama's evolving opinion book and announced Monday that he isn't going to "judge" gay priests anymore. “If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has good will," Pope Francis reportedly said, "who am I to judge?”
"I have yet to find anyone who has a business card that says he is gay," he added. (Business idea!)
The move is the latest in a string of efforts by the brand-new Pope to prove that he's down with the kids. Since he was appointed less than a year ago, the Pope has cracked down on pornography and sex crime within the Church, promised his Twitter followers a short-cut to heaven (yes, really) and has now (almost) placed himself in the gay-friendly camp.
The relationship between Catholics and homosexuality has been fraught for as long as there have been Catholics and gay people — so, a really, really long time. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, gravely noted that he felt that men with "homosexual tendencies" — if that's what he wants to call it — shouldn't become priests at all.
Francis made the comments during a press conference on a plane trip between Brazil and Rome. (We told you he was down with the kids.) The pope and a small army of reporters were returning from Brazil's World Youth Day. We're not sure if he had taken advantage of the duty-free bar, but during the 80-minute conference, Francis reportedly made a series of statements to confirm his title as Most Progressive Pope in a Series of Dinosaurs:
1) He said women should have a greater role in the Catholic Church too...as administrators. He's still not into female priests. “The Church has spoken and says no … that door is closed," Pope Francis said.
2) He doesn't have anything against gays, and wants them to be treated with dignity. He added that God would "forgive their sins." (This is what progressive passes for when you're a pope.)
3) He joked — joked! — about the former Vatican accountant who tried to embezzle 20 million euros.
It's not all fun and games in the Vatican, though. When this statue went up in Argentina this month, the Pope apparently made a "very angry phone call" and demanded it be removed.
We don't really blame him...