JEFF PEARLMAN

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Who am I to judge?

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 9.56.47 AMI love the new pope.

I can’t believe I’m saying that, because I’ve never actually loved a pope before. Through my agnostic Jewish eyes, he’s always been just a man in a white robe and a gold cart. Pope Francis, however, seems different, and he’s opened my eyes. Not to Catholicism, per se, but to decency.

In case you haven’t heard, yesterday afternoon, while flying from Point A to Point B, the Pope walked through his plane to where the media members were stationed. Just to chat. This, in and of itself, was something of a miracle; something popes, apparently, just don’t do.

Pope Francis was asked about homosexuality—a very taboo subject for the church. Here’s what he said (in Spanish):

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Those five words–Who am I to judge?—are remarkably powerful; more powerful than many seem to understand. The church is still against homosexuality. It’s still a sin in the eyes of Catholicism; still an entity that should not be recognized in legal marriage. And yet, the great problem I’ve long had with many Catholics I know and the church is, to be precise, judgement. How many people have uttered the tired line, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” while actually hating both the sinner and the sin. What the Pope was saying (and what he said with great eloquence and compassion) was that he (the head of the church) has no right judging another.

And if the pope shouldn’t judge, well, who the fuck are you to do so?

Amen.