Pope Francis recently met French Bishop Jacques Gaillot, a radically-liberal bishop previously exiled by St. John Paul II.
Gaillot, nicknamed “red cleric” for his marxist-socialist leanings, was relieved of his duties in 1995 by John Paul II as head of the diocese of French northwestern city of Evreux because of his dissenting positions. He was banished to the defunct diocese of Partenia in the desert of modern-day Alergeria that has not existed as an actual Catholic community since the fifth century.
Gaillot is known for his social activism, as well as liberal leanings in theology. He has focused on welcoming gays and the divorced, and urged much leniency to women who have had abortions.
In 1988, Gaillot took the unprecedented step of blessing a homosexual union in a “service of welcoming”.
Pope Francis met privately with Gaillot on September 1 at the pontiff’s Vatican residence.
“I don’t want to ask anything of you, I told the pope, but a whole people of the poor are happy that you are receiving me, and feel acknowledged too,” Gaillot told the news service Agence France-Presse.
“I spoke to him about … the sick, the divorced, gay people. These people are counting on you,” Gaillot told AFP.
Gaillot also told Francis how he had recently blessed a divorced couple as well as a homosexual couple.
”I am in civil cloth(ing) and I just bless them. This is not a marriage, it is a blessing,” Gaillot said he told the Pope, according to another French media report (translated by New Ways, a ministry of LGBT Catholics). “We have the right to give the blessing of God, after all we also bless houses!”
“The Pope listened,” Gaillot said, “he seemed open to all that. At that particular moment, he specifically said that to bless people also involves to speak well of God to those people.” ∎
from Religion News Service