You have to hand it to Pope Francis. He certainly isn’t afraid of changing the Vatican’s tone on gay issues. His latest move: writing a letter to a group of Italian gay Catholics, assuring them of his blessing.
The gay Catholic group Kairos of Florence wrote the pope in June, asking that the Church recognize them as people and not as a category. The group apparently had sent multiple letters to the Vatican in the past, but had never, in the words of one Kairos member, “ever even given a nod of response.” This time, however, they got one: a letter written personally by the pope.
The contents of the letter have not been made public, but Kairos member Innocenzo Pontillo said that the pope told them “he appreciated very much what we had written to him” and “also assured us of his benedictory greeting.” It’s almost impossible to imagine Pope Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, aka God’s Rottweiler, sending anything other than excommunication orders in response to the letter.
The letter probably doesn’t portend a policy change; the pope has been pretty clear that he’s comfortable with the current Church teaching. He just doesn’t want the Vatican to be “obsessed” by it. Instead, he wants to make the Church a place that’s more welcoming. He’s certainly off to a good start there.