Skip to comments.Pope Francis on Gays: “Who Am I to Judge Them If They’re Seeking the Lord in Good Faith?”—UPDATED
Posted on 07/29/2013 11:56:41 AM PDT by NYer
The interview that will be making headlines around the Catholic media this morning, from John Allen in NCR:
On the way to Rio de Janeiro on July 22, Pope Francis told reporters that I dont give interviews. But at the end of his seven-day tour de force in Brazil, not only did the pope give an interview, it was a whopper.
He took questions from reporters traveling aboard the papal plane for a full hour and twenty-one minutes, with no filters or limits and nothing off the record.Francis stood for the entire time, answering without notes, and never refusing to take a question. The final query was a especially delicate one, about charges of homosexual conduct against his recently appointed delegate to reform the Vatican bank, and not only did Francis answer but he actually thanked reporters for the question.
On background, officials said the decision to hold the news conference aboard the 12-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome was a personal decision by Francis, and that aides at one point had actually counseled him against it.
Not since John Paul II, prior to the debilitating effects of his illness, has a pope engaged in such a free-wheeling and spontaneous exchange with the press. Francis spoke in Italian and Spanish, the languages in which his comfort level is the greatest.
Among other points, Pope Francis:
- When asked about the Vaticans alleged gay lobby, replied that while a lobby might be an issue, he doesnt have any problem with the inclination to homosexuality itself: Who am I to judge them if theyre seeking the Lord in good faith? he said.
- Conceded he doesnt yet know what to do about the Vatican bank saying it could become an ethical bank, an assistance fund for good causes, or be closed altogether.
- Said he hasnt run into significant resistance to reform inside the Vatican, and joked that if there really is a gay lobby he hasnt yet seen it stamped on anyones ID cards.
- Argued for the importance of women in the church, yet said that John Paul II definitively closed the door to women priests. He called for a deeper “theology of women” beyond disputed questions such as whether they can be lectors at Mass or head Vatican agencies such as Caritas Internationalis.
- Said a preliminary investigation had been conducted regarding charges of immoral conduct against his hand-picked prelate for the Vatican bank, Italian Monsignor Battista Ricca, which found nothing.
- Said of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, the former Vatican accountant who was recently arrested for alleged involvement in a plot to smuggle $26 million in cash into Italy, that hes not in jail because he resembles the Blessed Imelda an Argentinian expression meaning that he doesnt seem to be any saint.
- Suggested that the Synod of Bishops may be in for a shake-up in the direction of both greater efficiency and greater collegiality.
And the Washington Post, via the Associated Press, has this angle:
His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis was much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.
Francis remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil.
He was funny and candid during his first news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half. He didnt dodge a single question, even thanking the journalist who raised allegations reported by an Italian newsmagazine that one of his trusted monsignors was involved in a scandalous gay tryst.
Francis said he investigated and found nothing to back up the allegations….
…But he took journalists to task for reporting on the matter, saying the allegations concerned matters of sin, not crimes like sexually abusing children.
And when someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.
We dont have the right to not forget, he said.
Elizabeth Scalia has some welcome context, as she hears heads exploding over all this:
Forgiveness, and the recognition that people can sin and then repent and live faithful lives with the help of Gods grace, is a basic tenet of Christianity. When a friend of mine suggested that even if the priest in question had repented, he should not be in such a position of prominence. It gives scandal! I disagreed. To proclaim a Gospel of Mercy and then only permit a man or woman who has converted their lives in Christ to assume lesser or menial positions is to say we do not trust our own teaching Christs own teaching about mercy. The pope is correct; by that way of thinking, Peter would never have been given the keys to the kingdom. We are the church of Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Paul; sinners who were first forgiven and then trusted with prominence.
I understand some folks concerns that perhaps Francis is too heavy on the mercy and too light on the justice side of things and certainly the cross itself teaches us that both must be held in balance. But this is still a pretty fresh papacy. The sense Im getting is that Francis means to scrape some long-attached barnacles from the Barque of Peter, so we can see what the deeper hues of Justice and Mercy look like; hes readying it to travel some rough, challenging waters.
I wonder who will jump ship? Last night I debated a woman with her skirt over her face about our bishops having a little fun, in Rio. She thought it was scandalous and silly and unbefitting the church. I thought our bishops after a terrible decade were finally being allowed to exhale!
UPDATE: Jimmy Akin unpacks some of what Francis said about homosexuality, and discovers it’s not as radical as some may think.
And John Thavis writes:
Some media have portrayed the pope as saying he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation, which would seem to call into question the Vaticans 2005 document that ruled out ordination for men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. Based on the popes actual words, I think thats a stretch.
In fact, what the pope said as he himself pointed out is essentially affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that gay men and women must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
What the pope didn’t discuss with journalists was the catechisms line that the homosexual inclination is itself disordered. That was the basis for the Vaticans ban on gay priests. Francis didnt disown that particular teaching, he just didn’t mention it.
Its an important shift in emphasis. And Pope Francis is clearly trying to reach out to those who have been alienated by the churchs statements about homosexuality in recent years.
Although comparison between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict is not always fair, I think in this case its instructive. When asked about the churchs teaching on homosexuality in a book-length interview in 2010, Pope Benedict responded that gay men and women deserve respect, but added:
“This does not mean that homosexuality thereby becomes morally right. Rather, it remains contrary to the essence of what God originally willed.
Pope Benedict went on to say that homosexuality among the clergy was one of the miseries of the church and that homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.
Who am I to judge? sends a very different message.
Jesus said ‘Sin no more’. Why couldn’t the Pope have said-plainly-” If you are homosexual and PRACTICE homosexuality you CANNOT be a priest. If you break the vow of celibacy you willingly took- you are NO LONGER a priest.”? Straight talk-no ambiguity.
All that I'm doing is applying basic reading skills and God-given common sense to what both the Pope said and what the Holy Scriptures say.
On the other hand, I think that it is appropriate to give the Pope the opportunity clarify what he said concerning this issue.
Except for the fact that in Biblical Chrsitianity no one seeks God, he has a point. < /sarc>
I am not an expert but believe that Pope Benedict XVI said just about that.
You have assigned your assessment as though it is the Pope’s intended meaning.
I suggest he is addressing it as “real”, rather than “normal”.
Are you pretending it doesn’t exist and therefore deserves to be ignored?
Priestly vows also commit straight Priests not to act on their opposite sex attraction.
Celibacy applies across the board.
This pope is a Jesuit and he’s living up to their liberal reputation.
I thought the reason Benedict resigned was to put in someone younger with the strength to fight off the liberal tendencies that were besetting the church. They blew it by a mile.
He’s a socialist
He likes Muslims
And now the gay lifestyle
They might as well have installed Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury)!
And what’s this about not judging - that’s what we do a thousand times a day!
I'm not judging you or even criticizing. Your post was simply the one I responded to. When I first read the Pope's comments, I had an opinion and expected he was referring to the judgement of one's soul and less about their behavior.
But as I have read the comments on this thread. They are all over the board (figuratively). It occurs to me that very few have taken a seemingly simple text in such dramatically different ways. In this regard, I am compelled to notice; It must be a truly spiritually inspired comment that would reach so many in so many different ways. FReepers are a pretty smart and mostly rational bunch.
The observation gives me pause and makes me ponder.
The pope can’t save anyone, but God can, if they’ll repent. Each and every life is precious to Him.
We can judge behaviors. We are not to "judge" the souls. That is God's place. I believe a serial killer and/or rapist should be put to death for his crimes (judging his behavior). But I am still supposed to avoid wishing his soul go to hell, for I know not what is his heart at the hour of his death (judging his soul).
In this way, we are to hope the killer truly repents and his soul is forever cleansed....right before they inject the lethal serum that will end is treacherous, earthly life. We can forgive him and let the laws of man do what they must.
One cannot be honestly seeking the Lord if he is proudly bathed in sin. Not possible. He must renounce the evil he has done, and approach the throne of God with humbleness.
I agree. Good question. Hold on.... I'll go ask.
I’m commenting on his quoted statement.
I also think that homosexuality has proven to be a problem for the Catholic church in ways and on an international scale in recent decades, that haven’t come from the normal Priests.
As someone opposing the power and gains of the homosexual movement, I don’t see this as helpful, I see it as not helpful to my side.
Thanks for clarification.
Somebody's got to keep an eye on me so post away!
Pope Francis on Gays: Who Am I to Judge Them If Theyre Seeking the Lord in Good Faith?
Perhaps the Pope can share with us how a person that is deliberately living a life of sin and demands that everyone else accepts that lifestyle, is seeking the Lord in good faith?
Pope Francis reiterated the Churchs belief that having a homosexual orientation is not sinful but engaging in homosexual acts is.
Folks, by now most of you should recognize how the mainstream media works: ask a question, grab a response, ignore any context to doctrine, and run with it. Since earlier today, the thread "Pope Says He Won't Judge Gay Priests" has held the #1 position under Breaking News. There is nothing new, much less "breaking" in what the pope said, nor is there anything different in how the media is spinning it. You are intelligent individuals .. you must be or you would not be on FR. Use your common sense, recognize what is going on here and then laugh. You have all been taken in by the mainstream media.
So priests can have sex with men but not with women? Or can they have sex with both, just not be married? Pope Francis doesn’t want to judge... sounds good on the surface.
How about serial killer priest? Or priests who steal from the Catholic Church? Does the ‘don’t want to judge’ thing still apply? I might not be understanding something here...
Can't have too much of that mercy stuff going on, you know. People might actually come to know God.
James 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Not to nit pick, but exactly how does one attain a “homosexual orientation” without engaging in the very act that defines it?
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