Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality in a Tuesday interview with the Associated Press, noting that while not a “crime,” it is nevertheless “a sin.”
While the Associated Press highlighted the former of the pontiff’s two statements on the matter, it buried the second deep in its report along with an admission that the Vatican has not changed its teaching that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
What are the details?
The pope appeared to strike distinction between legal norms adhered to or supported by Catholics the world over and Catholic moral teaching.
“Being homosexual is not a crime. It’s not a crime. Yes, it’s a sin. Well, yes, but let’s make the distinction first between sin and crime,” Pope Francis told the Associated Press.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document summarizing the church’s main beliefs, “ Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor … It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.'”
“Sin is an offense against God,” adds the document.
A crime, on the other hand, is an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government.
Pope Francis said that the criminalization of homosexuality was unjust, noting that “we are all children of God.”
Writing for the Catholic News Agency, John Finnis, professor emeritus at Oxford University and the University of Notre Dame, clarified that the Catholic Church does not consider individuals as “heterosexuals” or “homosexuals,” but insists instead “‘that every person has a fundamental identity: the creature of God and, by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.'”
Referencing various church documents, Finnis indicated that church teaching “has, from the beginning, done no more, and no less, than point out the ways in which every kind of sex act, other than authentic marital intercourse, is opposed to the good of marriage. The more distant a kind of sex act is from the marital kind, the more seriously disordered and, in itself, immoral it is.”
The Catechism states that “ 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.”
However, the Catechism emphasizes that homosexuals “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.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document entitled “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination” in 2006, stating, “Persons with a homosexual inclination ought to receive every aid and encouragement to embrace this call personally and fully. This will unavoidably involve much struggle and self-mastery, for following Jesus always means following the way of the Cross. … The Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance are essential sources of consolation and aid on this path.”
Accordingly, it appears as though Pope Francis affirmed the church’s moral teaching when maintaining that laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust” and that the Church should work to put an end to them.
Concerning church leaders in parts of the world that clamp down on those with gay inclinations, Pope Francis said, “These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”
Pope Francis’ remarks come a week after Church of England bishops announced they would not recommend that gays partake in the sacrament of marriage.
TheBlaze previously reported that after a “six-year period of listening, learning and discernment known as Living in Love and Faith,” CE bishops noted in a statement Wednesday that they are resolved to preserve the “Church’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony.”
CBS News reported that the church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed in March 2021 that the church cannot and would not bless gay unions since God “cannot bless sin.”
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