…who IS he to judge?

…who IS he to judge? November 19, 2015

Patrick Anderson continues his series on Pope Francis. In this post, he eviscerates any idea that the Pope has progressive views on the LGBTQ community.

Hello, Beautiful Readers!

Although I had originally planned to cover this topic near the end of this series, sometimes a topical event will inspire any writer to change his/her grand design in the hopes of being more timely and, even more importantly, more effective in communicating the urgency of what he/she has to say.  A few days ago, bishops in the Catholic Church held an assembly at which they all but unanimously vowed touphold marriage as only the union of a man and a woman and to seek legal protections for those who share that view.”

Pope Francis

            After I got over the visceral disgust I always feel when I think of the unmitigated hypocrisy committed by a den of wizened old virgins telling other people how they should and shouldn’t be allowed to love one another, I realized that this might be one of the many times in my life where I may have to eat my own words.  I have written some pretty harsh words about the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, only appearing “progressive” in order to have a wider appeal and gain more followers.  I realized after reading this article that if Francis came forward and chastised his American bishops, I would need to acknowledge that and admit that in this case I was completely wrong.  I waited with bated breath for Francis to come forward and, in the name of God, rebuke and correct his followers; to tell them that it had been revealed to him that homosexuality is not only not a sin, but a beautiful form of expressing the love felt between people; that LGBTQs deserve all of the rights, privileges, and protections that we who are lucky enough to have been born heterosexual and cis-gendered enjoy; and that to say otherwise was to contradict the essence of the teachings of the historical figure of Jesus, which can be distilled to three words and three words only: love one another.

None of these things happened, of course.  The Pope has been completely silent regarding the terrible things being said about LGBTQs by American bishops.  And I will tell you why, Beautiful Readers: because the Pope agrees with everything that they are saying.  Francis believes that homosexuality is a sin; that people with “homosexual tendencies” (as his church so narrowly puts it) should disavow their own sexuality and live celibately; that same-sex marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage; that LGBTQ couples are unfit to adopt children; and that churches and religious groups should receive special dispensations from their governments in order that they may discriminate against LGBTQs in the workplace.  He spoke openly about all of these topics for decades before he was made pontiff, and now he merely seeks to hide his position through flowery, non-committal, and nebulous language.

Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t include links to all of the claims I’ve made about Francis’s position in the paragraph above.  I will be completely honest as to the reason: because Francis is so much more careful about the Catholic Church’s image than was his predecessor, it is difficult to find direct quotations of him saying outright, for example, that homosexuality is evil.  Before those of you who support Francis scream “a-HA!” I would like to offer something for your consideration: I urge you to think about all of the statements that Pope Francis has not made.  Never has he distanced himself from the official doctrine of the church that calls homosexuality “intrinsically disordered.” Given the nature of the comments he has made concerning homosexuality, one can only believe that his reason for not distancing himself from the official position of his church is because he doesn’t disagree with the position at all, and that by remaining silent he is giving his tacit approval.

I know, I know.  “But what about when he said “Who am I to judge?”  For anyone who immediately goes to that statement made by Francis, I have to begin answering your question with a question of my own: have you read the entire transcript?  If not, I am happy to include a link here; along with a refreshingly honest analysis of the Pope’s comments by a devout Catholic. I think Mr. Richert does such an excellent job of parsing this transcript that in the pursuit of timeliness I will not add much to it, except to say that based on this transcript, an accurate synopsis of Francis’s position on gay people is his Church is that they can only be in accordance with Catholic doctrine if they are completely celibate, as well as faithful Catholics.  For those of who cannot stop asserting that Francis will “revolutionize” the Church, I have to ask you: what is revolutionary about that?  How is his position different from that of his predecessor?  How is it different from the position of any pope?

I’d like to end the “proper” portion of this post by pointing out that the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality is entirely contradictory to modern medical and psychiatric science.  The American Psychological Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics,The American Psychiatric Association,the National Association of Social Workers; all organizations at the vanguard of medical and social research, and each and every one of them holds that homosexuality is a healthy and normative form of human bonding.  They support their position with centuries of medical science, an untold number of studies, and a willingness to change that position in light of new evidence.  I, for one, find this much more compelling than the testimony of a man who claims to know the will of a god when he, the man, sits in a particular chair.

In closing, I would like to address two very different groups of people.  First, I would like to invite LGBTQ Catholics (or Catholics with LGBTQ family members or friends) who have reconciled themselves with their Church’s position to leave comments or find me on Facebook! I say this with no condescension or malice; I am genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say, and why you choose to remain a member of the Catholic Church.

Secondly, and most importantly, I would like to address any LGBTQ Catholics who haven’t reconciled themselves to their church’s position.  I wrote in a past article that beliefs do not exist in a vacuum, that our beliefs shape the decisions we make and ultimately the actions we take.  I can think of very few instances in modern life where this fact is more relevant than when one considers the overwhelming rate of suicide among young LGBTQs.  I want to say to anyone who is reading this and is struggling with your orientation, whatever the reasons for the struggle may be: there is nothing wrong with you.  You are not sick, you are not broken, and you are not sinful.  There are people all over the world who are just like you, and millions more who will accept you just the way you are.  Don’t ever, ever let anyone make you feel that you don’t have a place in this world.  I’ve included a few links to some websites that you may find helpful; and whatever your beliefs ultimately turn out to be, it is my most sincere hope that you can accept who you are, and live a happy life.  You truly are a Beautiful Reader. 🙂

The Trevor Project

Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network

Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies

We Are Family

Trans Youth Family Allies

Trans Youth Equality Foundation

Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Featured image from Wikipedia


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