Pope Francis made the news yesterday saying he won't judge gay priests. It is the first time a Pope has spoken openly on the topic, the significance of which is in acknowledging there are “gay” priests whom he defined as those with a “tendency” to same-sex orientation. He did not suggest any forthcoming change in the Church’s position against homosexual activity.
Surprisingly, the Pope’s comments
came on the heels of an announcement by Exodus International (an evangelical ministry
helping those who struggle with same-sex orientation) that it was closing
its doors. Exodus President Alan Chambers said it was time for a new
season of ministry: to “reduce fear and come alongside
churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.” The
emphasis of future ministry will be on helping those tempted with same-sex
feelings to live a life of celibacy and purity—just as the Church presently
does with ‘heterosexual’ singles.
The Pope's words acknowledged that persons with ‘same-sex’ tendencies are no different from anyone who “searches for the Lord
and has good will [good intentions].” While it may take some time to digest all of this and its impact, one
thing resonates with me: evangelicals have a lot of work to do to change perceptions of hate and rejection for those of love and compassion.