The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that in an interview Pope Francis said: “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? … You can’t marginalize these people.”
This story has spread across the internet as if the Pope has said something ground-breaking about the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality, as if they’ve made a 180-degree about-face and are now open and accepting of gays. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about homosexuality:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. 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.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. 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.
Did you read that? The Pope asks the seemingly-innocent question “Who am I to judge?” knowing full well precisely where the Catholic Church stands on homosexuality. He’s trying to delicately negotiate the “problem” of gay priests and a “gay lobby” within the Vatican, not open new doors towards acceptance of homosexuals.
Let’s be clear: if you’re gay, the Roman Catholic Church thinks that you’re “disordered,” that you’re acting “contrary to natural law,” that you are “called to chastity” and that “under no circumstances” can homosexual activity be approved.
The Pope’s statement is at best naively misleading, and at worst, alarmingly deceptive. This kind of rhetoric doesn’t move us forward, instead it obfuscates the real issues, weighing us down with half-truths and misdirections.
Who are you to judge, Pope Francis? You’re the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the person with “supreme and universal primacy, both of honour and of jurisdiction, over the Church of Christ.” That’s who you are, and you know that. Like to ask questions? Here’s one for you: how about some real change regarding the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality?