The conclave has ended and there is a new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. The first pope from the Americas, he has chosen the name Pope Francis and is being introduced to the world now. While many people were hoping for a new and different direction related to the Vatican's relationship to LGBT people, it does not seem to be the case.
GLAAD's President Herndon Graddick responded to the news of the election of Pope Francis and said, "For decades the Catholic hierarchy has been in need of desperate reform. In his life, Jesus condemned gays zero times. In Pope Benedict's short time in the papacy, he made a priority of condemning gay people routinely. This, in spite of the fact that the Catholic hierarchy had been in collusion to cover up the widespread abuse of children within its care. We hope this Pope will trade in his red shoes for a pair of sandals and spend a lot less time condemning and a lot more time foot-washing."
When covering the history of the man who became Pope Francis, GLAAD reminds the media to keep Bergoglio's past comments on LGBT people close at hand.
- On Marriage Equality: “Let's not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just it's form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
- On Adoption: In 2010, he claimed that adoption by gay and lesbian couples was a form of discrimination against children. His rhetoric was so strong that Argentina's President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, said his tone was reminiscent of "medieval times and the Inquisition."
Bergoglio is quoted by several media outlets as teaching "the importance of respecting individuals who are homosexual." But it's hard to understand what respect looks like to someone who calls LGBT people 'a 'move' of the father of lies."
A pope who continues to tow the same party line that scapegoats LGBT people for the continued sex scandal in the Roman Catholic Church is a bitter disappointment for Catholics and LGBT people around the globe. Jesus never once condemned LGBT people, but the message coming from the Vatican is nothing but constant condemnation for who people are and who they love.
GLAAD will continue to call out the Vatican's anti-LGBT language and actions, as well as raise the voices of the vast majority of Catholics who are supportive of their LGBT friends and family.