My fisk of his statements in red.
A journalist asked a question about Vatican official Monsignor Ricca, who was accused of engaging in a homosexual affair:
I would like to know, Holiness, what do you intend to do about this question. How to address this question and how Your Holiness intends to address the whole question of the gay lobby?
In regard to Monsignor Ricca, I’ve done what Canon Law orders to do, which is theinvestigatio previa. And from this investigatio there is nothing of which they accuse him, we haven’t found anything of that. The question was at first about a particular incident and the pope indicates that the proper investigative procedures have been gone through. He then moves on to a bigger question. This is the answer. But I would like to add something else on this: I see that so many times in the Church, outside of this case and also in this case, they go to look for the “sins of youth,” for instance, and this is published. Not the crimes, alas. Crimes are something else: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, the sins. But if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life. When we go to confession and truly say: “I have sinned in this,” the Lord forgets and we don’t have the right not to forget, because we run the risk that the Lord won’t forget our [sins]. That’s a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. I think so many times of Saint Peter: he committed one of the worst sins, which is to deny Christ, and with this sin he was made Pope. We must give it much thought. Pope Francis makes an important distinction between crime and sin. A sin is not always a crime. Both may be forgiven, but an illegal action must also be investigated by the appropriate authorities and prosecuted. It could be that a person commits a sin which is not a crime. If he is truly penitent the church forgives and moves on. But, returning to your more concrete question: in this case, I’ve done the investigatio previa and we found nothing. This is the first question. Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Goodness knows! So much is written of the gay lobby. I still have not met one who will give me the identity card with “gay” . They say that they exist. I think that when one meets a person like this, one must distinguish the fact of being a gay person from the fact of doing a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. Here’s the important part. Pope Francis distinguishes between a person being gay and that person’s exerting pressure in some way to make a power play or manipulate others. The manipulation of people for power is the worst thing because it is using others for one’s own selfish ends. That’s bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him? This much-headlines statement is now seen in context. Pope Francis says this in contrast to the issue of power plays and manipulation. His famous statement is a way to say, “Compared to manipulating others and seeking power or privilege or prestige for oneself or one’s friends or one’s ideology, the simple fact of a person being gay is inconsequential. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in such a beautiful way, it says, Wait a bit, as is said and says: “these persons must not be marginalized because of this; they must be integrated in society.” The problem isn’t having this tendency, no. We must be brothers, because this is one, but there are others, others. The problem is the lobbying of this tendency: lobby of the avaricious, lobby of politicians, lobby of Masons, so many lobbies. This, for me, is the more serious problem. And I thank you. He affirms the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that we are to treat all homosexual persons with love and acceptance. It is good to notice that the quote about homosexuality was in the context of a larger discussion of sin and repentance, and in the larger discussion of unfair lobbying in the Vatican. Nowhere does the Holy Father express approval of homosexuality. He is simply affirming the Catechism’s teaching that we are not to judge homosexuals merely on the fact of their having same sex attraction. As many have said before–there is nothing new here.