Pope Anniversary 6:20

Thursday marks the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. Hamilton's Deirdre Pike is a lesbian who says the Pope's comments on poverty and homosexuality have inspired her and changed the way she sees the Church. Here's what she had to say to the CBC's Matt Galloway on Metro Morning.

Last year Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) became the 266th Leader of the Roman Catholic Church. As the first Jesuit Pope, and one of the most unconventional Popes in history, Francis is shaking things up in the Vatican, and exciting activists like Pike.

Pike is an organizer in Hamilton's LGBTQ community and a Catholic. She is also the Senior Social Planner for the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.

“The kinds of actions that he is doing, again, just stir my heart,” Pike told Metro Morning.

In his time at the Vatican, Pope Francis has completely revamped the governance of the Church. He appointed a cast of eight other cardinals to work with and advise him. He washed and kissed the feet of Muslim women. He has openly spoken out about a person’s right to live whatever lifestyle they wish. Also, he got Twitter.

'Who am I to judge?,' Pope said

“I think I was brought pretty close to tears when Pope Francis said, ‘Who am I to judge?’” said Pike. “It was just a tremendous feeling of being welcomed for the first time — just to even be identified in that context.”

However, Pike did say the Pope still needs to back up his words with action.

“I really want to see the kinds of things he is talking about in terms of cleaning up the hierarchy... Those will be more concrete actions that will show he substantive he is,” said Pike.

Pike is proud about how strong Pope Francis has been in calling out members of the Catholic Church who, in his opinion, are not being inclusive enough for the twenty-first century, and are focusing too much on old traditions and out of date beliefs.

“To have such strong language of condemnation for what [some American Bishops] were thinking was really great,” said Pike.

“I worked in the Church for 14 years and I worked with a Priest who only allowed men to have their feet washed in that very traditional way,” Pike explained. “When he washed the feet of women and of Muslim people, the windows were open as they talked about in Vatican. You could see a new spirit coming already.”

What would be a positive next step the new Pope be? Pike has an idea.

“Women Priests would be the thing that I would presume would come certainly before same sex marriage, and I would be happy for that—that would be OK. There’s no hierarchy of oppression,” said Pike. “But to have women, as being a woman who has been in leadership in the church and continues to be so, and to be denied the call to ministry is just abhorrent as far as I am concerned.”