So when Pope Francis sez…

So when Pope Francis sez… July 30, 2013

“I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and “they must be integrated into society.”

The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter. There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency, a lobby of the greedy people, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me.”

I don’t see anything particularly problematic with what Francis said. But then I’m clearly evil.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • jeff

    Agreed Mark. He doesn’t directly answer the question of what this lobby is up to or how far reaching it is.

    • All I’ve heard is rumor, but he’s right to connect it to the Masons. P3 is certainly a part of this.

  • Nathan

    I don’t like the imprecision of his statement, as he misuses the term”gay” to mean anyone who experiences SSA, when in fact “Gay” is a a sociopolitical term for people who have embraced so-called homosexual behavior, and are unrepentant of it. He also at one point uses the term”orientation” in other quotes that I have read about this interview. If this is correct, then again I would have to disagree with his use of the term, because the sexual act itself is oriented towards the opposite and complimentary sex. Anything else is not a question of different orientation, but disorientation. Pope Francis seems to be using the terminology created by the architects of the gay agenda so that they can frame all discussion on sexuality. I find it unfortunate, and it seems that Pope Francis would do well to exercise more precision in choosing words, and prudence in timing. If his goal was to say something that would immediately take all focus off what he accomplished at Rio and give his detractors the means to steal his thunder, then he succeeded.

    I am reminded of the confusion caused by his recent atheist comment, that while correct, was worded so clumsily and lacked the proper clarification demanded by today’s audiences, that it probably would have been better had he said nothing at all.

    I am not trying to be critical or unfair to our wonderful Pope, but his wording at times really leaves much to be desired. I’m sure as time goes on in his pontificate, and he gets weary of having to restate and clarify and qualify his off-the-cuff responses, he will pay more attention to the precision of his choice of words.

    • HornOrSilk

      He didn’t start with the term gay. The reporter asked him about the “gay lobby.” So, as is often the case with anyone who is answering questions, you use the terms given, and talk to them in their own way of speaking. He wasn’t making a particular statement about terms or anything, and reading anything into his use of the word gay after a reporter used it is ridiculous.

      • Nathan

        I don’t think it is ridiculous, considering the impact those words have.

        • HornOrSilk

          You are over-reading into the words. He was answering a question using the words given in the question. He wasn’t making a precise statement, but an off the cuff answer. To read it as some sort of ultra-precise take with words which must be parsed as we would like is silly. Especially when he isn’t even speaking in English.

          • Br. Bonaventure Rider, fbp

            I think you are underestimating the importance of precision in answering these types of questions. But the global reaction to his choice of words show that precision in such cases is anything but silly.

            • HornOrSilk

              I very much understand the importance of precision. The problem is that when asked a question, you often respond in like terms. And he is doing it, not in English, but in Spanish, with its own meaning of the word use for “gay.” People are making a mountain out of a molehill.

    • Mariana Baca

      You are reading a statement in translation, too. Precision is lost, or might not exist, in the other language.

    • Newp Ort

      What’s wrong with gay? You don’t have to repent being gay, just non-marital intercourse. I don’t like this focus amongst Catholics to say SSA instead of gay. There are chaste Catholics who identify themselves as gay, and I’ve seen them pressured to say they are SSA instead. It’s like they’re so fearful of those gays they want to make sure you put yourself in the safe SSA camp.

      • jaybird1951

        Because being gay does mean being sexually active and identifying with that sexual minority and accepting its values. If one does not “practice” that sexuality, then one is a homosexual by nature or as some put it, subject to same sex desires.

        • Newp Ort

          gay is a less technical term for homosexual. same as straight/heterosexual. insisting on this kind of language makes it sound like you wanna keep the gays away.

          • Br. Bonaventure Rider, fbp

            No, unfortunately, Gay is a very specific term, one that comes with a whole host of cultural and political implications. The MSM are not ignorant of this fact. Insisting on people using terms developed by folks who wish to promote unhealthy and sinful activity is not helpful. We must be precise in our terms, otherwise the entire discussion gets framed by those who have a much different agenda than what is healthy. The Vatican itself about a decade ago released a 900+ page document that I advise everyone on this blog to acquire for themselves, that addresses this very topic, and perhaps Pope Francis will soon be made familiar with it as well: Released by the
            Pontifical Council for the Family, the document, Lexicon: Ambiguous and Debatable Terms Regarding Family Life and Ethical Questions can be downloaded at

            Terms such as “orientation” “gay” and even “homosexual” are problematic. There is no such thing as a sexual orientation other than so-called heterosexual. Anything else is incorrect, because the sex act itself is ordered and oriented to the opposite and complimentary sex. If one is to use any of those terms, it should be first demonstrated the limitations of such terms before using them. As Pope Emeritus Benedict answered in his interview with Peter Seewald in The Light of the World (p,151-152):

            “It is one thing to say that they (folks who identify as ‘homosexual’) are human beings with their problems and their joys, that as human beings they deserve respect, even though they have this inclination and must not be discriminated against because of it. Respect for man is absolutely fundamental and decisive.

            “At the same time, though, sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual. We could say, if we wanted to put it like this, that evolution has brought forth sexuality for the purpose of reproducing the species. The same thing is true from a theological point of view as well. The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman and, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future. This is the determination internal to the essence of sexuality. Everything else is against sexuality’s intrinsic meaning and direction. This is a point we need to hold firm, even if it is not pleasing to our age.”

            There is a problem with Pope Francis conceding terms such as “orientation” as Benedict spelled out above. As far as Pope Francis addressing the topic of “Gay” Priests, that would imply a Priest who experiences Same Sex Attraction, and promotes and embraces the culture and politics of what Gay is. A Priest who may experience that attraction (or more accurately, the distraction) but seeks to live a chaste and holy and celibate life and not distort the truth of sex, sexuality and marriage is a different story.

            That being said, Pope Emeritus Benedict laid out the theological reasons why a man who experiences SSA should not be admitted to Holy Orders or to Religious Life in the same interview, (p.152-153):

            “Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway. For, in the end, their attitude toward man and woman is somehow distorted, off center, and, in any case, is not within the direction of creation of which we have spoken. The Congregation for Education issued a decision a few years ago to the effect that homosexual candidates cannot become priests because of their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being. The selection of candidates to the priesthood must therefore be very careful. The greatest attention is needed here in order to prevent the intrusion of this kind of ambiguity and to head off a situation where celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality.”

            Asked about “homosexualtiy” in monasteries and clergy (religious life in general) Benedict replied: “Well, that is just one of the disturbing problems of the Church. And the persons who are affected must at least try not to express this inclination actively, in order to remain true to the intrinsic mission of their office.”

            One last resource that I find very illuminating on the topic, can be listened to or downlioaded for free from the Institute of Catholic Culture. 2 talks, one by a convert who experiences SSA, and another by therapist who has helped men and women who experience SSA for over 30 years. I suggest listening to Part 2 first. These talks will help you to frame the discussion.


            • Newp Ort

              You kind of reinforced my feelings about the term. Same with Pt 2 of the ICC talk. Gay people don’t exist, they are just messed up straight people. It winds up sounding like Gay people will get in here and ruin everything if we don’t sort and label them correctly.

              I didn’t read all 900 pages (excuse me) but there wasn’t anything in there about not using the terms “gay” or “sexual orientation.”

              • Br. Bonaventure Rider, fbp

                Apparently all you did is conduct a find for the word “Gay” and because it produced few results, you assumed that proves that it doesn’t address the topic, missing the point entirely. I suggest at least reading the relevant chapters.

                It sounds to me that you want to force all people who experience a same sex attraction into your socio-political label (or libel) of “Gay,” and to do that one commits two unfortunate injustices:

                1. You want to identify people as “Gay” by the attractions they may be experiencing at a given time in their life, thus boxing them in to be painted with the same brush as the narcissistic-hedonistic culture that is the Gay cult, and

                2. By doing so, by painting all people who experience SSA as being “Gay,” you begin to make the same mistake as the haters at Westboro Baptist, et. al.

                So instead of wanting to come to a common ground of understanding with clear definitions and distinctions made to help facilitate understanding and dialogue, it sounds to me that you want to hold on to your ideological words which do nothing but blur, muddy and create controversy and confusion. Hence, this entire discussion and why the Pope’s words stirred any kind of controversy in the first place. This seems to be lost on few others than yourself.

                • Newp Ort

                  Well since we’re enumerating:
                  I did read some of the book, and I intend to read more, though probably not all 900 pages. You said this book “addresses this very topic” which I took to mean the topic we were discussing, what’s wrong with saying gay. I searched for that and it appears to not be in the book. Is there a specific chapter I should read?
                  You said the term homosexual is problematic. That word is in the book over 300 times. Is it alright for Catholics to use amongst themselves when talking about those people, but problematic when the media uses it?
                  If you look back at my comments, I said I think its ok to say gay people are gay. I never said they had to use that term. If someone wants to call themselves SSA I can’t argue with them. YOU are the one who is seeking to limit the use of the term gay. This gives the impression that you want to reserve the term gay for those homosexuals you’d rather keep at arm’s length. The pope said first you are my brother, not first let’s both understand you’re not gay lest you scare a few people around the parish.

                  • Br. Bonaventure Rider, fbp

                    Again, the word “homosexual” is problematic, and the reasons are given as a disclaimer before continuing its use. Please see my response to College Jay for the rest of my response, as I would just be repeating myself. Two questions though, why do you think all people who experience SSA are Gay? And do you also classify all people who own a Harley as being Bikers, part of the Biker Culture? Your logic would seem to suggest so.

                    • Newp Ort

                      Oh, brother.

                      I NEVER SAID THAT.

                      Gay means homosexual. Outside of your circle of wagons, people understand gay to mean homosexual, that they are attracted to their own sex. When most (the vast majority I would guess) people say gay that’s all they mean, they aren’t referring only to out-n-proud committed to the cause, gay sex havin gays.

                      If a homosexual prefers the term SSA, that’s fine. If a person says they have only been SSA for some time, or in the past, so they aren’t gay or homosexual, that’s fine too. Where did I say all SSA people are gay?

                      YOU are the one who wants to restrict language, who wants “gay” to be only be understood as those nasty sociopolitical types that we can say are enemies of the church, that the gays call themselves gay because they are framing the discussion with their own language. YOU are the one who seeks to limit the discussion to YOUR preferred terminology. YOU referred me to a talk by a deacon who claimed homosexuality doesn’t exist, that there are only heterosexuals with a homosexual problem.

                      Do you not understand how you maybe, just MAYBE could give the impression that the church is not welcoming to people who are SSA?

    • College Jay

      There are a few issues here. One is that you’re referring to the meaning of the term “gay” in English, whereas the Pope wasn’t speaking in English. As other comments have noted, precision is often lost in translation.

      The other issue is that, even in English, “gay” has multiple and often contradictory meanings. As an evangelical Protestant who experiences homosexual desires, but who is nonetheless celibate, this issue is of personal relevance to me. I remember a few years ago it was very much on trend in evangelical circles to talk about “non-gay homosexuals,” that is, men who experienced exclusive same-sex attractions, but who did not embrace homosexual sex, identity, or politics. The term dropped out of use, I think, when many realized that “gay” and “homosexual” are completely synonymous and interchangeable in the common discourse. The term “non-gay homosexuals” was deemed contradictory and confusing.

      Then it became more common to refer to homosexual Christians as people who “struggle with same-sex attractions.” That term was useful, I suppose, but also a mouthful. I think it’s become much more common for chaste Christians who experience homosexual desires to refer to themselves as “gay and celibate.” Such is the case with Catholic writers like Eve Tushnet and Joshua Gonnerman, as well as Protestant writers like Wesley Hill. It would also be the case of the gay man in the article Mr. Shea linked.

      There is a lot of debate among those of us who struggle with homosexual temptations about what terms, if any, we should use for our sexuality. Over the years, I’ve used “non-gay homosexual,” “chaste homosexual,” “ex-gay,” “same-sex attracted,” “gay celibate,” or just plain old “celibate” to describe myself. I don’t know if any term has a particular universal meaning, since all of them are rather obscure and their meanings are largely determined by the small number of people who use them. I’ve never seen “gay” as a particularly political term — I’ve always viewed it as mostly synonymous with “homosexual” — but out of respect for people who do see it that way, I try to avoid it. I don’t necessarily shy away from “gay,” though, if someone refers to me that way. There are many important things at hand when discussing outreach to homosexuals, and getting bogged down in semantic arguments, to me, is rather low on the list.

      • Br. Bonaventure Rider, fbp

        It is a mouthful, and clumsy, but the term SSA better reflects the truth. “Gay” is international, so differences in languages isn’t going to affect the term much. Whatever our personal connotations of the word may be, what is clear is what MSM and the Gay culture mean by the term, as can be evidenced by any cursory visit to such websites.

        The question is not about being bogged down in semantics, but about not being bogged down by using a vocabulary that frames the conversation in incorrect understandings. I respect your opinion though, and agree that it is unfortunate that words can get in the way of true outreach.

        A point to ponder however (and I hope Newp Ort is reading this as well) is what Courage, a Roman Catholic ministry to people with SSA say about why they discourage the use of the terms “gay” and “lesbian”

        “Q. Why doesn’t Courage use the terms “gay” and “lesbian”?

        A. Courage discourages persons with same-sex attractions from labeling themselves “gay” and “lesbian” for the following reasons:

        1) The secular world usually uses those terms to refer to someone who is either actively homosexual or intends to be. When a person decides to “come out” and say “I am gay” or “I am lesbian”, the person usually means “this is who I am – I was born this way and I intend to live this way. I have a right to find a same-sex partner with whom to have a romantic sexual relationship.” To “come out” as being “gay” or “lesbian” doesn’t usually mean “I have homosexual attractions and I have a deep commitment to living a chaste life”.

        2) By labeling someone, we discourage those who may wish to try and move beyond homosexual attractions. Some people, especially young people, are able to further their psychosexual development with spiritual and psychological aid. If we labeled them “gay” and “lesbian”, they might think there’s no possibility of moving beyond these attractions.

        3) There is more to a person than one’s sexual attractions. Even if one experienced same-sex attractions for most of one’s life, he or she is first and foremost a child of God created in His image. To refer to that person as “gay” or “lesbian” is a reductionist way of speaking about someone. We are even trying now to avoid using the term homosexual as a noun, or as an adjective directly describing the person (i.e. homosexual person). Although it takes more words, we prefer to speak of “persons with same-sex attractions”. Fr. Harvey has said that, if he could, he would rename his first book “The Homosexual Person” to something else like “The Person With Homosexual Attractions”.

        There are people within the Catholic Church who might argue that those who label themselves “gay” or “lesbian” aren’t necessarily living unchastely. That’s true, but the implications of the terms in today’s society don’t commonly connote chaste living. Furthermore, they are limiting their own possibilities of growth by such self-labeling, and reducing their whole identity by defining themselves according to their sexual attractions. At Courage, we choose not to label people according to an inclination which, although psychologically understandable, is still objectively disordered. “

        • HornOrSilk

          What you are saying is, “I have a particular definition of the word gay which I claim is universal and how everyone views the term.”

          Stop right there. Wrong.
          End of story.

        • Newp Ort

          Catechism 2359: Homosexual persons are called to chastity.

          Stop being such an obstinate asshole. By all means make clear what the church teaches, that all are called to chastity, and sex is not permitted outside of a valid heterosexual marriage.

          But the more you talk, you appear to be the one limiting the possibilities of gays, because unless they conform to YOUR tiny little box of definitions, language so narrow that EVEN THE CATECHISM DOESN’T RESTRICT ITSELF TO IT, you’d rather they don’t even show up.

        • SteveP

          I agree – “gay” is coercive acronym for “good as you.” A person whom you encounter who says, “by the way, I’m good as you” you’d probably consider to have self-esteem issues. SSA is more accurate but still lacks precision – it would need to be same-sex erotic attraction.

  • carlamariee

    Sounds to me like he’s reaching out to lost sheep.

  • Sean P. Dailey

    Why do you hate Masons, Mark?

  • James

    Well, perhaps we could ask ourselves what he means by, ‘they should be integrated into society’? That statement is rather loose and is in need of tightening. To ‘integrate a group’ into a society could mean several things.

    • HornOrSilk

      If you look to the Catechism which he is telling people to use, what he means is quite clear. We should not stone them, we should not force them out of their livelihood, just because they are gay. No scarlet letter for homosexual temptations. They should be given common human dignity.

      • Newp Ort

        To give James the benefit of the doubt I think he agrees with you, and I do too that I’m sure that’s what Francis meant, common human dignity. But the word integrate lends itself to negative interpretation, like if he was seeking some kind of Borg-like assimilation. Maybe it’s less open to negative connotation in Spanish.

        • I know several people who aren’t gay, who need just such a Borg-like assimilation into Catholicism. It would do them a world of good.

          • Newp Ort

            OK I LOL’d at that one. 🙂

  • Dr. Eric

    Queen Elizabeth doesn’t give interviews. Just sayin’.

    • bob

      The Pope graduated from high school so comparing them is a little unfair.

    • Alexander S Anderson

      The Pope’s office is more than just an empty ornament for a government that operates entirely without him.

  • ted

    “it [is] necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question[9], cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”[10].

    Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

  • Carol Weinstock

    Last night, I just quietly pointed out that the opening line about “judging” gays was taken out of context by the MSM because a Catholic friend had posted it on her facebook wall as evidence that the Holy Father was going to make some huge change on this teaching. I was immediately pounced on by another of her friends like I had just stated that all gays were going to hell. A long diatribe about how proud she was to have a gay son and all her years of Catholic school, blah, blah, blah. All I could say was I don’t like to see the MSM mislead people. Geez.

    • B.E. Ward

      Seems the moral of that story is to stay away from Facebook!

      • Carol Weinstock

        ah, but it can be such a great evangelizing tool! I just can’t believe how over the top people are. All I said was it was out of context. I never said what I believe, whether I agree or even whether I am Catholic…holy cow!

  • Rosemarie


    I’ve tried to find the pope’s words quoted in full context, since most of the news media is just giving us fragments. From what little context I could find, I like what he said. Still, I wish someone would post a full, unedited (but preferably translated) transcript online since there might be more gold in there that the media is ignoring.

    • HornOrSilk

      Click on the words Mark posted.

      • Rosemarie


        That gives plenty of context, though I remember reading in one article that the pope also restated the teaching that homosexual acts are sinful. I didn’t see that part in the above quote, at least not in so many words, which makes me wonder whether there’s even more on the topic.

        As an aside, I’m also curious re. what he said about women in the same interview, since I’ve seen even less quoted on that topic in the media. Hopefully someone put that part online as well.

        • HornOrSilk

          You probably are remembering other discussions and interviews of the Pope for other statements on homosexuality.

          Has some of the other quotes/discussions he engaged.

          A part of the problem of a whole transcript is it was 80 mins of unscripted q and a. Lots to get down…

          • Rosemarie


            I found the original article I read about his comments:


            The first paragraph says that the Pope “reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.” So that’s why I thought he must have said something about the sinfulness of homosexual acts. Maybe they got it wrong, though.

  • Loretta

    Lobby = palace intrigue. The Vatican is one of the last of the absolute monarchies in the world, and court politics is/has been everything. Let’s get Father So-and-so because he’s gay. Let’s get Sister Mary Magnificent the convert because of her father’s Masonic connections. Let’s get Brother Unctious because it’s rumored he belongs to Dan Brown’s Opus Dei. [Expletive deleted.] They sank Thomas More in Henry VIII’s England for silence, remember.

    His Holiness was commenting on a specific case of a targeted accusation, then (as Roman law will do) expanded to the universal truth with the thousand exceptions. I have no problem with this either, Mark.

    As painful as it is for you to admit, brothers and sisters, we are all sinners. Some have tendencies to sin which are more difficult to overcome. There are seven deadly sins, one for each day of the week. Take your pick. Lust is a perennial favorite. But so is pride.