04/21/2008 10:18 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Venn Diagrams: A Papal Primer

I recognize that the Pope is probably not a big fan of mine -- I'm a member of that pesky gay and lesbian club -- but I must say I was impressed with him this week.

He clearly hasn't come around on the gay issue. My friend Hilary Rosen points that out quite clearly in her recent post. It does appear, however that he (and the media) have evolved on the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.

The Pope seems to understand more now about the 'Venn diagram' relationship in which each of the following statements are true:

• NOT all pedophiles are gay
• NOT all gay people are pedophiles.
• SOME gay people are pedophiles
* SOME straight people are pedophiles
• SOME pedophiles are gay

The Pope put it more succinctly the other day. He was quoted in an Associated Press story saying:

"I do not wish to talk at this moment about homosexuality, but about pedophilia, which is another thing," he said.

We gay activists have been working on this for years. See my friend Cathy Renna's post on this subject about our work during my tenure at GLAAD. You may also have noticed that in interviewing victims of sexual abuse, we even saw women.

So we can now add these Venn diagram statements to the Pope's papal primer.

• NOT all priests are gay.
• Straight priests can be pedophiles.

Maybe this week, he illustrated that he knows that the real truisms are as follows:

• The Pope has a big fat mess on his hands
• The heart of the matter is not sexual orientation
• He needs a thoughtful, compassionate plan that carefully vets all, candidates, gay and straight, for the priesthood, understanding commitment and motivation. And scapegoating gay priests who make the cut won't cut it.

This week he demonstrated that he was paying a lot of attention to the big fat mess. All of us, gay and straight, should be watching closely where he goes next on this one. Follow that Popemobile.