Pope Francis, the first Latin American Pope in history, has been the head of the Catholic Church going on ten years now. In his ten years in the papacy, he has often spoken about the need for the Catholic Church to welcome all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
The Church’s latest radical shift: allowing Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples, is just the latest in a long list of statements and institutional changes Pope Francis has been making since he took over as Pope. But what exactly has Pope Francis said?
His first noteworthy comment dates back to 2013, only a few months after being elected Pope. Speaking about gay people, Francis then said “the key is for the church to welcome, not exclude, and show mercy, not condemnation,” adding. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Then, in 2018, he met with Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest. In a private conversation between the two, the Pope reportedly said to Cruz, who is gay: “God made you like this. God loves you like this.” He would go on to express the same sentiment to parents of LGBTQ children in 2020, telling them that “the church loves their children as they are because they are children of God.”
In 2020, in the documentary Francesco, the Pope expressed support for same-sex civil unions, once again using the term “children of God” and calling on nations to give them “safety with regards to inheritance and health.”
It all led to this February 2023, when Pope Francis categorically said that criminalization of same-sex sexual acts is a sin and an injustice – and of course, to the Church’s recent radical shift of allowing priests to bless same-sex couples.