What do pope's remarks on gays mean?

Pope Francis ignited a firestorm on the Internet with a few words about gay and lesbian people that seemed to suggest a new church position on homosexuality. I say "seemed to" because it would only appear new to someone who was unfamiliar with the old position. Speaking to a gang of reporters bringing up the rear of his plane on the way home from his quotific visit to Rio de Janeiro, the pope was asked about his recent reference to a "gay lobby" among the curial staff in Rome. That phrase is already the source of some confusion.

The pope responded that although a "gay lobby," as in an inter-curial pressure group—for or against more acceptance of gay Catholics, who can say?—might be an issue, he did not have a problem with men and women who are homosexual. "If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers."

Speaking about homosexuality so frankly was remarkable in and of itself, but nothing the pope said deviated from current Catholic catechism. Although it regards homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered," church teaching demands that gay and lesbian people be accepted with "respect, compassion, and sensitivity."...The catechism is a little more nuanced, and less unsightly, than the standard "hate the sin, love the sinner" platitude, but it doesn't say much more and it's far less than most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics would like to hear from their church. Pope Francis was merely reiterating this teaching in his wonderfully straightforward, cut-through-the-gobbledygook manner.

Read the rest at CNN: "What do pope's remarks on gays mean?"

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Marie Rehbein
5 years 2 months ago
If someone who is not homosexual engages in homosexual acts, that is intrinsically disordered. The position the pope has taken seems to suggest that it would be intrinsically disordered for a homosexual person to engage in heterosexual acts.
Michael Barberi
5 years 2 months ago
It is difficult and not clear exactly Pope Francis meant by "the tendency to homosexuality is not the problem". If homosexuality is not the problem, the human condition called a same-sex attraction that people are born with and do not voluntarily chose, then how can homosexual acts be "intrinsically disordered" if they proceed from a natural human orientation in a committed loving marital relationship? Consider the following: Magisterial teaching says that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered for the following reasons: a. they are contrary to the natural law, the principles of which are reflected in human nature itself; b. they close the sexual act to the gift of life; and, c. they do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. As to "a" above, the essential order of nature must be respected as a promotion of man's dignity. However, the Church does not recognize homosexuality as an essential order of nature. Todd Salzman in his book "Sexual Ethics" says "No one is arguing that homosexual activity is moral because it is natural for those with a homosexual orientation, for that would treat natural facts as moral justification. To be moral, any sexual act, whether homosexual or heterosexual, must be not only natural but also just, loving and in accord with holistic complementarity (sexual, personal and biological). Holistic complementarity includes "orientation", personal, and biological complementarity, and the integration and manifestation of all three in just, loving, committed sexual acts (in a loving marriage) that facilitate a person's ability to love God, neighbor, and self in a more profound and holy way." The Church condemns homosexual acts because they close the sexual act to the gift of life. This is contradicted in principle when the Church says that marital acts of infertile couples or menopausal women are not immoral. Nor are sexual acts immoral if they are objectively non-procreative by intention, end and choice as when couples deliberately restrict marital acts to infertile times to avoid pregnancy. In these cases, the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital act are separated. Perhaps Pope Francis was indirectly questioning the Church's teaching? Time will tell.

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