Over at The Jesuit Post, Eric Sundrup, SJ, one of the pope’s Jesuit brothers, responds to the news that Pope Francis has ben named Person of the Year by the Advocate, a magazine reporting on LGBT issues.
Sundrup sees the honor as an opportunity for dialogue between two usually polarized groups: the Catholic Church and the LGBT community:
There is so much healing that could happen in the coming conversations. The important and challenging thing about true dialogue is that both participants learn something they didn’t know before, and the final conclusion can’t be predicted in advance by either side. Pope Francis’s refusal to judge doesn’t mean that he’s moving towards changing Church teaching, and The Advocate putting Francis on the cover doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly going to embrace all that the Church calls for — but the fact that both are interested in the conversation is already a sign of hope. In fact, it’s a hope that Francis has already pointed to, in his call for dialogue in his recent exhortation.
He also hopes that Catholics resist the temptation to double-down on church teaching rather than engage in serious dialogue around these sensitive issues:
The Advocate gave us a powerful example of how to move beyond simplistic denunciations. The temptation facing the Church now is to respond with an obsessive clarification of the established teaching, with which, as we’ve seen, even people who disagree are already familiar. Instead, I hope and pray that the everyone who speaks for the Church can respond to an invitation to dialogue in kind, demonstrating that same hope, love, and charity, and a little bit of patience, waiting to see where it leads us all.
Time will tell.