Pope Francis and the importance of fighting homosexuality

While I certainly don’t agree with many of the dogmas (officially) held by Pope Francis, it cannot be denied that he accords more importance to social justice than to problems of sexual ethics.

Whilst adultery is wrong and promiscuity bad (this is recognized by most progressive Christians), I doubt that these sins should be our priority. Jesus was much more concerned with pride and the unjust way people treat each other. If this underlying darkness can be overcome through God’s grace, positive changes are going to sprout everywhere.

 

So I was greatly encouraged after having read this article about Pope Francis.

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Pope Francis has sensationally said the Catholic Church is “obsessed” with preaching about issues like abortion and gay marriage and that it needs to stop interfering.

In an incredibly frank interview with the Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, the Pope said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians.

Dismissing critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage, the Pope said the Church “sometimes locked itself up in small things.”

Describing his new vision for the church he said: “We have to find a new balance,” saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel.”

“Otherwise,” the Pope continued, “even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”

He added that women must play a more key role in church decisions but emphatically stated that the “door is closed,” on women’s ordination.

“The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions,” he said. “The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role.”

Expanding on the explosive comments he made about homosexuality in July when he was returning to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, where he had celebrated World Youth Day, the Pope said he has no right to judge anyone from the LGBT community.

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he said in the interview.

“I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

In July, he famously said “Who am I to judge” gay people.

Now, he has admitted he has faced criticism, but determinedly insisted that the church’s priorities must change to incorporate his views.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods,” he said.

“I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that.”

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Francis said.

 

 A next step for him would be to sincerely wonder if homosexuality is truly harmful for the individual or society.

For the God revealed in Jesus Christ does not utter arbitrary prohibitions which don’t contribute to our well being and flourishing.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Pope Francis and the importance of fighting homosexuality

  1. None of that translates into a shift in roman catholic policy. They still actively support social policies which discriminate against homosexuals. The Pope’s position is effectively: “Who am I to judge? But natural reason dictates you live in a gravely immortal state so the common good requires your suppression.”

  2. A next step for him would be to sincerely wonder if homosexuality is truly harmful for the individual or society.

    “Homosexuality” is different from “same-sex sexual acts”. Just as “heterosexuality” is different from “casual sex”.

    There’s really no next step for the Pope, or for the church. He is calling the church to continue to focus on morality, but to find a proper distinction between sinful acts and people who are sinners – in addition to focusing on broader problems as well.

    I suppose I should say, the Pope has made his move. The next move for yourself and others is to recognize that some sexual acts really are sinful, even if engaged in by two people who love each other, and that they should not be cast as good things.

    With effort, this new focus will bring about change where it’s needed most – in “progressive” communities.

    • For many sins, we can find empirical evidence to show that they are indeed harmful, overall. Do you think we’ve found this with respect to monogamous homosexual couples? Sometimes, people must experience the consequences of their sins before they admit that they are sins. The Bible is rife with this pattern. Do you see this happening with any homosexual couples?

  3. This is one of those areas where pope Francis has been very “refreshing”. I don’t think you’ll see him change his underlying beliefs on Homosexuality, as he is recommending a shift in emphasis, not doctrine.

    He is, I think, rightly seeing that Christians are being caught up in focussing on certain issues, which are greatly out of proportion to the whole message and life of the church. One of the reasons for this being that single issue groups have a very prominent voice in Western Society, which drown out all the other aspects of morality, love and mission.

    In terms of homosexuality I have orthodox views, but feel it not essential to have to shout about this, particularly on a daily basis. Nor do I feel it necessary for me to prioritise my attitude above and beyond all others. This would shift my focus from who God is and the purpose of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. I would have to say that ordination of women is a doctrine on much shakier ground, but I’m not going to focus on that either and it’s a mistake to link the two issues together as if equivalent.

    I feel that as a Christian I should love those I know and meet who may have same-sex leanings, recognising that that is just one aspect of many of their whole self. I don’t have to expect them to renounce or control this aspect before treating them as a human being. If they are to demand that I change my views, or that the church must accept homosexuality, then I think they are setting an impossible agenda, not me or the church. There are vast amounts of other things to talk about, or ways to show my relationship with them and God, to make this the crucial “all or nothing” deciding factor on how to relate to them.

    When I have talked to people who identify as homosexual, I may be aware that this could lead to conflict but I don’t rush in and hit them with it from the outset saying “you sinner, this is wrong”. Often the subject doesn’t raise its head as there are a great many other things to relate about. There are some who know my views others who don’t, it’s simply not a priority. If they are interested in my views, or it comes to pass that I feel I need to raise them, then this needs to be done carefully in context to the person and situation.

    I would have to say though, that I just can’t see a reason for the church to accept “homosexuality” as a “natural” and “normal” aspect of life. This does not mean that we should treat people who are attracted to the same sex with hatred either.

    There are some things where the traditions of the church and nature say this is “acceptable, this is not”, It can be very difficult to see sometimes where tradition may have been wrong or unfair, or still is, but this to me seems to be one particular area where things are clearer. But as Francis says, we need to shift our focus and maybe not be side-tracked by very vocal single issue obsessives of either side of the argument.

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