Pope Francis gave a surprise TED Talk entitled, “Why the only future worth building includes everyone.”
This is a good man. He is also a conservative with whom I have major doctrinal differences. But he has an extraordinary gift for connecting with people at a human level, and the good will he conveys inspires mine in return. His pastoral skills are such an improvement over his predecessor that it is hard to believe they are part of the same organization. But of course they are.
I am a policy man, and in the end, kindness is not enough. I would embrace him, but at the same time I would have to tell him that as a gay man and an independent thinker I do not feel respected by the intolerant policies, medieval obscurantism, and strangling authoritarianism of the Roman Catholic Church. And the sad fact is that many of the bishops do not convey a fraction of his grace.
I appreciate this pope. I truly do. But I have spent a lifetime battling his Church, in which I was raised, for my rights as a human being. The Church, you see, has vociferously opposed every significant piece of pro-LGBT legislation that I have ever supported. I live in a liberal jurisdiction, and happily my side has won time and time again. But decades of battling for rights that my siblings took for granted have left their scars.
So thank you, Your Holiness; but your kind words cannot replace what was stolen, dearly though I wish they could. I am grateful beyond words that my efforts and those of my comrades in the struggle have made better expectations possible for younger LGBT folk. Still the struggle continues. There are people in power who would take away all our gains if they could. That fills me with darkness and fury that your glowing countenance cannot dispel.