So much has been made of the pope's visit. As my mother was fond to say, the proof is in the pudding.
So he has come and gone, and still we cannot raise the issue of homophobia in the Church. Some of my friends think I expect to much too soon, and perhaps that is a valid observation about me. After all, I am aged gay man, retired and having a wonderful life, and I've had the opportunity to watch this LGBT-rights movement grow over the years. One wonders where the alphabet soup will end; I see that as strength, not a weakness.
In Chicago, there are still some of our icons who are alive, such as Jim Flint and Chuck Renslow. While I was not always in agreement with their positions over the years, I learned to respect their ethical standards. They were always true to the community. They understood the spirit of compromise, as I hope this pope does.
Most of the LGBT-rights movement of the Stonewall area came not from the heights of society, but from the working class. That may startle some of our young professionals who are so dazzled by corporate America.
In the twilight of my life I thank God, and all the wonderful people present and past that I have known. One name comes to mind: the Polish Princess. His voice was loud about his faith and commitment to the poor.
Our lesbian sisters have shown me what community means. My mind goes to those at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic when fresh blood supplies were needed for those dying of HIV/AIDS, they became our blood sisters. These wonderful lesbians came forward without fanfare, and gave their blood. They humbled me with their actions.
I also remember a group back in the 1980s known as the Committee of Black Gay Men. These took me under their wing to talk to me about racism, and the part I played in it without cutting off dialogue. Those were the days.
So the pope's visit for me was bittersweet. I recognize the reform that is called for in the Church, as it is called for in my life, and the new life the Church appears to be birthing. Yet, I understand that reform cannot happen if we are locked in the ancient hates of the past. By the same token, I do recognize we do not live in a perfect world.