Pope Francis Didn’t Say Anything Radical About Homosexuality, So Stop Pretending He Did

I was out of town yesterday, so I missed out on most of the hoopla surrounding the Pope’s comments. But having had a chance to see the raw footage and how people are reacting, I wanted to put it in context, if for no other reason than to sort it out myself.

Early in the video, Pope Francis says (in Spanish):

If a gay person is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge?

Those remarks, seemingly friendlier to the gay community than anything a Pope has said in the past, struck a nerve with a lot of people.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan:

What’s so striking to me is not what he said, but how he said it: the gentleness, the humor, the transparency. I find myself with tears in my eyes as I watch him. I’ve lived a long time to hear a Pope speak like that — with gentleness and openness, reasserting established dogma with sudden, sweeping exceptions that aren’t quite exceptions — except they sure sound like them.

Of course, the Pope still thinks Sullivan is a sinner. And even if he’s not judging gay people, surely, in his mind, God is.

The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on this matter are not so different than what you’d hear from a slightly-younger evangelical Christian, which is to say that it’s not a sin to be gay, only a sin to act on your gayness.

While this Pope certainly seems nicer than his predecessors, especially on this issue, I’m not buying this idea that he’s doing anything different or progressive. He’s telling people to treat each with respect, regardless of theology. He said the same thing about atheists not too long ago (a Vatican spokesperson had to later clarify that atheists were still hellbound).

That’s a sweet sentiment — to treat each other with respect — but it’s not very radical. It’s common sense. And it says a lot about the Catholic Church that a Pope who stresses common sense is doing something newsworthy.

Now, if the Pope demanded that Church leaders stop opposing LGBT rights, we’d finally be getting somewhere. But that didn’t happen.

Remember: Pope-Who-Am-I-To-Judge had no problem throwing gay people under the bus when his name was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio:

In 2010 he asserted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children…

Bergoglio asked monasteries to pray “fervently” that lawmakers in Argentina did not go through with plans to legalize same sex marriage because it would “seriously damage the family.”

“At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children,” he wrote. “At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.

Has he taken those statements back? Not as far as I can tell.

Moral of the story:

If you’re celibate and gay, you’re okay.

If you’ve had gay sex, well, have fun in Hell.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    The story is missing the full quote.

    If a gay person is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge? … The Pope, that’s who. I’m papa to billions. I have more bling than Liberace. I have palaces in my palaces. If I want to judge them, who is to stop me? I am God on Earth!!! Knee before me!!!!!!!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      I know you meant kneel but knee before me is pretty funny.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        He’s the pope. He doesn’t need to spell correctly.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          …..

  • Gus Snarp

    Yeah, this is just like his comments on atheists. It sounds good, lets him paint himself as a liberal and loving Pope, and hopefully it will give some Catholics pause in how they treat others, but it’s really just window dressing intended to prevent civilized people from leaving the church in droves. In reality, Catholic doctrine hasn’t changed a bit. Atheists still go to hell. So do gay people. Gay couples still can’t be Catholic married, and the Church and the Pope still oppose marriage and adoption equality.

    Not to mention that we should be very clear: the comment was in regards to gay priests. They’re assumed to be celibate anyway, so basically he’s saying he doesn’t judge celibate priests for the fact that the sex they’re not having would be gay sex. Any priest having sex is breaking his vows. Whether or not he’s gay has never been a big deal, it’s whether or not he’s (caught) having sex. People around me are saying: Oh look, the new Pope is so great, this is a huge statement, the Church is changing. Bullshit. Nothing has changed. These are a couple of nice sounding sentiments, but he has the power to change the Church’s actual policies and doctrines overnight. If he’s so good and liberal and moving the Church in the right direction, let’s see that. Let’s see him order every Catholic organization to stop opposing marriage equality. Let’s see him marry some gay couples in a special ceremony at the Vatican. Let’s see him order Catholic orphanages to go back into business and serve prospective parents regardless of sexual orientation.

    Until then, he’s still the guy who thought his country’s endorsement of marriage and adoption equality was a worse crime than the disappearing and murder of countless citizens for political reasons.

    • 3lemenope

      These are a couple of nice sounding sentiments, but he has the power to change the Church’s actual policies and doctrines overnight.

      That’s simply not true. Anyone familiar with any large-scale human organization, no matter how autocratic, knows that this expectation is a joke. All such organizations are delicate structures of power balancing among factions with diverse and contradictory goals and priorities. Any attempt to cut through it like a bolt from on high would result in plenty of short term chaos followed by, in all likelihood, a retrenchment.

      Anyone who tells you it’s good to be the king has never been king.

      • The Other Weirdo

        But surely he can enlist God’s help.

      • Gus Snarp

        Well no, it absolutely is true. If Catholicism’s rules mean anything to Catholicism, the Pope can issue an edict with the authority of God. He does have that power.

        Now you’re probably right that there would be ramifications to that. But he does have the power.

        Regardless, he can do something. Anything. He could call a Vatican conference. Or he could say this is about all gay people, not just celibate priests. Or he could quietly stop the constant opposition to marriage equality without an official change of doctrine.

        Frankly, I think he’s full of shit. His past actions of raging homophobia make this look like nothing but a weak PR move to cover continued homophobia.

        • 3lemenope

          Having power, even infinite power, in the abstract means nothing next to practical restraints. I imagine that as Pope, Francis has many organizational priorities. If he wants to reform the Vatican Bank, for example, he needs at least to not be actively opposed by the powers-that-be in that bureaucracy. If he’s kicking over doctrinal anthills and the guys in charge of the Bank are doctrinally conservative, kiss that agenda item goodbye.

          And such things snowball. Coalition politics is intensified under dictatorships because representation is only cashed out through influence. Destroy enough sacred cows and soon you have no allies to get your organization where you want it to go. I think it silly to expect that the Pope would be willing to destroy the church in pursuit of any given end, much less one that is doctrinally encumbered.

        • MD

          My Catholic family and friends are placing bets on how long it’ll be before this pope dies of a sudden illness.

          • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

            That occurred to me too

        • Elvenfoot

          With respect, Gus, it is not true. No pope has the power to change a doctrine that another pope has set in place; not only that, they must actively uphold and proclaim the Church’s teachings, not sit down and shut up, so that society never has to see or hear the Church. Thus. the Catholic understanding of sexuality and marriage cannot be changed by this pope or any future pope (nor its understanding of the all-male priesthood), and he can’t pretend the doctrines don’t exist.

          You have to remember that he is not a monarch; he is just the bishop of Rome and is subject to the authority of canon law and the authority of past popes, like every other bishop. He does have primacy of authority in the Church, but he cannot do whatever he wants. Even when a pope defines a doctrine “ex cathedra” (the last time was in the 1800s, I think), it is not doctrine he is just making up out of his head. He merely makes official what the Church has already been teaching for a long time. As far as I know, both the Orthodox and Catholic branches of the Christian Church have always taught a sacramental understanding of marriage (which is inherently heterosexual) and the sinfulness of sex outside of marriage (which includes homosexual sex by default).

  • L.Long

    His message is the same it has always been. There is NOTHING in the buyBull that condemns gays. Its the activity that is condemned, look it up! So he did not really say anything good, because if a gay does not do other guys its perfectly OK. After all the only thought sin is coveting.
    Of course there is nothing wrong with having intimate activity of man on man either.
    Because the fundie literalists can’t have it both ways without acknowledging that they just don’t like gays, just cuz they don’t like’em.
    The buyBull says if a man lays with another man as he lays with a woman that is a sin. Well when in bed with a woman I tend to just lay there and go to sleep, so obviously I can’t do that if I’m with a man as that would be a sin(see above), so I must be intimate with the man or sin. Of course those self same fundies would say but that is not what it means, at which point you ask,’and how do you know the mind of gawd? Since your own silly buyBull states no one may know his mind.’
    But since I am hetero, I only sleep with guys and mess around with ladies. Because if you only ‘sleep’ with a woman you again violate the buyBull, you are required to mess around with them.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      There is NOTHING in the buyBull that condemns gays. Its the activity that is condemned, look it up!

      I looked it up. The punishment for the activity is to stone the person to death.

      • sane37

        citation needed

        • Michael W Busch

          I refer you to the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/homosexuality.html .

          The point being that the Bible is self-contradicting on this matter.

          Some places, men who have sex with men are ordered to be stoned. Other places, they are ordered to be exiled. And there are ambiguous but positive descriptions of what may have been both man-man and woman-woman two-person sexual or romantic relationships: David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi.

          Given all of that, Christians who claim biblical endorsement for their homophobia are engaged in transparent cherry-picking in an attempt to justify their bigotry.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    who am I to judge?

    He is of course the leader of an authoritarian organization, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, whose doctrine declares the he is the “vicar of Christ” on earth, with the ability to speak infallibly on issues of doctrine and morals, and heir to the chair of St. Peter, bishop of Rome and the first pope, to whom Jesus H. Christ said, “what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” So, according to the doctrine of his own church, he is well-equipped to judge and the attempt at humility is bogus.

    • 3lemenope

      Having power and using it are two very different things. Most if us who own or have access to a car have the power, simpliciter, to travel in excess of 100 mph. Most of us don’t do it.

  • Regina Carol Moore

    Thank you for writing this. Even my gay friends are misinterpreting this to mean the Catholic church is fine with gays now. It’s sort of revolting.

  • 3lemenope

    While it isn’t exactly a massive rupture from prior tradition, since when is striking a (much much) better and more conciliatory tone best met with disdain? Given that many Catholics are taking this, rightly or wrongly, as a pass to treat gays like human beings (Papa sez don’t judge!), then its practical effect stretches far beyond the doctrinal details.

    • Gus Snarp

      It would be nice if it had that effect, and in that way I think there’s a little bit of positive effect. But overall, I think it’s minor compared to the negative effect: people who disagree with the Church’s stance on homosexuality can now stay in the Church and feel better about an pretend the Pope agrees with them, while the Church continues to vehemently oppose gay rights in reality and to consider homosexuality “disordered”.

      • 3lemenope

        The sneaky (completely underappreciated) thing that he did during the press conference was attempt to wedge apart issues of legality from those of morality. Recall that he was the guy who said that civil unions would be an acceptable alternative to gay marriage in Argentina. Was it a forced compromise? Sure. Could you imagine Benedict or John Paul making it?

        This lays the groundwork, if they wanted to, to disengage from the secular law battles over civil marriage as a “not my problem” situation. I could be reading into it a wee bit, but if I were the pope and I wanted to lay the groundwork for disengaging from the second-biggest single public relations black eye my institution has endured in the last half-century, that’s how I would do it.

        • Gus Snarp

          I’ll just drop this with: I hope you’re right. But I doubt it.

          • 3lemenope

            I hope you’re right. But I doubt it.

            Me too.

        • SeekerLancer

          “This lays the groundwork, if they wanted to, to disengage from the secular law battles over civil marriage as a “not my problem” situation.”

          That’s true, and I feel like it’s something that’s going to become a matter of necessity for them in the near future.

          • 3lemenope

            That and female priests. I found it almost funny (if it weren’t quite so sad) that the one doctrinal note he felt the need to double-down on was “no woman priests!” just as the Church continues hemorrhaging to death for lack of pastors. Eventually, they’ll either need female priests or android ones, and I’m not about to take bets on which way that’ll go. The Church’s misogyny is much deeper even than its homophobia. After all, many in the leadership are closeted self-loathing gay men. None of the leadership are women.

            • b s

              “they’ll either need female priests or android ones”

              Robopriest!

              “You are in violation of commandments 2, 6, and 7. Please go to the confessional. You have 20 seconds to comply.

              You have 5 seconds to comply. Four… three… two… one… I am now authorized to use physical force!”

              • The Other Weirdo

                Too late. Woody Allen did that in the 70s in The Sleeper.

        • Eli

          That’s how I took it too, but maybe I’m just being too optimistic.

    • Tainda

      Those are my thoughts as well. The Catholic church is going to be the last hold out on everything. How long did it take for them to not get hyper when the common man started to read and write? lol

      I still think it’s a backhanded comment and one to get publicity but hey, it’s something.

      I can’t wait for the day that they are totally irrelevant to everyone. Unfortunately I will be long dead

    • M. Elaine

      It’s basically the same as the comment he made about atheists, which is that we’re damaged but there is hope. But if this saves the life of even just one teen who isn’t violently assaulted or doesn’t commit suicide, then it’s worth it.

  • The Other Weirdo

    This picture, it disturbez me. What does the Pope need with an airplane? Jesus could walk on water and he said that his followers would be able to do even greater things. John 14:11-13. Surely, there is no follower of Jesus greater than the Pope. Why can’t the Pope simply teleport, by the power of God, to his destination?

    Apart from the fact that a Catholic priest who was able to materialize anywhere, bypassing all of your defenses in one fell swoop would be creepy as hell.

    • 3lemenope

      Apart from the fact that a Catholic priest who was able to materialize anywhere, bypassing all of your defenses in one fell swoop would be creepy as hell.

      This recalls Alan Cumming’s very fun interpretation of Nightcrawler in X2.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Heh. The comics could never really got across that Nightcrawler’s power really is creepy as hell. I greatly appreciated what the movie did for him.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Who am I to judge?

    Ummm…you’re the fucking pope. As far as I can tell, that’s like your #1 job responsibility.

    • Blacksheep

      I’m not Catholic – but I would like to believe that his #1 job is to lead people in the Christian faith – and since the Bible goes on and on about the dangers of judging others, then his job, if he were following scripture, would be not to judge.

      • Art_Vandelay

        I thought it was God’s job to judge people and the pope is the vicar of God on earth.

        • Blacksheep

          You may be right – perhaps as a non-catholic I’m projecting the idea that he’s just a regular human, no different than anyone else. Now I’m wondering myself – is the pope not bound by the same rules that other Christians are?

          There’s no way to find out by reading the Bible, since there’s no such thing as a pope!

          • Art_Vandelay

            Yeah…the Pope isn’t really viewed as a regular human at all. Catholic theology dictates that the voting process is divinely inspired and that he is in fact 100% completely infallible, just by virtue of being the Pope.

            No…you’re right, there’s nothing about this in the bible. Just the RCC making up the rules as they go along.

  • Fred

    I’m always surprised when I hear Catholics welcoming any type of “change” and “modernization” in the church. Even if this was the most liberal Pope that ever ruled and started a gay -friendly policy in the church, wouldn’t that mean that the rules keep changing? What about everything previous popes said and did (including Ratzinger just a year ago)? Were they wrong? What about the millions of faithfuls who agreed with them back then?

    I mean….why would you blindly believe in something that can (and probably will) change in a few year’s time anyway? Do people not realize that Catholicism has always tried to catch up with secular society and not viceversa?

  • Anonymous Catholic

    “And it says a lot about the Catholic Church that a Pope who stresses common sense is doing something newsworthy.”
    Yes.
    But the point is, this is THE CATHOLIC CHURCH we are talking about. THE POPE. I realize the Catholic Church is a long way from accepting homosexuality without conditions. And in my opinion, that sucks. But FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, this statement IS progressive. And that’s why it’s newsworthy.

  • C Peterson

    What he said isn’t bad on the surface, perhaps just baby steps towards a more humane view. But underneath, with a little thought, it’s really rather horrible.

    He says, “who am I to judge gays?”, but in his head, he’s thinking “I’ll leave that to God”. In other words, being gay remains something subject to judgment, just not human judgment.

    But what I hear is morally identical to “who am I to judge blacks?”, a viewpoint that is reprehensible by almost any modern ethical system. Of course, “modern ethical system” and “Catholic Church” are pretty discordant concepts.

    • Rain

      He doesn’t want to judge, but only after judging the “good will” and the “seeks God” bit. He has to do a lot of judging first before he gets to the point where he doesn’t want to judge, lol.

    • eric

      I think the point is: its not baby steps towards a more humane view because the RCC hasn’t moved their theological position at all.

      • C Peterson

        Well, realistically, the theological position isn’t going to change until the social environment inside the Church changes, and this might be a hint of a trace of a whiff of something like that happening.

        It would be a more positive thing if it weren’t just so damn insulting.

  • Physicalist

    If you’re celibate and gay, you’re okay.

    Yes, but a relevant point (maybe not the relevant point, though) is that the previous pope (Benedict) didn’t even grant this much. He was saying that celibate gays shouldn’t join the seminary, and that their inclinations (even if not acted on) made them corrupt.

    It’s a baby step in a marathon, but it is nonetheless a step in the right direction.

  • Wren

    Isn’t the general stance more that if you aren’t married (for their definition of married) then you need to be celibate? It doesn’t matter if you want to have sex with men or women, if you aren’t married to that person, it is a sin. It seems to me that he was basically saying that gay sex is no worse than straight sex (outside of marriage).

    • SwedishLore15

      I doubt Pope Francis is a proponent of gay marriage, so that leaves gays in a state of perpetual celibacy if they wish to remain in God’s good graces, does it not? Their straight counterparts can choose to wed and have sex – provided it is for the purpose of procreation, of course.

  • SeekerLancer

    It’s the same message the church always had with a better public relations team spinning it.

    • 3lemenope

      Benedict clearly said that homosexuality is an objective moral evil, is intrinsically disordered, and that gay men should not join or stay in the priesthood.

      So, no, not really the same. At all.

      • nomin

        That the inclination towards homosexual
        acts is an objective disorder and that homosexual acts are grave sins is clear
        Catholic doctrine. Read the Catechism. Pope Francis has not swayed from this
        doctrine. He has reaffirmed other aspects of Catholic doctrine in relation to
        it, namely that homosexuals are deserving of love and respect in their
        struggles, in their striving towards celibacy and acceptance of God, as does
        any of us in our own struggles against our sinful proclivities. Furthermore, he
        has emphasized that we as human and sinful beings cannot stand in judgment of
        other souls. You must also realize that Pope Francis was responding to a
        question about priests who were committed to celibacy and their vocation. Pope
        Benedict was speaking about individuals with deep-seated tendencies towards
        homosexuality, who were still struggling to remain true to the practice of
        celibacy, when he said that they would not be suited for the priesthood. Pope
        Benedict consistently maintained that homosexual persons were deserving of our
        love and care. There has been no change in the positions of the two Popes, only
        in the manner in which news sources have represented their views and portrayed
        them as individuals. There has been no change in Catholic doctrine on this matter,
        and it will remain unchanged reflecting God’s moral law as revealed in
        Scripture and in sacred Tradition.

      • nomin

        Sorry about the formatting error on my previous attempt at replying to your comment. Here’s hoping this try works. That the inclination towards homosexual acts is an objective disorder and that homosexual acts are grave sins is clear Catholic doctrine. Read the Catechism. Pope Francis has not swayed from this doctrine. He has reaffirmed other aspects of Catholic doctrine in relation to it, namely that homosexuals are deserving of love and respect in their struggles, in their striving towards celibacy and acceptance of God, as does any of us in our own struggles against our sinful proclivities. Furthermore, he has emphasized that we as human and sinful beings cannot stand in judgment of other souls. You must also realize that Pope Francis was responding to a question about priests who were committed to celibacy and their vocation. Pope Benedict was speaking about individuals with deep-seated tendencies towards homosexuality, who were still struggling to remain true to the practice of celibacy, when he said that they would not be suited for the priesthood. Pope Benedict consistently maintained that homosexual persons were deserving of our love and care. There has been no change in the positions of the two Popes, only in the manner in which news sources have represented their views and portrayed them as individuals. There has been no change in Catholic doctrine on this matter, and it will remain unchanged reflecting God’s moral law as revealed in Scripture and in sacred Tradition.

        • 3lemenope

          Emphasis is everything when one’s set of doctrines is that expansive. When Benedict chose to selectively reaffirm and underline the part of the catechism that calls homosexuals objectively disordered and doubled down on John XXIII’s order to keep gay men from the priesthood, he was choosing an emphasis for a particular end. Francis, in choosing very deliberately to emphasize a different element of the same catechism, is trying to achieve something very different with it. And practically speaking, his comments esp. regarding gay men in the priesthood, have the exact opposite effect as Benedict’s, taking something that was shrouded in shame and pain and mired in structural corruption and made it (hopefully) into something the Church can start to have a productive conversation about. It is awfully hard to have a productive conversation when one party to it is being called stigmatizing names.

          • nomin

            Don’t misunderstand me, I’m an absolute fan of Pope Francis. I think he has infused our faithful with new vigor, renewed the faith of many formerly lapsed, disillusioned Catholics, and inspired non-Christians to reconsider their opinions of the Church and its doctrines. He has held steadfast to the constant and unassailable moral and theological doctrines of the Church, while expressing its teachings with sincerity, humility, and compassion. He speaks with a kind of simplicity and forthrightness that appeals to the devout and non-Catholics alike. Pope Benedict was perceived to be more withdrawn and erudite, which likely made him less appealing to those outside of the Church. But, he was no less committed to the moral teachings of the Church, affirming the dignity and worth of every individual, including homosexual persons. He was consistent in upholding the Church’s teachings on the sinful nature of homosexual acts, yes, but he also stressed the importance of treating them with care and compassion and condemned any violence or discrimination directed towards them. He emphasized social justice and the necessity of caring for the afflicted. Pope Francis has done invaluable work in correcting people’s understanding of the Church’s moral teachings and directing them to a better appreciation of its values of compassion, service, and non-judgmental love. At the same time, he too has consistently upheld the Church’s teachings on the immorality of homosexual acts and same-sex marriage. You only need to look towards the clear arguments he presented against the campaign in Argentina to allow homosexuals to adopt children and to marry to understand his commitment to the doctrine.

        • Carmelita Spats

          So if a homosexual is not “struggling” with his/her sexual identity and is not “celibate”, they are not deserving of love and respect, an INCLUSIVE respect for their marriages and families? Yahweh-the-Yahoo’s moral law and the Roman Criminal Church’s “sacred” tradition are bigoted filth. We can do MUCH better, teach our children better morals, and we SHOULD expect a helluva lot more from each other.

    • Mairianna

      Yeah. He’s pretty good at spinning it, isn’t he?

  • Jade

    The I seen it was trying to encourage, the whole “judge not, lest you be judged” .
    Hell encouraging the only god can judge would make a big difference in how gays are treated.

  • Karol Stasiak

    Minor nitpick: the pope is speaking in Italian, not Spanish.

  • BeasKnees

    “And it says a lot about the Catholic Church that a Pope who stresses common sense is doing something newsworthy.”

    Thank you. The hype around this has seemed nothing but ridiculous to me.

  • Stephanie

    I think what you’re missing here is the loving nature of the sentiments expressed by this pope. We may not believe in his god or divine judgement, but his influence is far-reaching. When he says, “who am I to judge?”, the people are hearing, “don’t judge”. You are also hearing, “god will judge these sinners and cast them into hell”, but that’s not what he said and I think it’s unfair to project that on him. He doesn’t have to comment about atheists or gay people. Or he could continue with the hateful stance of his predecessor. Instead he is making simple, welcoming and loving statements about the current lepers of society. As a lesbian atheist, I think it’s wonderful.

  • Edmond

    What really confuses me about this article, is how “out of town” could Hemant have been to miss the “hoopla” over the Pope’s comments? Pretty sure they were reported globally. Checking in on the Curiosity rover, were we? :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Ha — I saw headlines, but didn’t know what exactly he had said

  • Rain

    If a gay person is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge?

    Errrr you already did some judging with the “good will” and “seeks God” part. If you didn’t want to judge than you should have said something a little less less if-then-conditional-ish. Lol.

  • kelemi

    But his attitude towards women is still Catholic Status Quo.

  • BrandonUB

    Even though he didn’t actually say anything particularly remarkable, it’s been kind of amusing watching bloggers here at Patheos scuttle to tell readers that hating homosexuality is still just fine.

  • Ray

    You just know that in 50 years, Christians will use this quote to claim that the church paved the way for gay rights.

  • John_in_Vegas

    Thank you Hemant, I was beginning to think I was the only one who was not blinded by the smoke screen. The Pope crafted his comments to sound positive, but the message hasn’t changed. He still advocates against adoption rights for same sex couples and that gay marriage is still intrinsically evil, sinful, harmful to humanity, especially to children and will lead to the destruction of the greater institution.

    More insidious however, is this comment: “The problem isn’t this (homosexual) orientation — we must be like brothers and sisters.The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby.”

    Grossly under-reported in the media, is that the Pope creates, with this assertion, a new category of evildoer, the “gay lobbyist;” He is now free to begin launching his invectives at the straight allies, friends and a majority of Catholics who support gay rights.

    It sounds like a “Divide and Conquer” strategy is developing.

    • 3lemenope

      The “gay lobby” comment referred specifically to a well-documented situation inside the Curia with blackmail of certain bishops who have had same sex liaisons and so forth. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what you’re assuming in your third paragraph.

      • John_in_Vegas

        I understood the “gay lobby” to be in that context also, but the Pope seemed to deny the idea when he said he had ‘yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word ‘gay’.’ He also referred to the gay lobby within the same context as political lobbies which leads me to believe the Pope used the term in the broader sense. This also dovetails nicely with the growing outcry to deny communion and other indulgences to public figures who support gay rights. This puts the advancement of gay rights in a precarious position and presents a positive outcome for the Church if it can foster an effective movement and drive that wedge.

        I am wary of this pope. A meteoric rise to super-stardom is never a good thing, especially when it happens to the leader of an authoritarian regime.

  • Anna

    The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on this matter are not so different than what you’d hear from a slightly-younger evangelical Christian, which is to say that it’s not a sin to be gay, only a sin to act on your gayness.

    It’s worse than just that. Catholics even have their own official “reparative therapy” groups:

    http://couragerc.net/

  • Stephan Heinz

    Cardinal Dolan is putting out fires all over the place, giving us the “real” meaning behind the Pope’s words. It’s just too funny. Whack-a-mole comes to mind with these guys.

  • gg

    Thank you for saying here, what I have been telling everyone around me. It was a completely empty statement.

  • WingedBeast

    It is radical for the Pope to speak on respecting everybody regardless of disagreements.
    That such a thing that would be the most banal aspect of morality and politeness to the rest of the world is radical for the Pope to do may say quite a bit about the Catholic Church and the institution of Pope.

  • edgar ayala

    I am sorry but I am more disgusted by this Pope because he is trying to put on a mask of humility and sweetness to the same old package of ignorance and religion inspired divisiveness. When he comes out and supports the CIVIL right to marry for LGBT people, then he will gain my support on said topic.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

    Sounds suspicious to me. (of course that’s a given) Like he is paving the way towards gay conversion therapy.

  • Robster

    I bet this newly minted pope person popped in and had a quick toke in the plane’s toilet before opening his mouth. Could have been a slurp of baby jesus blood wine or someone’s putting hooch in his communion crackers.

  • bickle2

    The bottom line is this

    The book that he is bound to obey every word of requires he slaughter homosexuals

    As Pope he cannot believe otherwise

  • phil

    I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I think any softening of the church’s attitude should be welcomed and encouraged. Like any religion, Roman Catholicism is a huge juggernaut of groupthink, and it takes a long time for these things to change course. Don’t expect them to suddenly recant on centuries of gay bashing. You’ll be disappointed.

  • rg57

    There is one difference. He did seem to be saying that there wouldn’t be the purges of gay priests that we had heard of under the previous two Popes.

  • hillary

    our pope have to stand up and talk about this gay echo before this destroy our church catholic church is not a polities place let call evil evil we dont play a polities in church mater we dont have anything to do with satan

    • HQ

      ….

      What?

  • ShoeUnited

    What’s funny is the “Who am I to judge?” question is concerning the Pope. The interpreter and setter of laws both on Earth and in Heaven.

    It’s his fucking job to judge. His interpretation (except what we found out during the atheist fiasco) is tantamount. Even if it goes against traditional church teachings. If next week he says God said that all services are now required to be done in nothing but speedos and fan dances, you’d see a swing in sales of the tiny underwear and ostrich feather markets.

    Now, all this prattle about how he feels though, isn’t the same as what interpretations of God’s commandments are. See, he’s got a few hats. He works as the Supreme Pontiff of The Holy See when he’s working as God’s main bishop. But when he’s working as (basically the CEO/King) His Holiness Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, then he’s working on his own hours and isn’t interpreting for god. There’s also First Bishop of Rome but that doesn’t come into play here (and his Vicar takes care of that business anyway).

    To the point, when he says things that aren’t in line with the church’s thinking he can claim them as comments of the Sovereign, but when they’re commandments of God then he can claim he’s wearing the Supreme Pontiff hat.

    So you see, he can say whatever he feels like, and none of it ever needs to apply both by church and by catholic theology. The Church has had time enough to build moving goalposts that move a priori conflict.

    At any rate, he never made any of these comments an official papal proclamation, so nothing actually needs to change.

  • Kenneth Malcolm Raymond Kafoed

    The Roman Catholic Church has existed since 33AD. She has spread from what the Romans called Palestine to span the entire Earth in less than 2000 years and, during that interval has encountered all human conditions, situations and states of life. Written in the 1st century ( some say by the Apostles themselves ) the Didache condemns both abortion and homosexual acts; this same appreciation has extended itself intact, down the millennia to the present. The Holy Father’s “off the cuff” remarks reflect these same moral judgments.
    Anyone who entertains the idea that the Church is going to change Her position based on a modern political movement is mistaken. The Imperial Romans failed, Genghis Khan failed, Elizabeth the First failed, the French Revolution failed, Napoleon, Bismarck, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung all failed. The Roman Catholic Church remains intact in Her Creed and Sacraments. That is because She stands on the Rock.
    Anyone who anticipates a change from the Church, who has studied and compiled an objective and accurate grasp of human nature based on Her 2,000+ years of observation and interaction has set himself up for disappointment.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    LOL! If people stopped pretending about what famous people said then FOX news would go off the air completely and the other news shows would have to cut to half time.

  • Bruce Turnbull

    A vile insidious social virus incrementally forced from burning gays at the stake to wherever we are now. Religion generating support, for being ‘more humane’ ? (read less anti life) with every minor shift.
         The fact remains that the V city shakedown crews corporatised metaphysical claptrap and stupidity is still contaminating our collective subconscious and distorting our species evolution and by extension the evolution of life.
        200 yrs since Thomas Paines Age of Reason and one could be excused for thinking that WE are setting up for another 200 yrs of needles, pain and conflict and confusion and lost opportunities.
           Tax free = we pay


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