The Attitude of Gratitude: Why I respect “Amoris Laetitia”

There’s been a buzz on social media since Pope Francis released the document, Amoris Laetitia, meaning The Joy of Love.
The conservative Christians are grinning, believing that the document somehow reaffirmed their bigotry. However, some of us in the LGBT community saw something different in this document. Rather than making assumptions about the Pope’s position on the LGBT community, I’ve chosen a better route. I’ve chosen the attitude of gratitude.

Pope Francis is continuing to change the tone of the Catholic Church.

Tone is different than teaching. It is unrealistic to expect His Holiness to change the Church’s teachings. However, he has been changing the tone of the teachings, especially when it comes to welcoming the LGBT community.

One of James Martin, S.J.’s key takeaways was that gay men and women should be respected. He wrote, “While same-sex marriage is not permitted in the Church, the Pope says that he wants to reaffirm “before all else” that the homosexual person needs to be “respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, and ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression or violence.’”

Pope Francis has urged Catholics to open the Church’s doors to the LGBT community and to RESPECT those who seek God.

I’m sure religious extremists will overlook this and skip to the part where the Pope Francis says gay marriage isn’t allowed. And, I’m sure cynics in the LGBT community will likely be disappointed by the document’s failure to offer anything significant beyond existing church teaching that gays are not to be discriminated against and are to be welcomed into the church with respect and dignity.

Pope Francis resoundingly rejected same-sex marriage and repeated the Church’s position that it can in no way be equivalent to marriage between a man and woman.

Why would we have expected anything different? It’s not like Pope Francis hasn’t been open about his personal feelings and the Church’s teachings. It’s not like I think he can change the teachings of the Church. So, I can either sit here and be pissed off that he didn’t do what he actually can’t do OR I can be grateful for what he did do — I choose gratitude.
I am grateful that Pope Francis is instructing Catholics to be more compassionate, welcoming and loving. I am grateful that he is saying every member of the LGBT community deserves to be treated with dignity. I am grateful that he’s reminding people that we are humans. I am very thankful that he is instructing Catholics to fight against discrimination and unfair treatment of members of the LGBT community. That’s huge! Conservative Catholics are now being asked by our Pope to fight against discrimination and unjust treatment. I am grateful for this, and I am grateful for Pope Francis. He truly is the Pope of inclusion, and that is enough for me.

My name is Aaron Jay Ledesma.
I’m from Houston, Texas.
I’m Catholic.
I’m gay.
I’m me.

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