Pope Benedict XVI shocked catholics on Monday with his sudden announcement that he was stepping down. For LGBT advocates and allies inside and outside the Church, the news came mostly as a relief.
"For the last three decades, Benedict has been one of the main architect's of the Vatican's policies against LGBT people," Francis DeBernardo of the New Ways Ministry, a pro-gay ministry and advocacy group for LGBT Catholics, wrote in a statement.
"We are praying, too, for LGBT Catholics and their families and friends, whose lives were made more difficult living under Benedict's reign both as pontiff and as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), where he served previously," DeBernardo wrote.
And while DeBernardo cautions that it is difficult to predict who -- and how conservative -- the next Pope will be, speculation over Benedict's successor has already begun to run wild. At Actup.org, a post runs down some top contenders -- and all three are "vehemently anti-gay."