Pope Francis Encourages Bishop to Condemn Same-Sex Parenting

He may have gathered enough liberal credibility to snag Time’s Person of the Year award, and even a citation from an LGBT magazine, but apparently Pope Francis draws a line in the sand when it comes to supporting some gay couples’ desire to adopt and raise children.

The pontiff reported himself “shocked” that the Civil Unions bill in Malta, which allows for two men or two women to marry, also allows for these couples to adopt children. At the encouragement of a pope widely touted as pro-gay enough to change the direction of the Catholic Church, Bishop Charles Scicluna delivered a heated sermon on the subject that stirred up some controversy within the Maltese congregation and around the world.

Scicluna reports that his sermon was “not about the rights of gay people, but about children’s rights,” but the sermon’s text is known to have included the observation that God chose a man and a woman to raise Jesus, not two men or two women. Thereafter, he urged the government “not to destroy the family based on the lasting bond between one man and one woman.”

And don’t be fooled – the rights of gay couples to adopt (and why those rights shouldn’t exist) are an issue about which Scicluna is passionate. He’s been speaking about it for a while. Earlier this month, he made news in Malta by calling for a study into the effects of gay adoption on children, saying:

This is not about the rights of gay people, but about creating a new type of family where the founding principle is not marriage between a man and a woman but any social partnership [. . .] The Church is against putting children in an environment where the common and natural experience of the conjugal love between a man and a woman is substituted by the quasi-marital relationship between a man and a man, or between a woman and a woman. Let us not play with the innocence of our children.

Scicluna seems to have an unnaturally hefty dose of innocence himself – rather too much to be commenting on the subject – if he believes that all straight marriages are naturally filled with love and virtuousness, and he’s downright ignorant if he’s unaware that gay relationships may also possess these qualities.

But this whole thing would hardly be worth remarking upon if not for the green light he reported from Pope Francis. Apparently, the pope who asked rhetorically “who am I to judge?” has found an answer. He may not be willing to judge the salvation or damnation of individual gay people, but he’s more than happy to judge their fitness to parent.

I guess a few choice sound bites do not an ally make.

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  • anthrosciguy

    I am shocked – shocked I tell you – to learn that bigotry is ongoing in the Vatican!

  • TheTundraTerror
  • Damon Icke

    Seems like all this universal love for the new pope was a little premature. Reminds me of what Winston Wolf said in Pulp Fiction, “Let’s not all start blanking each other’s blanks just yet.”

  • Rationalist1

    I work with children in a volunteer capacity and encounter children from many familial backgrounds – gay, straight, married, divorced, common law. I’ve seen no disadvantage with children coming from same sex parents, save the discrimination some adults seem eager to impose upon them. The good news is that most children don’t care what orientation their friends’ parents are and that gives me hope for the future.

  • MerchantMariner

    I always have a laugh when a professional celibate presumes to lecture others about marriage, or intimate relationships between consenting adults of any kind.

    But even better, he then comes out with this: “Let us not play with the innocence of our children” What a pearler coming from a member of the RCC. It’s okay to rape children, but FFS don’t play with their innocence. Again I ask, why does anybody take anything these useless wankers have to say seriously?

  • allein

    And keeping adoptable kids in an unstable foster care system or orphanage until they age out is a great way to preserve their innocence, too!

  • Sam Hauer

    Isn’t this the same Pope who once claimed that gay rights are nothing but the “machinations of the Father of Lies”? And that atheists are allowed to go to heaven… as long as they aren’t gay? I don’t really see why anybody is especially surprised that Pope Francis has a touch of homophobia about him. And it’s really to be expected, considering his avenue of employment.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Everyone knows that the Maltese Pope is just a fake 😀

  • Bob Jase


  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The stuff that dreams are made of.

  • duke_of_omnium

    It was you and your stupid attempt to buy it! You imbecile! You bloated idiot! You stupid fathead!

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    Calm down, Joel Cairo.

  • $84687101

    Yeah, lots of people have been making way too big a deal about some of his recent public comments without understanding the weaselly application of Catholic theology behind them. We’re still not getting into heaven unless we convert, we just get to do it on our death bed. He may not judge gay priests, but you better believe he thinks God will. And you’d better believe he’ll judge them for breaking the vow of celibacy. And of course he supports a bishop who’s arguing against gay couple adopting. Have you read what he said on this topic when he was a bishop in Argentina? The man was far more incensed about gay marriage and adoption being legalized than about murderous dictatorships.

    I think he’s a good deal more decent than the last pope, and I think on poverty, he walks the walk. But the rest of this is just PR. Hell, the whole thing is PR. Ratzi was too associated with the sex scandal so the church needed someone else at the helm or it would just keep being rocked by every new revelation. It needed to fix its public image. That’s why there was an unprecedented resignation. Not because he was old and tired, because he was the face of the sex abuse scandals. And Francis was selected to be the face of the new friendlier church that cares about the poor and about peace. And the media is buying it hook, line, and sinker.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    “walks the walk?” so… what catholic mansion or priceless painting has he sold off lately to buy food and shelter for the poor? i must have missed that.

    The Advocate really dropped a turd by naming this pope their man of the year. the cover was disgusting, they put the No H8 logo on his face as if he actually embraces marriage equality. obviously that’s not even close to the truth. i don’t read The Advocate and haven’t for a long time, because of bone headed crap like that. please DO NOT assume they speak for me, or a majority of the queer community. you should’ve seen the bashing they took over at a couple gay blogs i read for such a thing. brutal.

  • $84687101

    what catholic mansion or priceless painting has he sold off lately to buy food and shelter for the poor? i must have missed that.

    Point taken. Did he sell the Popemobile, or just mothball it? I suppose that’s like me selling my kid’s bigwheel and calling it a sacrifice…

  • Carmelita Spats

    Sell the bullet proof Pope-mobile and rely on God for protection? Hell, that would require faith. Fantastical Frank needs the Pope-mobile for his disgusting PR stunts with disabled children. The genital-free creep offers them a “Pimp-My-Ride” joyride in his mega-slick Pope-mobile so the press can amp his “good guy” image. Of course, he’s VERY selective when it comes to the type of disabilities that he allows into the Pope-mobile. He has yet to share the cramped space of the Pope-mobile with a paranoid schizophrenic off his meds and wielding a ballpoint pen. That would also take faith. One reporter caught this wicked little gem oozing out of Pope Frank’s yammering maw while parading a disabled kid, “I can’t escape. It is physically impossible to slide more than nine inches away from you and it’s apparently illegal for me to spend the entire joyride in the three-square-foot Pope-mobile banging my head against the window, and there simply aren’t enough little bottles of Bacardi Rum to turn your conversation from brain-gnawingly deadly to merely numbly sufferable.” Nasty Pope. I want evil Ratz back.

  • ve6

    hey Gus, what have you done to alleviate poverty?

  • Greg G.

    Of all the private, personal matters in all the world, the RCC had to stick its nose into mine.

  • LesterBallard

    I’d rather have a child raised at a classic San Francisco Gay Pride parade than anywhere near a Catholic Priest.

  • Logician

    Hmm, that must mean:
    Since Jesus chose among his disciples men who fished with nets, not poles, pole fishing is an abomination unto god.

    Since god parted the waters for his chosen people rather than giving them extraordinary swimming skills, swimming must be an abomination to god.

    Since god provided his laws on stone tablets, paper must be an abomination to god.

    Wow, this is enlightening. I’m changing my whole lifestyle today!

  • Lark62

    Remember, if God had wanted us to walk around naked, we would have been born that way.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor


  • Kathryn Culbertson

    interesting, considering Jesus had 2 dads, god, the ‘biological’ father, who asked Joseph, the cuckold, to raise his bastard. And we wonder why Christianity is such a misogynistic religion.

  • Librepensadora

    Will Time magazine be running this story in its next issue?

  • Stan
  • allein

    Just gonna note that video is NSFW. (Personally I like the live version from Sonisphere 2010 better.)

  • God’s Starship

    Maybe this will be the beginning of an era where people discuss what this pope is actually saying, not what they want to believe he’s saying.

  • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

    That would be nice.

  • Olive Markus

    I have two friends who used to be social workers, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that a “bond” between a man and a woman does not ensure that children are even remotely cared for, let alone loved and many times abused. They quit their jobs because there is nothing they can do for the children. Another friend is an occupational (my mistake) physical therapist and she is having a breakdown over consistently working with children in abusive situations. Again, there is nothing she can do and it kills her.

    I am dealing with several (three) situations in my own family, where CATHOLIC, MARRIED, HETEROSEXUAL couples are abusing the fuck out of their children and it is tearing us apart trying to help these kids. I spent the good part of this morning, in fact, crying with my mom over one of the situations. My GAY aunt and her partner are doing more good and giving more love to my own nephews than anybody else has managed. These two women are the rock of our family, and they work very hard to do whatever good they can for all of us. All of the time.

    Pope Francis and the rest of you bigots: Look in the mirror, and then go thoroughly FUCK YOURSELVES.

  • ve6

    your compassion and way with words is very modern.

  • duke_of_omnium

    Meet the new Pope, same as the old Pope.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I have never thought that Pope Francis is anything but a fraud. He will continue to tease, giving lip service for vague ideas of liberalism and reform, but the actual policies of oppression, judgmentally, authoritarianism, self-serving autocracy, and control, control, control will continue.

    …[Scicluna’s] sermon’s text is known to have included the observation that God chose a man and a woman to raise Jesus, not two men or two women.

    Wait for it… 3, 2, 1…
    “It was Joseph and Mary, not Joseph and Gary!”

    If you are feeling unwell, you may use the paper bag provided for your convenience.

    Scicluna is calling for an impact study into the effects of gay adoption on children.
    So far, the credible studies I’ve seen indicate that all other variables being equal, children adopted by same-sex couples fare just as well as heterosexual couples. I wonder if the Bishop wants a genuine study that observes all the data and then comes to a conclusion, or a “study” that starts with the conclusion he has already formed, and then observes any data that supports it and ignores any data that contradicts it. We see that a lot when religion evokes science in pursuit of its own agenda.

  • MerchantMariner

    Richard, it’s like any other form of politics – never commission an inquiry or study unless you’re sure what the answers will be.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    THIS. Ever wonder why every government study on cannabis has been scrapped midway through?

  • Derpington_The_Third

    That’s a completely unfounded assertion that science is “written by the victors”, otherwise no research would ever get done.

    Good god…

  • MerchantMariner

    That assertion wasn’t made. Nor were we talking about science as such, but government studies/inquiries. I can’t speak for the US, but here the findings or outcomes are usually determined well in advance by careful attention to the terms of reference. Don’t want any nasty surprises, do we? On this subject, do you seriously reckon that Scicluna would want to hear the results of study that doesn’t support his prejudices?

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

    The studies were scrapped by the government precisely because the results did not support the War on (Some) Drugs. Cannabis is currently classed with fucking heroin (Schedule I), when it is clearly non-addictive, and is, in fact, safer than alcohol or tobacco, both of which are perfectly legal.

  • George Hanson

    I think bigotry is only part of the motivation for the popes statement.Gay parents probably will not bring children up in a religiously befuddled environment and will be less likely to encourage their children to fill the churches pews and coffers…..This particular dog collared vampire is not nearly as sweet as every one seems to think. He kisses a few retarded children and the faithful think it erases 2 millennia of bigotry, child exploitation , and murderous savagery. But in the end nothing has changed. He still heads the worlds largest ,longest continuously operating, and most vicious criminal organization. The thing that is changing is everyday there are fewer and fewer sheep in the pews.

  • lucky21

    And this is the reason people call atheists being self righteous on tolerance and understanding. Atheists got mad when conservatives bashed the pope for not fully following their views but they do the same here. Talk about being two faced and not so different from each other.

  • 3lemenope

    What is bothersome about your comment is the ethos it makes a pretense of possessing. If you want the universal sin (you are slouching towards both calling out and committing yourself), it is in trying to score points for a “side” by talking in terms of “people” and [group label], and it is certainly one that everyone who fights for a “side” commits. What you mean to say is, “And this is the reason I, and some other people I know, call atheists being self righteous on tolerance and understanding.” But your personal opinion on what all atheists are or do is not persuasive, so you must resort to “people”, and take refuge from counter-criticism in the morass.

    Categories are useful when they are understood to be describing tendencies among a grouping. When someone is taking as broad a category as “Christians” (a few billion members worldwide) or “atheists” (a few billion members) or “women” (a few billion members) or “Asians” (a few billion members), and make categorical statements about them, those statements are very, very easy to dismiss, because exceptions abound, and the categories are so rough around the edges that they become self-contradictory to the point of uselessness if one picks some individuals at random from the set and compares them. Just think, in a set of a billion exemplars, a deviation of 1% yields ten million counter-examples.

    When using categories in that clumsy a fashion, false equivalencies are hard to avoid. The relationship of conservative Catholics, (or conservative Christians more generally, even) to the Pope is likely to have a huge number of relevant qualitative differences than the average atheist picked at random would have with the Pope. The office has formal meaning to those former groups, but likely only practical meaning to the latter, just to pick the most obvious. And so making comparisons while eliding that difference is likely to lead to fatuous and nonsensical conclusions. Atheists would reasonably be expected to launch asymmetrical criticisms against conservative Catholics that would not make much sense if they were reciprocated precisely because of those qualitative differences; the atheist is perhaps calling attention to the hierarchy worship endemic to the arguments that conservative Catholics advance in the milieu of Papal behavior that atheists themselves do not possess.

    So, if that whole criticism bored you, leave at least with the point that if all you’re interested in doing is singing the tu quoque song and dancing upon a (mostly self-imagined) image of universal atheist smug self-superiority, it won’t do your argument any favors. As much as atheists are human beings (much like yourself) and are guilty of making broad generalizations (much like yourself), the moral error if any is in thinking that pointing it out is meaningful.

    tl;dr Being an asshole does not make you wrong. Calling out people for being assholes is, thus, kind of a dumb way of scoring points for your team.

  • lucky21

    Or as much as they call themselves to be above what they criticize they do the same thing and justify what they do. Well, some atheists. This your interpretation of what an asshole is.

  • MerchantMariner

    I understand perfectly what Scicluna’s position is – and by extension that of his boss. It deserves no tolerance at all. As I wrote earlier, a professional celibate has no credibility when making pronouncements about marriage or relationships. And even less credibility when he claims to be thinking only of the children. You want an example of self-righteous, there’s one staring you in the face.

    This atheist couldn’t give a toss if conservatives “bashed” the pope. They deserve each other.

  • Keulan

    I’m not surprised by this at all. Back when he was still a Cardinal in Argentina, Francis was against gay marriage. People need to stop falling for his PR and actually read what he said about these things in the past. I doubt Francis’ bigoted, backwards views have changed now that he’s the pope.

  • tm17

    “Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.”

    ― Christopher Hitchens

  • ve6

    Christopher Hitchens, now there was a real PITA.

  • Verna

    Keep standing up for God Will Francis!

  • Old Hippie

    Adoption by same sex couples should not be absolutely banned. But it is certainly not an optimal situation and no agency should be required to place children in this arrangement. A strong preference should be in place for a normal family with functional mother and father figures.