Last week, religious leaders of various faiths from around the world gathered in the Vatican to attend the Humanum colloquium, the aim of which was to "attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman." It was organized by German Cardinal Gerhard Müller -- one of the more conservative clergymen in the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis, who has acquired an unearned reputation among many progressives as a gay-friendly pope, delivered the conference's opening statement. In those remarks, he said that every child has a right to a mother and a father, and lamented the "culture of the temporary in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment," as if we all have an obligation to participate in divinely-sanctioned heterosexual matrimony.
After three days of speeches, panels, and holy hobnobbing, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council summed up the summit this way: "The atmosphere was almost euphoric as the attendees from six of the world’s seven continents broke from the historic gathering to return to their respective nations renewed in their stand for marriage."
Apparently, there are no homophobes in Antarctica, which will come as good news to the gay penguin community.
In framing his position as taking a "stand for marriage," Perkins and others attempt to give their homophobia cover. After all, they're not against gay people; they're just for marriage, as if marriage needs protecting from gays or for that matter, sharks. Perkins had ample reason to be euphoric, given the slew of homophobic and socially regressive worldviews on display at the conference, which also took on out-of-wedlock sex, affirming, "We feel no such joy to hear of 'casual' mating."
The fact that Pope Francis spoke at this homophobic and backwards event will lose him no points with social liberals happy to lower the bar for him and other religious leaders. Once asked about the alleged existence of a "gay lobby" in the Vatican, Francis once famously said, "Who am I to judge?" Banal as it may be to observe, this is not a declarative statement. It asserts no tolerance. It contains no advice. It affirms no principles. More importantly, it was largely stripped of context. His vague statement about the possibility of accepting gay unions drew similar praise, even though in same breath he said marriage must always be heterosexual. Meanwhile, his presence at Humanum goes largely unnoticed, let alone condemned.
While social liberals are free to heap plaudits on the Bishop of Rome from now until the end of time, their praise is nothing more than the result of having understandably low expectations for the most homophobic and sexist institution of the last 2,000 years.