Pope Francis just named a pro-LGBT+ bishop as a cardinal

LGBT+ advocates are celebrating after the Pope elevated a leading pro-gay bishop to the College of Cardinals.

On Sunday, September 1, Pope Francis made the surprise announcement that he would promoting 13 clerics to the rank of cardinal.

Among them was Matteo Zuppi, 63, an Italian archbishop who encourages “a new pastoral attitude that we must seek together with our LGBT brothers and sisters“.

In an essay written as a preface for a colleague’s book, Zuppi identifies that there is “a bridge that needs continuous building” between the Church and the LGBT+ community, who he describes as “people of God”.

The essay discusses how to have a compassionate, respectful conversation with LGBT+ Catholics to “help them feel more at home in what is, after all, their church”.

Zuppi takes a selfie with a fan at the 40th Meeting for friendship between peoples in Rome, Italy (Stefano Montesi /Corbis/Getty)

The decision to promote Zuppi has angered some, with Christian media describing Zuppi as “a homosexualist” who risks challenging the Church’s teachings on LGBT+ rights.

But it has been celebrated among more progressive Christians, who hope the Pope’s choice of cardinals reflects his vision for “a Church of dialogue“.

According to international Catholic new outlet The Tablet, the Pope has “ripped up the unwritten rule book” when it comes to cardinals, selecting “credible and humble church leaders working away from the limelight”.

Journalist Christopher Lamb writes: “Choosing cardinals is the closest thing a Pope has to succession planning and, with his picks, Francis is trying to ensure the Church continues on the trajectory he has set for it.”