This just in from UPI (and just in time for the start of the Conclave this Tuesday). It's a startling, if well intentioned, clarion call, largely because of its brevity and lack of clarification, at least as it is being reported. No doubt, Don Andrea could give a more nuanced and subtle explanation of his sentiments that would not alienate traditional Catholics. However, there is also something to be said for the shock value of expressing the idea so succinctly. We need an openly gay pope. That would indeed be revolutionary.
And of course, Don Andrea Gallo means a pope who is open and accepting about his sexuality.
GENOA, Italy, March 7 (UPI) -- An outspoken LGBT rights advocate and Italian Catholic priest Don Andrea Gallo said the church needs a gay pope.
"A homosexual pope would be a magnificent thing. The essence of the Gospel is that we are all God's sons and daughters and we are all equal as God's children," Gallo said Wednesday.
The Italian news agency ANSA said Gallo is the founder of Genoa's drug rehab community, has defended the rights of gays and homosexuals and also smoked marijuana in city hall to protest against drug laws.
Gallo said the homosexual priest must be able to express himself and the Church must not repress him, ANSA reported.
"Because repression leads to pedophilia," Gallo said, adding that as a young priest he was sexually abused.
The comments come on the same day that a survey was released that indicates 75 percent of readers of an Asian Catholic website Ucanews.com believe pedophilia is the Catholic Church's largest problem, ANSA reported.
I'm left wondering how this flamboyant and quite colorful priest escaped the Vatican radar. He appears to be a remarkable and courageous figure.
Here is ANSA's slightly reworded version of the story with a few extra details:
(ANSA) - Genoa, March 6 - The Church needs a gay pope, outspoken LGBT rights advocate and Catholic priest Don Andrea Gallo said on Wednesday.
"A homosexual pope would be a magnificent thing. The essence of the Gospel is that we are all God's sons and daughters and we are all equal as God's children," Don Gallo told Radio 24 program La Zanzara. The founder of Genoa's San Benedetto drug-rehab community, Don Gallo has publicly defended the rights of gays and transsexuals, smoked marijuana in city hall to protest against what he says are draconian drug laws, and been branded a Communist by his opponents. "The homosexual priest must be free to express his identity and his sexuality, because repression leads to pedophilia," Don Gallo explained, adding that he himself was sexually harassed by a bishop when he was a young priest. Also on Wednesday, 75% of readers of Asian Catholic website Ucanews.com said in a survey that pedophilia is the Catholic Church's biggest problem, and that sexual abuse by priests should be at the top of the next pope's agenda.
The survey was conducted from February 18-28, with 2,300 readers responding.
The news story is already generating a lot of comment, some of it rather unpleasant, as is to be expected I suppose. Don Gallo appears to be quite a celebrity figure in Italy, with a great deal of information, comment, and youtube videos about the man available on the internet - almost all of them in Italian. I wish him well.