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.
Don't you know? Once a priest, always a priest?
God bless Pope Francis. He is still a “young” pope and we are still just beginning to know him.
You're right... thanks.
I’m not taken in by anyone. I know the name of the game. BUT I also know if the Pope defrocked ALL practicing homosexuals and pedophiles in the clergy there is NO way the media would ignore it- nor could they spin it. THAT is what needs to be done. Anything short of that is allowing evil to masquerade as clergy-and NO ‘priest’ who breaks his vows is a legitimate priest. If a priest is found to have a girlfriend/heterosexual relationship he is drummed out pretty quickly-but priests sodomizing other priests/adult men/boys are to be understood and tolerated. Hell no.
The longer this goes on, and the worse that it gets, only confirms my belief that the Vatican is crawling with homosexuals and pedophiles-yes right up to the College of Cardinals; and they will see the Church destroyed before they leave it.
Nyer, the following critiques are directed at what the Pope allegedly said and not you.
Where did the term "homosexual orientation" come from? I think that "temptation" is a more appropriate biblical term.
As a Baptist, this Pope strikes me as the Catholic equivalent of the Protestant churches who want to be positive, and who therefor forget the first step in the Good News is “Repent”.
And he is either incredibly naive, or a fool, if he thinks the homosexual assault on all Christians can be turned aside by saying ‘God may judge, but I do not.’ All Christians in the western world are under aggressive attack by militant homosexuals. Getting all soft and fuzzy with them is like calling Islam a ‘religion of peace’ - a good way to help your enemies kill you!
Dear friend ... I perfectly understand your frustration. Let's for just one minute consider the two items you are suggesting.
1. "defrock all practicing homosexuals" - if you watched the closing mass at WYD, you would have counted 7,000 priests! If 7,000 priests were present at WYD, how many ordained catholic priests are there in the world? How does one determine if a priest has homosexual tendencies and has acted on them? How would this process work? How long would it take to compile that number? Who would make those decisions?
2. "no way the media would ignore it" - you're absolutely right. In a society that has legalized gay marriage, the media would be all over it. They would quickly single out those gay priests who practice celibacy but were defrocked and hold them up for all the world to judge the Catholic Church. These men would son be turned into "victims".
John 15:18 - If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first."
I believe God does. If a pedophile confesses his sins, and turns to God for forgiveness and to Christ for salvation.
Even murderers can receive forgiveness by the Grace of God and the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.
We are all sinners. We are all depraved, we are all in need of God’s grace.
The same would be true of someone cheating on their spouse, or living with someone without the benefit of marriage.
So far as I can tell, all of these are sins for which one can be saved through repentance.
While damage control is of course needed in response to his statements, it won’t erase this positioning and it’s effects.
The left has reason to feel just a touch better today while we aren’t pleased at all.
Can you say that you are happy with his comments, pleased, feel a little better for them, than before them?
He even asked the journalists to refer back to the Cathechism for the clear and complete teachings of the Catholic Church on this matter.
Earlier today, I red on a Brazilian paper that the US media have been extremely negative on the Pope's visit to Brazil, highlighting minor mishaps and misquoting the Pope.
I tend to agree with that sentiment.
Sorry, but the Pope’s statement really does not sit well with me. Benedict would never have condoned homosexuality. I expect the pope to condemn abhorrent behvavior not neutralize it.
How to choose who to defrock. I dunno- lets START with all the priests who have been moved and hidden for abusing children. If they are guilty enough to pay off their victims and hide in other parishes-they should be defrocked. What if 5000 of the 7000 priests are KNOWN to be homosexual? ( And I have no doubt that almost all are known within the clergy). Well- those 5000 are illegitimate and should be defrocked. They are NOT priests if they break their vows then presume to preach against sin to the laity. None of the sacraments they perform are legitimate either.
How to tell is easy- local bishops know who the gay priests are in their parishes, Archbishops know who the gay Bishops are, and Cardinals know who the gay Archbishops are. They have been embedded in the Church forever, and they all know to protect each other-if they out an underling they, too, will be outed. It’s a ‘good old girls’ club and its old and entrenched. Why else would any Godly Pope allow it to continue? It’s like mutilating the patient to save them from cancer-no Pope wants to be the one to shine the light on the roaches and start exterminating.
I meant what I said-and I am the product of 12 years of Catholic school- I would rather have a world with ONE legitimate priest per continent than thousands who are abominations and illegitimate. These perverts are why the Catholic church is suffering in world opinion, and in the loss of practicing Catholics. Religion and hypocrisy are a toxic mix.
And as for the media turning the defrocked priests into ‘victims’- I don’t give a damn. Better they be ‘victims’ and OUT of my Church, than that they continue to victimize children and practice sodomy while representing Christ. So if there will be victims anyway- let it be the perverts-not children or the Catholic Church.
Coveting thy neighbor's wife is a sin. How is coveting thy neighbor's husband, brother, father, et al, not one?
There were something like 700 journalists signed on for WYD. In posting these threads, I often search for images from the event. There were very few. I had to pull them from personal postings on Facebook. This is the first time I have ever encountered anything like this. 3 million people on the beach at Copacabana, in silent prayer, and no media photos!
The Brazilian paper had it right .. the mainstream media sent journalists in hopes of finding something controversial. It wasn't until the end of the event that they found their opportunity, by twisting a statement made by the pope.
I agree with you about homosexuals repenting. In fact, Paul had noted in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that some church members who had been previously practicing fordidden sex had evidently repented and accepted God's grace to stop doing so.
Just as 1 Corinthians 5 shows that Paul reprimanded the church in Corinth for tolerating members that engaged in forbidden sex, so-called priests who engage in forbidden sexual relationships should likewise be given the boot imo.
Also, since were talking about priests, note that Titus 1:7 indicates that overseers will probably be held to higher moral standards when they are judged.
Here are some.
gays are not asking for forgiveness, they are demanding approval and forcing their views on the rest of us. that is not asking for forgiveness.
if you demand acceptqnce and approval for your sin, and keep sinning, that ain’t forgivenesss and it ain’t repentance ie - go and sin no more.
ALL unsaved sinners are the minions of satan. by definition. some just love their sins more than others.
“Pope Francis reiterated the Churchs belief that having a homosexual orientation is not sinful but engaging in homosexual acts is.”
BS. Homosexual orientation? As long as a frog doesn’t act
like a frog he can be a toad. Sounds like a backtrack to me.
So it’s ok to be a homo and enter the kingdom of heaven as
long as you don’t blow the prophets? It’s not the church
I’m mad about, it’s the homo’s and their agenda.
Ultimate oxymoron, “homosexual priest”. Francis the Pope
just condoned homosexual priesthood. That’s it in a
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