Skip to comments.Pope Francisí comments on homosexuality in the Big Interview
Posted on 09/19/2013 5:04:36 PM PDT by markomalley
In the Big Interview (my first thoughts HERE), Pope Francis spoke on a range of issues, including homosexuality.
The MSM and catholic left and the squishy center is running with Franciss jump-out quotes (traddies could maybe call them scare quotes). If you look at MSM headlines, you take-away will be that Pope Francis is saying that abortion isnt a big deal or that homosexuality is okay and that the Church doesnt have a right to tell anyone what to do.
I dont think that that is what he thinks or what he is doing or saying.
Lets take a look at a portion of the interview in which Francis talks about homosexuality. Pay attention to the vocabulary, even though this is a translation. I havent yet verified the translation against the original. My emphases and comments:
We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner, [That's the public square.] the pope says, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. [Something that needs healing is not a good thing. Then he leaps immediately into the issue of homosexuality... ] In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are socially wounded because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. [Which has been made abundantly clear in documents issued during the time of John Paul II from the office guided by Joseph Card. Ratzinger. The Church does NOT condemn homosexual people! The Church sees the actions as sinful and the orientation as a wound. I won't use the word "disease", because that gives absolutely the wrong sense of the wound. I'll go with Francis' point that it is something that needs "healing".] During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, [Where, Holy Father, where? On every street corner: the public square.] but God in creation has set us free: [We have FREE WILL. We can choose to go against God's plan and law.] it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person. [God doesn't use mind control. The Church doesn't use mind control. The Church proposes and we either freely embrace it or freely reject it.]
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? [Which is exactly what the Church teaches. God loves everyone.] We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing. [Well... maybe He does. I hope and pray that is what happens.]
So, the Pope starting by talking about the healing of what is wounded. He immediately went into the subject of homosexual persons. He talked about the pain they feel. He talked about our compassion and Gods love. Now, in talking about homosexuality he says:
This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: [What happens in the Sacrament of Penance? First and foremost you confess your own sins.] evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lords mercy motivates us to do better. [Confession is the "tribunal" in which you are simultaneously the accused and the prosecuting attorney. The Church's role, in the person of the mercy is to act as, simultaneously, minister of justice and minister of mercy. You accuse yourself of sins and the Church helps in the healing. Remember, Francis is talking about homosexuality. Now he pivots to other great issues where there is a disease or wound to be healed.] I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do? [If a confessor is involved at this point in her life then that is because she is confessing the sin she committed in procuring an abortion and for her parts or failures if any in the breakup of the marriage. Those are diseases or wounds that need healing. What does the confessor do? He HEALS, first by absolving the sincerely confessed sin, and also by talking of God's love and mercy. He reconciles the women with the society of the Church as well. So, let's go on and see if Francis is only saying that the Church shouldn't talk about abortion or homosexuality or that the Church doesn't have a right to tell anyone what to do....]
We cannot insist only [only] on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. [In other words, we cannot a) limit ourselves to talking just about these burning issues and b) just talk about the sins and messes people get themselves into.] This is not possible. [We have a lot of things to talk about, in addition to those issues. For example, the flipside of the issues, such as the joy of healing and returning to grace and life in God.] I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. [Right. Some people want to hear more from Francis about these burning issues on which the Church's voice is being snuffed out.] But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. [YES! In a context. The context is that we are all sinners. The context was established by Jesus: He told the woman taken in adultery, Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again. (John 8:11) He did NOT approve of the sin. He called the sin what it is: SIN. At the same time He did not condemn the woman. How is this difficult? That is exactly the Church's position on homsexuals and homsexual acts which are sins.] The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. [That, folks, is the take-away.]
Let me repeat:
The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
This is what I think Francis is up to.
Francis pontificate is going to be about evangelization and putting a motherly face on the Church.
I suspect that, while he is Pope, Francis doesnt want to see the words Vatican condemns a-ny-where.
I think that Francis thinks that constant correction and condemnation does more harm than good. BE CAREFUL NOW: Francis said all the time. He did not say we should not talk about these things.
Also, I did not say that I think Francis thinks that it is only harmful to correct and condemn, etc. It does some good, but it also does harm. I think he thinks that, right now, the harm to the Churchs message and motherly character outweighs the good that the correction does. (At least considering the way we have been doing it.)
That is also why he thinks things need to be done more at the local level than by him. He doesnt want to see Vatican condemns or Pope Francis condemns all the time. Thats just about the only way that the MSM chooses to pay attention to Popes. If they are not calling for peace, Popes are only reported on when they exercise one of the most important dimensions of their office: saying No!
To recap: People who focus just on the comments that Francis made about compassion for homosexuals and social wounds or about not talking about abortion all the time or that the Church has no right to interfere with people (as if to say that Francis thinks homosexuality is okay or that the Church should be silent in the public square or that we mustnt talk about abortion) without also underscoring that Francis was talking about things which need healing and that they are matters for confession (read: sins) have distorted his meaning.
Some of you are saying But Father! But Father! Should any Pope talk this way? Doesnt he understand that people take him out of context? Should he say any of this?
I respond that, when I am Pope, Ill have a different style. Headlines might read something like POPE NOT SEEN IN PUBLIC FOR 100 DAYS! STILL ALIVE? But thats a different can of chowder. Francis is the one in the chair and he gets to speak and act with the freedom of the Vicar of Christ in a world that hasnt been welcoming the Churchs message for a long time. We shall see what results.
I read what the Pope says. Then I try to figure out what he is really saying, apart from my own preferences about how he should say it. But, hey!. He talks about the Devil in stark terms, more than Benedict ever did. Francis might not talk in philosophical terms about beauty and mystery, and truth no, wait he did in Lumen fidei . well as much as Benedict did . no, wait Benedict wrote what Francis signed well as often as we might prefer. Instead, Francis talks about things like damaging gossip and the sort of ambition that hurts people. Oh, Lord, how I have suffered from both gossip and the machinations of the ambitious clerics during my years as a priest. I welcome Francis healing words about these sins! These are concrete sins that are going on even more than homosexual acts or abortions, which are also sins. These sins deserve attention also. We know what the sins are. Even people who deny that certain things are sins know that they are sins deep down. Therefore, we can use lots of attention on healing the wounds of sin.
Dear readers, dont focus only on the jump-out quotes or the scare quotes.
Read the whole context. Let it sink in. Think about it.
Pope Francis, formerly a Jesuit, gave a series of interviews to the Jesuits. The interviews have been edited together, with parenthetical commentary and descriptions of the setting and so forth, and translated by lay people and Jesuits for publication in Jesuit publications. The English version is at the site of Jesuit-run America Magazine.
The interview is dense. There is a LOT going on in it. It is too much for the brain to take in at one sitting.
As you read the interview, and media coverage of the interview, you will find and this is consistent with Pope Francis style of talking off-the-cuff some truly quotable quotes, leap-out quotes that sit up and beg to be taken out of context. Look at what the MSM is doing with some of them.
For example, the New York Times leads with a headline Pope Bluntly Faults Churchs Focus on Gays and Abortion (By Laurie Goodstein). Oh really? Is that what Pope Francis did? CBS has Pope Francis: Catholic Church must focus beyond small-minded rules and goes on to say Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Churchs moral structure might fall like a house of cards if it doesnt balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all. Oh really? Is that what Pope Francis really said? The CBS statement makes the Pope sound as if he thinks that the Church has to change its teaching about abortion and homosexuality or it will collapse like a house of cards.
Even if you havent read the whole interview/article, some 12000 words, common sense tells you that that is not what the Pope said.
It is important when reading the interview, and media coverage of the interview, to keep your eyes on those leap-out quotes. When you see the MSM using those leap-out quotes in a way that doesnt pass the smell test, go back and look at the context, the whole paragraph.
The whole context of the paragraph deconstructs the leap-out quotes and makes those quotes make sense.
Also, think about the Francis effect in the reporting of this interview.
For example, if Benedict XVI talking in an interview about the need for a theology of women and a deeper discussion of the role of women in the Church had said what Francis said, the headlines would have screamed POPE DENIES EQUALITY TO WOMEN!. On the other hand, Francis, in this interview, spoke with real disdain for female machismo as a solution to the question of womens roles. When you read the paragraph on women and womens roles in the Church you discover that Pope Francis is NOT a fan of radical feminism. Francis spoke about what Popes before him have called feminine genius. Nothing new. He said, a woman has a different make-up than a man and we must not confuse the function with the dignity. But since this is Francis being interviewed, and not Benedict or John Paul, journalists will go with something like, POPE WANTS GREATER ROLES FOR WOMEN!. You wont read what the Pope really communicated: Yes, women must play an important role in the Church, but mens roles and womens roles are different, and that also means that women cant be ordained.
Thats one example. Another example we will have to look at along the way is what Pope Francis meant by right winger. I dont think he meant by that what the MSM and the catholic media - is going to make of it. I think there is more to it that the leap-out quote says in those few words. Ill get to that in another post.
Here is an overarching concern I take away from my first readings.
Through interviews and the coverage of interviews a virtual Francis is being created. An interview, by its nature, can only go so far. Short questions and short responses only go so deep.
We have to make sure that, with all the media attention, with all these interviews, that the virtual Francis is not stronger than the real Francis.
That is exactly what Benedict XVI in his last days as Pope said and warned about how the Second Vatican Council was interpreted. The media and others created a virtual Council. Remember that? There is a Council of the Media and a Council of the Fathers.
Week by week a Francis of the Media is being crafted.
Popes dont govern through interviews.
Pope Francis speaks about a lot of heavy and burning issues: the role of women, abortion and homosexuality, to name a few. There is not a word in the interview that changes the Churchs teaching. He indicates what his interests are and his focus for his limited time and energy is going to be. That is an important take away from the interview.
If this Pope isnt going to speak out a great deal about abortion or homosexuality, its because he knows that everyone is perfectly clear about what the Church teaches on these points. Francis as is consistent with his old-fashioned Jesuit training wants to be efficient in the use of his time and energy.
Because the Churchs teachings are clear, Francis will spend his precious time and energy showing a side of the Church that people, especially the MSM, hasnt paid attention to: that the Church is not a museum of the perfect, it is a field hospital for sinners. Pope Francis is reminding the whole world that we are sinners and that we have to have compassion for each other, patience with each other, that we have to work to help each other even at some great cost. Francis is, to put it simply, touching up the Churchs human face and presenting her anew to a jaded, fallen world.
Ill have more thoughts about particular segments and statements in the interview along the line. I wanted, however, to offer a few thoughts and lenses that might help you in your own reading of the interview and of the media coverage of the interview.
Here are the pieces I mentioned in the other thread.
Abortion apparently isn’t a big deal since, when Pope Francis was in Brazil he didn’t talk to their leader about the upcoming move to liberalize their abortion laws.
Well, if God doesn't control minds, then the Scriptures that Francis' club claims to have delivered to man is wrong. The interviewer may wish to read the Book. But, th fact they don't explains a lot of the error found in the RCC, at large.
Well said statement by the Pope. You don't believe in Free Will? God does not force anyone to do anything. They choose.
some needs to dump this link on the pope with his adult filter off
(EXTREME WARNING: liberal lifestyle on parade in public):
then ask him if this is alright with God (because it’s perfectly fine with Pelosi... this is her district)
the VAST majority of moral people have no idea what’s going on and who these people are
Francis urges priests not to push cohabiting couples away
09/16/2013 - Vatican Insider
don’t cast your pearls before swine. they will trample them underfoot.
don’t cast your godly wisdom before people who have no ability to appreciate it. they will disregard it.
there are some people that it makes sense to explain things to, namely the seekers, the humble, the genuinely interested, those looking for a real hope.you don’t waste it talking to walls, you don’t waste it talking to those that could care less about it. because they don’t see any value in it at all, and will just trample it underfoot.
God loves us when we come to Him as we are, but He does expect us to change, to conform to Him as we grow as Christians. he does not want us to stay the same and continue sinning and believe we can just keep being the active homosexual, the militant pro-abortion person, the person who stays’jealous of those that have better things, the person who gossips and bitches about everyone and everything, etc. After the “you are forgiven” always came the “Go and sin no more.” That means He expects us to do better than we did before. and keep doing better as we grow in Him.
With all due respect to the Pope, why doesn’t he include more of the Scriptures, particularly the teachings of Jesus which pertain to unrepentant sin, in his discussions about homosexuality?
More specifically, not only does Matthew 18:15-17 show that Jesus instructed Christian churches to essentially give the boot to unrepentant sinners, but 1 Corinthians 5 is an example of Paul doing just that. 1 Cor. 5 shows that Paul chewed out that church for not giving the boot to unrepentant sinners, sinners who just happened to be guilty of sexual immorality (it’s a small world), incest the problem in that example.
So I question the Pope’s seeming stance that the Church’s job is to be a “Mr. nice guy” and essentially give unrepentant sinners the benefit of the doubt in such situations. That’s the way I’m reading the Pope anyway.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 5:13 shows Paul referencing God’s command to the ancient Israelites to “purge the evil from among you,” meaning in NT times to expel such people from the congregation as Jesus taught, as opposed to putting them to death as God required in OT times.
The key Bible passage that people struggling with homosexuality need to understand, imo, is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. That passage warns, “do not be deceived” about things like same-sex sexual relationships if you want to inherit the kingdom of God. That passage goes on to indicate that some members of that church had formerly struggled with such sin, but had evidently repented and accepted God’s grace to turn their lives around.
But the response for somebody who is truly contrite for his/her sins and has begged for forgiveness and who has then received absolution for those sins is to try to not sin again.
Up until recently, I would say, "How many of those people don't realize that homosexual conduct is gravely sinful, that abortion is gravely sinful, etc., etc., etc."
Sadly, a larger and larger bulk of Christianity is disavowing perfectly obvious, plain talk about these teachings of Christ and are teaching sin as if it were a moral good.
And so, while I understand and support the Holy Father's teaching...concentrating on Christ the Divine Physician...Who heals not only our physical maladies but the maladies of our souls...I hope that he does speak about the proper response on the part of the Christian to that healing.
Don’t misunderstand what the Bible teaches about God’s sovereignty.
“It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2: 13)
Sinners are free in a sense, but they are free only in the direction of sin.
“For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness” (Rom. 6:20).
A man can chose a religion, but he can’t chose Christ, not in a saving sense. Salvation isn’t by genetics, and it’s not by human decision or choice, it’s by a miracle wrought in the human heart by the Holy Spirit. Salvation is by sovereign free grace. The best thing that ever happened to me was when The Lord violated my “free will.”
” Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Actually, if you pay attention to the daily reflections of the Holy Father...he does concentrate quite a bit on them.
Now, mind you, he won't say "take your Bibles and open to Romans Chapter 1..."
But he will speak about them in the midst of his speech.
…particularly the teachings of Jesus which pertain to unrepentant sin, in his discussions about homosexuality?
Speaking of that, did you ever really pay attention to Romans 1? I mean really reflect upon it?
 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice:  Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them.  For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.
 Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened.  For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things.  Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves.  Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
 For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections.
Did you notice that St Paul talks about how people abandoned God...and then, for this cause (the cause being that they abandoned God), God delivered them up to shameful affections?
Did you perhaps think that Francis might be trying to get rid of the "for this cause"...?
Just a thought...
I’m not giving my opinion. I’m quoting His Word. Forget the pope and read the Bible.
Right. Thanks for your opinion.
I’ll stand on His word rather than the babblings of a sinful man.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
I think the Pope is making a distinction between what society calls homosexuals and what the church calls homosexual acts. Just as we don’t refer to someone who has committed fornication or adultery as the fornicator or the adulterer, as though that act defines their entire being, we should take care to separate homosexual acts from the value in God’s eyes of the person who commits them.
“Ill stand on His word rather than the babblings of a sinful man.”
Yes I feel the same way.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
You can trust the Bible. I wasn’t giving my opinion. I was reminding you what God has said of Himself.