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.
If only the orientation is present, and not the behavior or the self-advertising, then there is nothing to be observed, judged, or objected to.
I like this pope a lot.
Methinks the MSM had best wait a bit and see what this Pope has to say about gay priests that choose to pack fudge...especially with children.
We all should not judge...but when one is holding the badge of an organization, one either fulfills the obligations of that badge...or one leaves. And I fully believe that this pope thinks this way also.
Praying your bf isn’t HIV positive or has full blown AIDS don’t count!
Pope Francis the Fondler. Homosexuals have infiltrated
the Catholic church and taken over. Boy Scouts, The Catholic
church, AMA and the federal government are now controlled by
the homosexuals and their agenda.
Homos are the minions of satan.
Unless he’s God he’s on the right track.
“Francis was much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.”
Sounds familiar. “Go, and sin no more.”
If any sinner is seeking forgiveness and redemption then it is not for us to judge them. That is biblical (Matt. 7:3 and other places)
The Pope did not address head-on the recalcitrant, self-righteous, in-your-face self-promoting gays we’ve been dealing with here.
does he have that policy for pedophiles too?
If a person decides to live his or her life contrary to God and His law, how can that person be said to be "seeking the Lord in good faith?" How can this statement be reconciled?
Sometimes I think it is not worth the trouble to save those lost souls.
But I guess the Pope feels duty bound to try.
It's sad to see evidence that the Pope is seemingly "unaware" of passages in the Holy Bible concerning judging others, particularly where biblically condemned same-sex sexual relationships are concerned. More spefically, reflecting on Jesus' words concerning unrepentant sinners in Matthew 18:15-17, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 that church members are expected judge other church members.
This makes homosexuality sound normal, as though it is just a different flavor of the normal.
I think that homosexuals and men who want to have sex with little children are sick and abnormal, and that if you learn that they are having such desires, then they are already someone that you want to marginalize and keep out of some work, such as Priest or Scout leader.
If you dont know that a potential or practicing Priest is homosexual then there is nothing to discuss or think about, but if he is so deep into his sexuality that people learn about the sick, unnatural sexual desires that he is fighting, then he needs to be marginalized.
No matter what, this is a statement which helps people to accept homosexuality as normal, it further undercuts resistance to the homosexual agenda and signals to everyone, especially Catholics, to lighten up on the gay stuff both within and without the Catholic denomination and the Catholic voters sure dont need to hear that message in America.
It seems to me the Pope's comment is congruent to yours. "...Seeking the Lord in Good Faith" suggests they are changing to be in the good grace of the Lord. That is, they are repentant and reformed. Note, "being gay" is no more a sin than being afflicted with Down Syndrome. It's the knowledge and behavior the begets sin.
We are not suppose to judge the souls. That is for God. But we can judge behavior and speculate on what God thinks of that behavior. That said, true Reconciliation starts in the heart, of which only God knows the purity of intent. A murderer that confesses his sins but does not "firmly intend, with God's help, to sin no more and avoid anything that leads to sin" is NOT necessarily forgiven. But that is God's place through the Holy Spirit, not even the Pope's.
Actually we are told TO judge, unless we are engaged in the same behavior. How can a Christian try to lead a righteous life, or try and bring people to Christ, without judging between right and wrong behaviors?
Well,. there goes any hope this Roman Catholic had of this Pope cleaning out the Church. It is evidently SO infected with homosexuals and deviants that to reform it in any way is seen as suicidal.
I’d rather have TWO-TWO Roman Catholic priests on the planet who LIVED their vows, than the thousands of illegitimate ‘priests’ we have now. I do not-and will never- consider homosexual priests as legitimate priests. Pedophilia aside, I don’t want priest having sex with other adults or each other either! Can’t adhere to the vows=don’t take them. Break them and you are NOT a priest.
I think it is truly fascinating, almost spiritual, to see so many folks hear different things in what the Pope said. The same words are taken individually to mean specific things.
I think Jesus would say, the words are heard as a reflection of the individual who hears them.