I usually avoid religion, but this news is a positive step (for a Catholic pope). Pope Francis seems to be a modern and enlightened pontiff – to an extent. But he showed he had limits – that put gay people in an impossible situation.
Pope: Who am I to judge gay people?
Pope Francis says gay people should not be marginalised, instead they should be integrated into society, in some of the most conciliatory remarks by a pontiff on the issue of homosexuality.
‘Who am I to judge?’
In response to a question about reports of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, after it suffered a string of scandals over paedophile priests and corruption in the administration of the Holy See, Francis said:
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?
“The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worst problem,” he said.
“You see a lot written about the gay lobby. I still have not seen anyone in the Vatican with an identity card saying they are gay,” he joked.
Sounds very good. But it only went so far, there are still some very conservative limits.
In fact there is a major catch – he won’t judge people for being gay but judges gay behaviour as a sin.
Francis defended all gays from discrimination but also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which says that while homosexual orientation is not sinful, homosexual acts are.
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalised because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society,” he said, speaking in Italian and using the word “gay”, instead of “homosexual” which previous pontiffs mainly used.
So that’s contradictory – being gay is ok, acting gay is a sin.
It’s like saying being Catholic is fine but praying is forbidden.
And another conservative church position is still entrenched.
‘No’ to women priests is definitive
Addressing the issue of women priests, the pope said, “The Church has spoken and says ‘no’ … that door is closed.” It was the first time he had spoken in public on the subject.
“We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more …,” he said in answer to a question.
“But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says ‘no’. Pope John Paul said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed,” he said, referring to a document by the late pontiff which said the ban was part of the infallible teaching of the Church.
So the pope has caught up with the mid nineteen hundreds. Can he modernise the Catholic Church any more than that?