The Pope and “Judging” Gay Priests, Redux

Pope francis and dove

The National Catholic Register has an excellent article by Edward Pentin. The article analyzes the press reaction to Pope Francis’ comments concerning homosexuality.

The Holy Father made these comments during his flight back to Rome from World Youth Day. I wrote about them here, and gave you a video of them here.

The point the NCR article makes is that the Pope did not overturn 2,000 years of Catholic teaching on this issue. He simply gave an example by his actions as to how it is lived out in real people’s lives.

The media not only misinterpreted Pope Francis’ comments, but it has consistently, and with what seems to me to often be deliberate malice, misinterpreted Catholic teaching on this subject in its entirety. This is so widespread that I can’t just offhand think of a major media outlet that represents Church teaching accurately.

I know this is due to some extent to the limitations of space and time in which they work. There is also the problem of shoddy workmanship in which they settle for quoting one another rather than checking things out. Whatever the causes, the media has consistently portrayed Church teaching concerning homosexuality inaccurately and negatively.

I was impressed and proud of the way Public Catholic readers responded to this dust up over Pope Francis’ statements. The comments to these two posts concerning the Pope’s remarks were thoughtful, well-informed and intelligent.

You were not stampeded by the press. Bravo!

One thing that I think you already know, but that I want to make clear, is that the Catholic Church does not “hate gays” and it certainly is not homophobic. The only way it could be judged “homophobic” is by self-serving definitions of the word used by people who claim that any limit on homosexual behavior is, de facto, “homophobic.”

The Church offers the same gifts of the sacraments to homosexuals as she does to everyone else. There is no bright line in Church teaching that says that homosexual acts are worse than adultery or other, similar, sexual sins. The Church — and the Pope in his press conference — simply refuse to deny that these acts are, in fact, sinful.

If the Church bowed to the dictates of trendy morality and started going along with people’s demands that it tell them that their sins are not, in fact, sins, it would certainly not be doing them any favors. In fact, it would be endangering their immortal souls, and denying its own mission.

The Church cannot do this.

The Church is here to be a pathway to heaven. It shines a light on the narrow path that will take all of us who chose to follow it Home.

Do you want to go to heaven? Then do what the Catholic Church teaches.

It’s as simple and easy as that.

For those Protestants who don’t fully understand what I am saying, doing what the Church teaches will lead a person into a close, intimate and fruitful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be born again into the new life of truth and spirit. Doing what the Church teaches means accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I know this is hard to see from the outside, but I’ve lived it, and I know it’s true.

The Church cannot tell people that their sins are not sins. That would be the worst possible lie. It would wreak damage on them of eternal dimensions.

Churches who are falling into the trendy mindset of re-writing the Gospels to suit the fancies and fashions of the day are misleading their followers. They are ignoring their responsibilities to the people who trust them, and to the God they claim to follow.

The Catholic Church, for all the failings of its people, will not do this. It is the Rock and it will not lie to you in ways that can get you sent to hell.

This is not homophobia. It is love.

From the National Catholic Register:

Daily News

Misinterpreting Francis (1944)

NEWS ANALYSIS: A Vatican official chided the mainstream media for its conflation of the Holy Father’s remarks on homosexuality.

– CNA/Alan Holdren

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality during a press conference on the papal plane back from World Youth Day in Rio were largely misreported by the mainstream press, according to a Vatican official and a Church expert.

During a surprise and wide-ranging in-flight press conference Sunday that lasted 80 minutes, Pope Francis reportedly said: “If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.”

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well,” the Holy Father went on. “It says one must not marginalize these persons; they must be integrated into society,” he said, and he reportedly made the distinction between homosexual acts, which are sinful, and tendencies, which are not.

“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,” he said. The Pope recently said a “gay lobby” exists in the Vatican, which protects some priests and threatens to blackmail others.

The Catechism states that the number of men and women who have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible.” The inclination is “objectively disordered,” it continues, and “constitutes for most of them a trial” (2358).

It adds, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (2358).

The Catechism teaches that homosexual persons “are called to chastity” and that “by the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (2359).

 

Not Changing Doctrine

But large media outlets, such as the BBC, often accused of promoting same-sex rights, were quick to report the story in accordance with their own biases. The BBC splashed this headline across its news site: “Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?” Others followed suit, misleadingly implying that the Holy Father “doesn’t judge gay people.”

“[The Pope] is not saying homosexual acts are not a sin, and he obviously isn’t changing Church doctrine, but he is making a change of emphasis,” one Vatican official close to the Pope told the Register on condition of anonymity.

 

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/misinterpreting-francis?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-07-30%2012:53:01#ixzz2aXmze850

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I said this on this issue over at Max’s Diary of a Wimpy Catholic:

    “As the Pope’s comments have settled in now after a day (or was it two?) I think this is all making a mountain over a molehill. The Pope hasn’t changed a thing. That he used the word “gay” is the big deal? I think the media is overly parsing language that came off the cuff. Respect for homosexuals was always the position of the church. It was the gay activists who were unhappy with the lack of acceptance to their lifestyle who polarized positions. It was the gay community that was shutting off communication. They heard what they wanted to hear. If the gay community wants to take that parsing as a sign of acceptance, great. They have finally heard what the Catholic Church has been saying.”

    • Bill S

      “It was the gay activists who were unhappy with the lack of acceptance to their lifestyle who polarized positions.”

      They have a right to be unhappy with the lack of acceptance to their lifestyle. It is unwarranted.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Whether or not it’s unwarranted is not the issue. The fact is that is what polarized positions.

        • Bill S

          How can say that whether or not it is unwarranted is not the issue. If it is, that IS the issue. The Church is wrong about homosexuality but lacks the mechanism to change its position.

  • CT Catholic Corner

    “For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge?” 1 Cor.5:12

    Has everyone forgotten Sacred Scripture that TELLS us to judge those INSIDE the Church?? How about Jesus’ words that we will “know them by their fruits”? How do you know their “fruits” if you don’t judge their actions and words?
    We are not to judge anyone as DAMNED to hell – but we DO judge people for sainthood and we are called to judge fruits and to judge ALL those inside the Church (1 Cor. 5:12)- including “gay clergy”.
    So when Pope Francis asks “Who am I to judge?” the answer should be a clear reminder of what Sacred Scripture teaches on the issue.
    Preach the Faith in all situations and let God handle the rest.
    JMO

    • Roki

      Our Lord also says, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.”

      The word “judge” has many meanings, and degrees of meaning. Paul in 1 Corinthians is talking about enforcing discipline within the Church, while our Lord above is speaking of being merciful rather than condemnatory because only God knows the heart and the deep motives of any person.

      It is in the latter sense, I think, that Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge?” I think he’s been pretty clear that he’s more than willing to judge someone’s fitness for a particular office based on his actions; but he’s not going to judge another person’s soul based on his temptations.

      • CT Catholic Corner

        Jesus is speaking to those who would be HYPOCRITES- as he says to FIRST take the log out of your own eye, then you can point out the sins of another. That is a command to INDIVIDUALS, not to His Holy Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was created by Jesus to TEACH what is and isn’t sin. The Church IS to judge as 1 Cor.5:12 says it is ALL THOSE INSIDE the Church, we are not to judge those outside the Church- that is God’s job according to Sacred Scripture.

        • Bill S

          “The Catholic Church was created by Jesus to TEACH what is and isn’t sin.”

          It is important to differentiate between devout Catholics, who look to the Church for guidance, and all others, including non-practicing Catholics, who are not interested in the Church’s teachings.

          Sin really doesn’t exist but in the minds of those who believe in that concept. To think that there really is some sort of metaphysical accounting system by which we will be judged is a religious concept. It doesn’t exist in the real world.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Sin exists as long as human beings exist. Your fantasy world doesn’t exist.

            • Bill S

              In and of itself, sin does not exist. It has been agreed upon by a large portion of the world’s population to call certain thoughts and actions “sins”. I prefer not to use that word because it is too often misapplied by overly judgmental people.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                And sin is a synonym for wrong. Everything wrong is a sin, so everything you label as wrong, you’re really being judgemental about anyway.

  • Adoration Servants

    Unless ambiguity is part of our Holy Father’s plan, the world is in dire need of a “Humanae Vitae” on marriage & sexuality. Until the Pope makes a definitive, authoritative statement on the subject, comments here and comments there will be taken out of context, twisted and used to the advantage of the “Father of Lies” as Cardinal Bergoglio once called Satan.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      We had one, Evangelium Vitae, back in 1995.

      • Adoration Servants

        Sorry but in that 18 year old document Soon-to-Be Saint John Paul II teaches of the value of human life. While statements such as “hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment” and “The eclipse of the sense of God and of man inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism and hedonism” are worth pondering, my hero JPII quotes Rom 1:28 which almost intentionally omits Rom 1:27 (because who reads backwards?), the key verse related to moral sexuality.
        There is no mention of same-sex marriage, transgender, sex outside of marriage, masterbation all four of which our modern, hedonistic, immoral, ammoral culture tout as virtues very much in the spirit of Rom 1:32.
        No, this wonderful 18 year old document is not the “Humanae Vitae” on marriage & sexuality that is needed. No where near it.

    • FW Ken

      And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers[b]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

      Luke 16.27-31

      I’m not sure why the Holy Father should write an encyclical re-stating what the Church has taught for 2000 years, and the Jews for 3000 years before that. Even in recent years, we have Humanae Vitae and The Theology of the Body. More that that, we have the Natural Law written on our hearts. People who won’t listen to these multiple sources won’t listen to the next thing written or proclaimed.

      It seems to me the Church in the United States needs to address the materialism rampant in the United States. Sexuality is only part of that materialism, which reaches into our economic and political systems, our education systems, our news and entertainment media. That’s the job of our bishops, priests, deacon, and lay faithful.

  • Peg Drebena Demetris

    Nailed it!

    • hamiltonr

      Thanks Peg!

  • Bill S

    “The Church cannot tell people that their sins are not sins. That would be the worst possible lie. It would wreak damage on them of eternal dimensions”.

    This is why Catholics are unable to mind their own business on matters that are not their concern. Please stop obsessing about “eternal dimensions” and let people live their lives their own way and not your way.

    • hamiltonr

      Actually Bill, it’s not the Church that’s telling you this. I’ve never had a Christian try to catapult themselves into my private life. On the other hand, the Church won’t change it’s teachings to make people comfortable in their sins, nor should it. I think the meddling you’re so obsessed with is coming from the voice of your own conscience.

      • Bill S

        ” the Church won’t change it’s teachings to make people comfortable in their sins, nor should it. I think the meddling you’re so obsessed with is coming from the voice of your own conscience.”

        The insistence on labeling innocent people as sinners and to keep forcing the issue makes Catholics the bad guys. But they are too brainwashed to see it.

        • hamiltonr

          Bill you are a Catholic. You know very well that the only one who accuses you is you. You do not go into the confessional and have the priest accuse you. You accuse yourself. Ditto for labels. The teachings just are, and you can’t seem to rest until they are changed to make your sins not sins. As I said: Conscience.

          • Bill S

            “The teachings just are, and you can’t seem to rest until they are changed to make your sins not sins.”

            My life is actually kind of boring. I don’t have any sins worth confessing. I do question the whole concept of sin, though. I don’t believe that consensual sex between any partners who are dedicated to one another should be condemned as sinful in itself. Whether it be masturbation, premarital, same-sex, contraceptive, between divorcees, etc. As far as I am concerned, religious people overstep their bounds whenever they involve themselves in the sex lives of anyone but their spouses and themselves.

            • vox borealis

              I do question the whole concept of sin, though.

              I don’t believe that consensual sex between any partners who are dedicated to one another should be condemned as sinful in itself.

              How do you reconcile these statements, placed one after the other? If you question the entire concept of sin, then why the need for the qualifiers in the second sentence? Who cares if the people are dedicated to each other? Who cares if it’s consensual?

            • TheodoreSeeber

              It is always wrong, and will always do damage to the person who engages in those behaviors, and the people who actually are compassionate enough to care about them rationally.

        • vox borealis

          Ahh, like clockwork Bill S. chimes in, and predictably too.

          and to keep forcing the issue makes Catholics the bad guys. But they are too brainwashed to see it.

          But of course the Church *knows* teaching the truth makes them the bad guys. Christ said as much. You know, Matthew 10:22 and all. It’s not “brainwashing”—it’s an unwillingness to bow before today’s idols, which the Bill S.’s of the world worship.

          • Bill S

            “it’s an unwillingness to bow before today’s idols, which the Bill S.’s of the world worship.”

            Metaphorically, I worship the freedom that found its beginnings around 1776. It is not an idol like a painting or sculpture or, for that matter, a consecrated host. It is more worth cherishing than anything else in this life. It overlaps Catholicism to some extent, but is in direct conflict with it to some extent as well. That is the part of Catholicism that I oppose.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              Just because it isn’t physical doesn’t mean it isn’t an idol.

              • Bill S

                Freedom is not an idol. I cherish it. I don’t worship it. Worship is a primitive rite performed by superstitious people.

              • Bill S

                Cherishing freedom is not worshiping an idol. Advocating gay marriage isn’t either.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  The biggest idols are the ones we claim aren’t idols. Though I must admit, my Little Chief Smoker is a bigger idol to my gluttony than your posting in favor of gay marriage is an idol to your sexual libertineism.

            • vox borealis

              Metaphorically, I worship the freedom that found its beginnings around 1776.

              Well, that freedom was only a freedom—and not an absolute one—from the State interfering in the individual’s and the local community’s affairs. The Founding Fathers in no way meant there to be no *moral* censure at all, even in the absence of legal or State restrictions. There is also that tricky about about rights being endowed by the Creator, but that’s another discussion.

              • Bill S

                As far as being endowed by the Creator, Jefferson wasn’t referring to the Catholic God. You do realize that? And the freedom I am referring to is the freedom provided by your country that is denied by your Church. It is an extension of what was initially inspired by the Enlightenment.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                I need to write a blog posting on that. I’m wondering if the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation were more closely related to the first “Government of These United States” that went bankrupt in 1795 prompting the new “Government of The United States” to promote a new Constitution in 1796- and that perhaps there was a hermeneutic of rupture in between that did away with God-Given rights.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          “The insistence on labeling innocent people as sinners”

          If they are sinners, in what why are they innocent?, asks the man obviously so guilty of gluttony that he’s finding it hard to find shirts to wear this summer.

          • Bill S

            I answered this already. I won’t waste my time answering it again.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              There are no innocent Bill.

  • Bill S

    Please delete if posted twice.

    “If you question the entire concept of sin, then why the need for the qualifiers in the second?”

    Fair enough. I only question it. I haven’t totally rejected it. Assuming that I might want to accept it, then I would not consider certain actions to be sinful. In that case, you can’t say “who cares if they are dedicated to each other?” or “who cares if it is consensual?” It makes a difference to me, even if I wouldn’t necessarily label it as sinful. It might still be wrong.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Why would it be wrong?

      • Bill S

        I said it might be wrong. In general, I believe that casual sex can be a mistake. It’s not for me to judge. It is something one should consider before engaging in it.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          It is always and forever a mistake. It is always wrong. There is no situation where casual sex is right.

      • Bill S

        Why is sex that is not consensual wrong? Are you really asking me that?

        Why shouldn’t you be dedicated to one another? I think that you should.

        It’s just my opinion.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          Yes, I am. I’m asking you why you have that opinion, because it doesn’t match your standard ethic that morals shouldn’t be applied to sex at all.

          • Bill S

            CATHOLIC morals should not be applied to sex except for those people who willingly look to the Catholic Church for moral guidance. I don’t have an “anything goes” attitude toward sex. It’s just not as restrictive as that of the Church.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              The church’s sexual morality is built on a deep understanding of human biology, not on faith. All I can say is that more sexually libertine moralities are always bound to fail, because they fail to acknowledge the reality of gender.

              • Bill S

                “The church’s sexual morality is built on a deep understanding of human biology, not on faith.”

                No. It is built on a desire for self-perpetuation by having as many Catholic women bearing as many Catholic children as possible. Sex that does not contribute to that cause is condemned.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  That’s a far deeper understanding of biology than YOUR side represents, who thinks that sex doesn’t cause children.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  That’s a heck of a lot better understanding as “Let’s have fun and use poison to prevent the babies from coming”. At least it respects basic biology and works with it, rather than just putting material wealth first and human life second.

                  • Bill S

                    Considering all birth control as using poison shows a lack of knowledge of biology, not a better understanding of it.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      I don’t know what else to call something that has a potential side effect of death.

    • vox borealis

      It makes a difference to me, even if I wouldn’t necessarily label it as sinful. It might still be wrong.

      I have to be honest, that’s kind of gobbledegook. Are you positing a possible moral system in which there are wrong actions that are not sins? In this system, are sins worse than things that are only wrong, or is wrong worse than sinful? Or are they qualitatively different categories, i.e. sinful is not really right or wrong, but wrong is wrong?

      • Bill S

        “Are you positing a possible moral system in which there are wrong actions that are not sins?”

        Yes. That is exactly what I am doing. To a Catholic, a sin has to be confessed to a priest. A wrong action is just a mistake that we make, learn from and try not to do again. Not all wrong actions put our souls at peril and require forgiveness by God.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          No, not all sins have to be confessed. Some sins are forgiven merely by going to the Eucharist.

          All wrong actions are sins. Some are just venal instead of mortal.

      • Bill S

        “Are you positing a possible moral system in which there are wrong actions that are not sins?”

        Lots of wrong actions are not sins that you would have to confess to a priest. We learn from them and try not to repeat them. I, for one, do not feel like I have to be forgiven by a deity through the Church every time I do something wrong. I’ve learned to forgive myself for my failings and I try to do better next time.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I think what you’ve forgotten is the difference between venal and mortal sin. All wrong actions are sinful.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          So what is a venal sin in your system?

          • Bill S

            I can live my whole life without without even having to recognize the word: “sin”. Mortal or venial, there are better words in the dictionary to describe the difference between right and wrong.

            By your way of thinking, I have so many mortal sins, I can’t even count them all. By my way of thinking, all that is just foolishness.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              “Mortal or venial, there are better words in the dictionary to describe the difference between right and wrong.”

              Doesn’t matter, because they all are equivalent to virtue and sin, regardless of the synonyms you choose.

              No, I don’t believe you have *any* Mortal sins, Bill. Not a single one. Venal sins yes, but no mortal.

              • Bill S

                “Doesn’t matter, because they all are equivalent to virtue and sin, regardless of the synonyms you choose.”

                You are too obsessed with the concepts of virtue and sin. Your average person doesn’t spend that much time thinking about it. They just live their lives and try to do the best they can.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  The average person SHOULD spend more time thinking about what is right, and avoiding what is wrong. Lives should be lived for what is right, not what is wrong.

                  If that isn’t so, then no, they aren’t “doing the best they can”, they are arguably “doing the worst they can”.

                  I had a talk about this yesterday with a very smart 5 year old daughter of a mother who is trying to turn her life around for her children. The daughter knows she has been harmed by being a child produced out of wedlock- but is also smart enough to appreciate being alive. My wife has taken her and her 4-month old half brother in the daycare- they’ll be here 4-5 days a week for the next month until the girl starts kindergarten.

                  The mother wanted me to read from the Bible to the child, and we happened upon the verse about divorce, sparking the conversation.

                  Somehow, I think that girl has more rational compassion, than you have empathy. Empathy can be wrong- it’s just an emotion. Compassion is rational, and based on rational thought.


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