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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pope Francis, Women and Homosexuals

There's been a huge brouhaha over the Pope's recent remarks following WYD 2013. Many bloggers have already thrown their two cents into the ring, but I have held off for quite some time because it wasn't clear to me I had anything interesting to say on the subject.

What there is to say now isn't new, but I think it sheds light on exactly how the Pope is refusing the media's narrative.

According to the MSM, the Pope's remark may signal a shift in the Church's attitude towards homosexuals. Catholics know that isn't true, but they have a tough time articulating why they know this. I was even interviewed on Fox News, and failed to make the necessary connection.

Although the questions directed at the Pope were unscripted, and the MSM reporters appeared to be asking questions about a variety of subjects, only two subjects are really being reported in headlines: homosexuals as priests and women as priests. And, as I am thick-headed, I failed to recognize how similar the two questions were.

Now, keep in mind that, to my knowledge, there is no complete transcript of the conversation between the Pope and the reporters - this is just a bunch of reporters writing down what they remembered him saying. As far as I know, no one has a complete recording of his 80 minutes' worth of remarks, so there's no way to verify that everyone is remembering correctly. It's quite possible they garbled some aspect of what he said.

Now, that having been said, here's a full quote of the headline the reporters say they got:
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge? 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.... The problem is not having this [homosexual] 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 worse problem." [Editor's Note: Those of Traditionalist Catholic bent, notice that he is concerned about Masonic lobbies within the Vatican. Make of that what you will.]
Assuming the quote is correct, clearly, he's not saying homosexual activity is acceptable. From the remarks ("he searches for the Lord, and has goodwill"), Francis clearly assumes the homosexual priest is not acting upon his inclinations.

But notice how he talks about integrating them into society. While he attributes this language to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that was a mis-statement on his part, because the relevant articles of the CCC nowhere use that word. Instead, the language of "integration" is taken straight from a 1975 document on sexual ethics, Persona Humanae. The distinctions he make in this interview seem to echo the ideas found in that document.

So, is Pope Francis in favor of homosexual priests? Well, an Argentinian priest, Fr. Alessio, was defrocked just three months ago (April 10, 2013) - with Pope Francis' knowledge and assent - after that priest had begun promoting homosexual marriage and transgenders in the diocese of Cordoba. Cordoba is only about a two-hour drive from Buenos Ares, so it's quite possible Pope Francis even personally knew this priest. The man lost all his priestly faculties with Pope Francis' full knowledge and consent. I don't remember either JP II or Benedict breaking a priest for simple agitation like this. Francis broke him.

Again, this shouldn't be a surprise. In a July, 2010 statement, Bergoglio essentially called the homosexual marriage movement satanic:
“In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family... At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children... At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts....Let us not be naive: This is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan... It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” 
Conclusion A: He's not a fan of homosexuals in the priesthood, but he recognizes that some of his priests and bishops are homosexual, so as long as they don't sin, he knows he's stuck with them.

Conclusion B: He doesn't like homosexual lobbying. AT ALL.

Now, notice something else. Francis said absolutely nothing about whether such a man should have been ordained to begin with. The press completely ignored this aspect of the question.

Again, let's get some context. There is a 1961 directive forbidding the ordination of known homosexuals. This was reiterated in 2002 and again in 2005. It is obliquely referenced in Persona Humanae. That teaching is well-known to Pope Francis and is certainly not changing anytime soon.

All Pope Francis told the reporters is, if he discovered a homosexual had been ordained, but the man wasn't actively sinning, he wasn't going to do anything about it. This is not a surprise. The man would have canonical rights at that point, and those rights can't be violated. As long as the priest was not doing anything in violation of the Faith, the Pope COULDN'T do anything about it.

Is he willing to accept homosexual ordination? Well, he signalled that he was not at all in favor of it. How? By the question on whether women can be ordained.

When asked if women could be ordained, he firmly denied that they could. He's all in favor of giving women a greater role, but ordination was out of the question.
A church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother. The role of women doesn’t end just with being a mother and with housework …we don’t yet have a truly deep theology of women in the church. We talk about whether they can do this or that, can they be altar boys, can they be lectors, about a woman as president of Caritas, but we don’t have a deep theology of women in the Church. On the ordination of women, the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed.
The Church has many reasons She can put forward for why that is the case, but I will restrict myself to only one, a point Pope Francis made very subtly and obliquely, yet he still made it. The Church is the Bride of Christ and a mother. The relationship between the priest and the Church is the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the New Adam and the New Eve. The liturgy is a sacred action between the Man and the Woman, not two people of the same sex.

Christ was not a woman.
Catholics are not lesbians.
That's one reason women cannot be ordained.

So, when MSM reporters ask about homosexual priests and women priests, they are subtly asking two different forms of a very similar question. Pope Francis answered the second question definitively, but was not really asked the first question. Given the evidence, we have no reason to think he would be anything but opposed to the ordination of active homosexuals.

1 comment:

Kneeling Catholic said...

Hello Steve!

another press conference 'nugget' which was overlooked was the Holy Father's remarks about Eastern Orthodox liturgy and how it preserves reverence and adoration that the Latin rite has lost...