To be sure, Popes do not change doctrine in off-the-cuff airplane interviews. The Catechism remains today as it was yesterday -- equal parts condemnation and conciliation. But something has changed, decisively so. And that is tone.
Regardless of record-breaking attendance, that the first Latin American pope made his maiden international trip to Brazil, home to the largest, but rapidly declining Catholic population on earth, is in itself of monumental significance.
Chanting "Papa Francisco" to the rhythm of bossa nova music, pilgrims from all over the world packed the glitzy Copacabana beachfront in the rain and unusually cold Rio weather Thursday night, to welcome history's first Latin American pope for World Youth Day.
It is inconceivable to me that we as a church are unwilling to connect the dots between the church's teaching on homosexuality and the way it's being implemented by members of the hierarchy and the harm it is causing to our LGBT youth.
When I speak about WYD, I compare it to an elephant, one you gently prod to move where you'd like it to go, but knowing at any moment it could overpower you. If we knew how big WYD would become, we would have been afraid.