Some folks are positively giddy about Pope Francis’s recent comment that he would not judge gay people of good will who seek to serve God.
I don’t think, though, that he was saying what many of them seem to think he said.
It’s right and proper and thoroughly Christian that we not judge people (to say nothing of hating them) on the basis, merely, of their temptations. In that regard, heterosexuality and homosexuality are surely on a par. Simply having an inclination is not, in and of itself, sinful. It’s the acting upon an inclination, or the not acting upon it, that has moral significance.
This is true just about everywhere, not just with regard to sexuality. To want to make a searing response to an opponent isn’t a sin when one bites one’s tongue and remains silent. To wish that one owned that Lamborghini over there isn’t a sin unless one steals it. Even to notice that a neighbor’s wife is stunningly beautiful is no sin, provided one doesn’t linger upon the thought in a lascivious way (let alone commit actual adultery).
It’s absolutely right and proper, and Christian to the core, that we respect others — even those with whom we disagree. Even those of whose behavior we disapprove.
But the pope didn’t, and almost certainly won’t, endorse gay marriage or an actively homosexual lifestyle.
For a reasonably balanced brief discussion of the pope’s remarks by a supporter of gay rights, see this article in the New York Times.