A papal surprise: Humility

Not long after Francis assumed the papacy, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, made similarly conciliatory remarks. Asked how he would respond to a loving same-sex couple, he replied: “Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness.’ ”

While being careful to say only that gays were “entitled to friendship,” he went on to observe that the church must “do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that.”

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a gay Catholic group, called Cardinal Dolan’s remarks “nothing short of an Easter miracle.”

Rising from the dead would be an Easter miracle. Not attacking gays is just simple human decency — not to mention good politics, since most American Catholics support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Surely the church’s leaders, in America and in Rome, recognize that, in much of the Western world, homophobia is a losing long-term strategy.