This Sunday, Manhattan hosted New York City Pride. It's a deeply emotional experience for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers, as this year's Pride parade comes only a couple of weeks after the heartbreaking attacks in Orlando, Florida that killed 49 innocent people at the gay nightclub Pulse. Despite collective fear, New Yorkers turned out for Pride in groundbreaking numbers.
Little did many of us know, the Catholic Church had a groundbreaking moment of its own this past Sunday.
While aboard the papal plane, Pope Francis said Christians owe apologies to gay people who have been exploited, hurt or violated by the church at large. The Pope's remarks are widely considered a pivotal moment for the church, and one that could help iron out the Catholic Church's complicated relationship with sexuality.
"I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally," Pope Francis said during an in-flight press conference while returning from Armenia.
"The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times — when I say the Church, I mean Christians! The Church is holy, we are sinners!"
He added, "I believe that the Church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended, but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons."
When asked if Christians should take blame for the international discrimination and hatred toward the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the way that hatred manifested in the Orlando massacre, Pope Francis concluded that one could condemn hateful behavior. He said,
One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior... Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no? But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well.
This is a groundbreaking, well-timed moment for the LGBTQ+ community.