It sneaked up on us unawares this week – no inklings, indications, signs etc – but the Pope has declared himself down with the gay community. Almost LGBT-friendly. Yes, really. Our gasteds were flabbered, probably like yours. (Dependant on whether you take religion seriously, of course).
But it’s another significant cultural moment in the ongoing battle for equality and acceptance. And quite possibly more significant than McCain adding gay couple to their ad campaigning for flogging chips. Seriously, this has been thousands of years in the making. For the Catholic Church it’s monumental.
Here’s how it plays. In his movie ‘Francesco’ (yes, he has his own feature-length movie) he drops this bombshell: 'Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are Children Of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown lout or made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law.' The deployment of the word 'law' there means it and he's serious.
For the Catholic Church it's a bit like that scene in Joker when Joker exits a hospital triggering multiple mass explosions in his wake. You only have to go back to 2003 to see a document produced by The Vatican decrying any relationships other than strictly heterosexual ones including the phrase how it was 'necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions'. The genie is firmly out of the bottle. The concept of Papal Infallibility (they're never wrong) means this is a tricky moment for the conservative wing of the Catholic Church hell-bent (what else?) on keeping things as they were.
They may be asking the burning question right now which is: Is The Pope A Catholic? As for the LGBT community we are watching something quite remarkable eclipsed possibly only by the Pope doing a turn on 'Drag Race'.