The Pope announced on Sunday that he is promoting 13 bishops to cardinal — including an LGBTQ-friendly one.
Archbishop Matteo Maria Zuppi of Bologna encourages “a new pastoral attitude that we must seek together with our LGBT brothers and sisters.” Zuppi is also well-known as an advocate for other marginalized groups, such as immigrants and the poor.
In a foreword for a colleague’s book, Zuppi wrote that there there is “a bridge that needs continuous building” between the Church and the LGBTQ community. He describes LGBTQ people as “people of God,” and discusses how to help LGBTQ people “feel more at home in what is, after all, their church.”
Not surprisingly, right-wing Catholics are flipping out right now. One Christian media outlet called Zuppi a “homosexualist.”
But the Archbishop’s stance on LGBTQ people isn’t really all that radical. He doesn’t challenge the Catholic doctrine that same-sex relationships are a sin, for example, and he endorses “gradualism” in dealing with LGBTQ issues.
Nonetheless, progressive Christians see this as a cause for celebration. Cardinal is a powerful position within the Church; cardinals under 80 have the power to vote on the next Pope after the current one dies. The Pope’s selections show that he intends to keep the Church on a path of acceptance.
“Choosing cardinals is the closest thing a Pope has to succession planning and, with his picks, Francis is trying to ensure the Church continues on the trajectory he has set for it,” journalist Christopher Lamb explained.
The 13 appointees will become official cardinals on October 5.