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Harrisburg’s new bishop speaks about homosexuality and an outspoken Pope

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Pope Francis has selected a new bishop for the Harrisburg Diocese. His name is Bishop Ronald Gainer and he’s originally from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. The welcome ceremony for the bishop was held Friday morning at the Cardinal Keeler Center in Harrisburg. He’s the 11th person to hold the position. Gainer most recently served as bishop of Lexington, Kentucky. His appointment comes at a time when the Pope has publicly spoken about everything from homosexuality to technology, most recently saying the internet is a gift from God.

Bishop Gainer talked about his outspoken boss. He said “cool dude is one way of saying it I guess. But I think that he enjoys the informality. He does the surprising, he does the unexpected. As you said making personal phone calls to people. Stepping out he must drive the Swiss guard security forces crazy.” The bishop was referring to reports of the Pope leaving the Vatican at night to give money to the poor on the streets of Rome.

The Pope has also made headlines for doing things like cold calling a woman who was pregnant with the child of a married man. He told her she was very strong and brave to keep the baby. It’s that kind of behavior that Bishop Gainer supports. However it’s the Pope’s comments on homosexuality that have sparked some of the most controversy. On a plane trip from Brazil to Rome the Pope was asked about gay Catholics. He said “who am I to judge.”

That steps away from the more traditional stance the Catholic church has had on sexual orientation, but it’s a statement that Bishop Gainer agrees with. He’s not judging the individual. He has subsequently said of course that the moral assessment of homosexual actions are evil, are immoral. But the persons themselves who may experience an orientation of same sex attraction have the dignity of gods children” said Bishop Gainer.

Bishop Gainer officially assumes the role on March 19th. He said he plans to have an open door policy to be as accessible as possible.