The Bible contains the expression "perverted persons." Sexual perversion meaning homosexuality is "sodomy" in English and the origin of this word is "Sodom and Gomorra, the city of depravity" in the Bible. According to the Bible, "a perverted person shall be killed." St. Paul considered sodomy the extremity of depravity. In the Middle Age, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in the Catholic Church also treated sodomy a felony. Not only Martin Luther and Jean Calvin but also Immanuel Kant, who was enlightened, also considered it as such.
Lenience toward homosexuality in Christianity started in the Protestant Church in the 20th century. The worlds first church for gays opened in Sydney, Australia in 1916. The religious order that appointed a gay clergyman in 1964 for the first time in history was the Church of Christ. A lesbian was named a clergyperson for the first time by the British Episcopal Church in 1977. The American Presbyterian Church, the largest religious order in the U.S., allowed a homosexual person to take priesthood in 2007, triggered defection of some churches from the order. Protestant churches have been split off if they dont share values, which constitutes both strength and weakness. The number of churches that accept homosexuality will grow, but those that deny will also survive.
Unlike the Protestant Church, Catholicism pursues a universal church. If the pope decides, dioceses in all different countries should follow the decision. As such, decision is made all the more cautiously. Pope Francis has opened discussions over homosexuality for the first time in the history of Catholic Church. It is quite a surprise that Catholicism is to deal with cohabitation, divorce and homosexuality at once, which have been forbidden in the church. Discussions are reportedly starting with the intention that the church embraces and recognizes cohabitation, divorce and homosexuality.
If Catholicism recognizes homosexuality, it should first lift the restriction that denies baptism of homosexuals. If the Catholic Church allows baptism of homosexuals, the rationale to ban marriage between homosexuals and their appointment as clergymen will lose ground. Conservatives are expected to strongly oppose it. The church may only end up reaching considerably moderate conclusion that Catholicism will not treat homosexuals as if they are criminals. This constitutes progress in itself nonetheless. In modern era when the world has come to learn many different aspects of sexuality, the church needs to differentiate innate homosexuality from homosexuality that has nothing to do with nature.