Pope Francis is always escorted by a huge group of people, and among them, there are always journalists. After a very controversial speech in Armenia, the Holy Man was on the plane leaving the country when he engaged in a conversation with his entourage.

It was then when a reporter asked him about the thoughts of the church about the gay community, and he answered the church must apologize to gays for the many past wrongdoings. This simple statement was heard all around the globe as many gay rights organizations have raised their voice both praising the Pope and demanding action behind those words.

The Pope responding to a question while in his airplane going back to the Vatican. Image courtesy of EPA/Tiziana/Quartz

The sins of our ancestors might be wearing out Pope Francis. He has been addressing very delicate subjects like the Armenian genocide. Even though there is nothing anyone can do to repair the harm done, he is encouraging the sons and daughters of the ones responsible for apologizing. It is a simple and very symbolic act that can mean a lot to some people. During his visit to Armenia, he talked about the genocide and how Turkey should not only recognize it but also, the country should offer a genuine apology.

During his flight out of the country, the Holy Man talked about closer wrongdoings, mistakes that came from the very hand of the institution he represents, the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has lead everyone to believe the all mighty church is changing for good. One of the topics he always approaches is the mistreatment and persecution that homosexuals have suffered in the hands of the church.

Pope Francis said if gay people were looking for God, and had good intentions, then, who was he to judge?

The first time the current Pope shocked the world talking about gay people was when he said they should be accepted in the church. He said if they had good intentions and were looking for good who were they (Vatican authorities) to judge? That was a huge step forward who opened the doors for many gay people that had been fighting for a long time to be allowed in the Christian and Catholic communities. But he didn’t only talk about the mistakes the church had made regarding people’s sexual orientation. He also said the church must apologize to exploited women, poor people, and children that had been forced into labor.

The words of the Pope are very specific which would make anybody wonder what he is talking about. Well, in January this year the Holy Man visited Uganda, a country famous for its many and severe problems. He was there to try and comfort the people and to see how the Catholic Church could help the population. However, he was informed of something that directly contradicts the teachings he has been preaching.

According to the locals, children were being forced to work in territory owned by local churches. Moreover, the local religious leaders were aware of this. The authorities around the Pope quickly denied the accusations, but Federico Lombardi later said that the church was going to apply policy reforms in the area.

As for women, several organizations that seek to defend female rights around the world have reported that in small villages where education is limited, sometimes, priests act as divine rulers using the teachings in the bible for their gain. According to A Safer World For Women (ASWW), in African countries, priests force women to work for free making them believe that it is the fastest way to get a place in heaven. The organization also reports that some of the young ministers take advantage of young women often ending up in unwanted pregnancies.

Many Christians and Catholics have openly protested gay rights

The relationship between the church and the homosexual community is full of discrimination, persecution and violence. It is true that the religious institution does not promote violence against gay people anymore. However, there are some places where Catholic schools still teach children that same-sex attraction is a satanic feeling, and that gay people are intrinsically evil.

This kind of teachings have had a very negative impact on the lives of homosexual believers. For instance, after gay marriage was made legal in the US, a lot of homosexual people lost their jobs in Catholic institutions after getting married in a civil ceremony.

Gay marriage is actually one of the most fundamental topics when human rights are brought to the table. Yes, the state now allows same sex, people to marry under the law of men, but the Catholic Church does not. Pope Francis has talked a lot about inclusion, but in this regard, he supports the notion that a holy union is between a man and a woman.

Some LGBT organizations have complained about this saying the Leader of the Catholic Church should change this, but it doesn’t seem it is going to happen soon.

Source: New York Times