THE BLOG
03/15/2013 11:11 am ET Updated May 15, 2013

Does Pope Francis Have the Will of Christ as Well as the Way?

Vatican Waging Holy War Against Sexual and Gender Minorities

The headline above first appeared on Dec. 5, 2000 in an announcement that Soulforce and Dignity/USA were combining forces to combat intolerance and planning a protest and vigil at the Vatican on Jan. 5-6, 2001.

Rev. Mel White, author of "Stranger at the Gate" and co-founder of Soulforce, was quoted at that time as follows:

As we begin the new millennium, we will risk misunderstanding and arrest in Rome to help end centuries of spiritual violence against God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children. Although some bishops met with us last month during the National Council of Catholic Bishops meeting, they refused to denounce Vatican policies denying Dignity Catholics the right to meet on Church property or be served Eucharist by a priest. Therefore we have no choice but to go to the Vatican with our demands.

In mid-November 2000, the Catholic Pontifical Council for the Family issued a 77-page document which calls same-sex unions a deplorable distortion and adoption by gay parents a grave danger. The Council was notably silent on the grave danger of pedophile priests. And we know the rest of the story over the next decade.

And as we now know, nothing has yet changed for the better with the election of the new pope. Here is what he said about same-sex marriage and adoption of children by same-sex parents:
"Let's not be naïve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."
According to the National Catholic Reporter, Pope Francis has referred to adoption by gay parents as a form of "discrimination against children." Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina, said that Francis's remarks suggested "medieval times and the Inquisition."

(Read more in the New Yorker.)

Pope Francis' statements degrade the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world. I predict these will be blood on his hands when homosexuals are persecuted, imprisoned and murdered by people who feel that they are sanctioned by the pope.

"For centuries Church teachings against sexual and gender minorities have led to suicide, wasted lives, ruined relationships, broken families, discrimination and physical violence. The Vatican's holy war against sexual and gender minorities has far reaching effects both inside and outside the church."

-- Marianne Duddy, "Dignity"

In a recent blog, I invited readers to review the steps of social, religious and political bigotry that lead to genocide. Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it.

I am deeply concerned that the statements made by the newly elected pope can be directly linked to the stages of Classification, Symbolization and Dehumanization.

All cultures have categories to distinguish people into "us and them" by ethnicity, race, religion or nationality: German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi, straight and gay.

The main preventive measure to genocide can be developed in these early stages by creating universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions.

Sounds like what church should really be, doesn't it?

The Catholic Church has very dirty hands in so many places where people have been murdered, cast out of their homes and otherwise persecuted for being something other than what the church decides is right or holy.

It is said that Pope Francis has a preference for the poor and that he spent much of his ministry healing the sick with his visits. Perhaps now he can heal the Catholic Church of its atrocities and lay down his condemnation of LGBT people since Christ never mentioned anything about homosexuality.

I believe Christ is waiting for Pope Francis to lead. The question is whether Francis has the Will of Christ as well as the Way?