Some recent commentary on these issues well worth reading:
Perhaps the biggest change demonstrated by the pope’s comments [about women in the church and about gay people] is the sense of liberation among Catholics to freely discuss the many issues facing the church. The fear that led so many to keep their doubts about current policy to themselves under the previous two popes seems to have been lifted. However, Pope Francis’s pastoral tone should not be mistaken for pastoral action. We need mechanisms and forums for the official church to hear the voices of the laity, especially women & LGBT Catholics.
Michael J. O'Loughlin at Face Fix interviewing Sister Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry about how a church emerging from an anti-Vatican II mentality under Pope Francis might look:
We would have pastoral bishops who look to the people, who not just consult the people, but bring the laity into the church’s decision-making. I think these pastoral bishops would have a more modern understanding of governance, that we don’t live in monarchies anymore, or even benevolent dictatorships, that we in the twenty-first century are looking for more democratic forms of governance. If they do that, we’re going to have a very different looking church. Because the polls show us that the laity, at least in the US, are very different from the views of the hierarchy, particularly in sexual matters, financial matters. The laity has a lot of experience that the bishops don’t have, and we have to draw on that experience.
From the Bondings blog of New Ways Ministry, a summary of Sister Margaret Farley's recent talk to an "Elephants in the Living Room" group of Detroit Catholic priests, religious, and layfolks:
During her recent talk, she expressed hope for change in the pontificate of Pope Francis:
"He seems teachable," she said, and hoped he will listen to the many Catholic women who call for change.
"I think that women at this juncture are in some way key, because, for example, we do have the problem that there are not enough priests," Farley said. "I think that eventually it will be necessary to ordain married men and women, married or not. But how that development will finally take place, what the evolution will be, I don’t know."
And Dan Savage at his Slog site noting that t the video clip at the top of the posting, capturing the marriage proposal of Spencer Stout to Dustin Reeser in a Home Depot in Salt Lake City, is now approaching 10,000,000 views:
I like to think that NOM head Brian Brown—who features prominently in American Savage—is one of the nearly ten million people who've watched Spencer propose to Dustin in the aisles of a Home Depot in Salt Lake City. Because Brian needs to see what so many lesbian and gay Americans are seeing: our straight friends, families, neighbors, and friends—even straight strangers shopping at Home Depot in freakin' Utah—are on our side. They are happy for us.
Brian is still out there trying to frame the struggle for marriage equality—which is not yet won (37 states to go)—as a battle with gay people (and gay marriage) on one side and straight people (and straight marriage) on the other. But that's a lie. The battle is between people who are capable of loving their neighbors—gay or straight—and people who are incapable of loving their neighbors.