Long-Time Catholic Teaching Big News to the Press! “What Pope Francis really said about Homosexuality and the Bigger Story Ignored by the Media.”

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Teresa Tomeo on Jul 29, 2013
Tagged in: Teresa's Blog

PopeFrancis 280x320Earth to journalists everywhere; read the Catechism. It’s all in there and it’s old news.


Here we go again. That’s what went through my mind when I started seeing the very sensational headlines from CNN, CBS, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC and others indicating that the head of the Catholic Church is doing an about face on the core teachings concerning homosexuality and the male priesthood. It is so sadly similar to the hatchet job the vast number of journalists did several years ago when they tried to allege that Benedict XVI had gone ahead and given the thumbs up to birth control. The comments causing much ado about nothing -now and then- were even made by Francis and Benedict in a similar setting; during a question and answer session traveling with the Church leaders to or from major papal events. And both times the media got it wrong. Lord, give me strength!


What exactly did Pope Francis say that has the media all abuzz? Actually, when he was asked about an alleged gay lobby at the Vatican, he merely reiterated Church teaching on homosexuality. During the interview with reporters on the way home from World Youth Day in Brazil, the Pope said there seems to be a lot of talk about this so called "gay lobby," but “I haven’t seen it on the Vatican ID card.” In other words, through a rather tongue in cheek comment, the Pope is hinting to any reporter with half a brain that so far Vatican officials have been unable to substantiate the claims. So the talk, right now about the “gay lobby” is just that; a lot of talk. He went on to say, in his own words, what the Church has always taught on the issue of homosexuality.


“When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency is not the problem. They are our brothers.”


So what exactly does the Catechism say about this? Interesting isn’t it? The Pope’s comments are no different than what we find in paragraph 2358:


“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They 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.”


Most of the media reports also missed or chose to ignore a key part of his statement.


“It (the Catechism) says they should not be marginalized because of this but that they must be integrated into society,”


My colleague at Ave Maria Radio, Al Kresta, author of the new book “Dangers to the Faith; Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st Century Opponents,” sums it up beautifully: “This is yet another example of the mainstream media being utterly incompetent when reporting on matters of religion. Any journalist worthy of the title could take a cursory look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church to understand the context of the Pope’s statement. In fact, one needs only to read the next sentence of Pope Francis’ comments ‘The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers.’  Catholic teaching is, and always will be, that homosexual orientation is not in and of itself sinful. The Pope broke no new ground here and the attempt to pit Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis against each other on this issue is shameful.”


Also shameful is the real story the media missed here. Pope Francis affirmed the teaching on the male priesthood and at the same time called upon the Church to expand the role of women. He explained the issue of women’s ordination “is a closed door” but would like to see more women in leadership roles. “Just as Mary was more important than the Apostles, so women today are more important than Bishops and priests and there is a great need for theology to explore and explain this better.”

One would think in a world that continually attacks the Church for being backward that his statement of the value and position of women in the Church that this would also be the subject of headlines. Feminists should be loving this; a Pope who wants women to do more and not less in the Catholic Church. But alas, since he didn’t call for women’s ordination, the media aren’t interested.


Bottom line for faithful Catholics-use this as an opportunity to teach about what the Church really says verses what the media want you to believe. And stay tuned to Ave Maria Radio and EWTN. I will be discussing this on my show with EWTN’s Rome Bureau Chief, Joan Lewis tomorrow 9am ET.


References to understand Church teaching:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself,” The Sixth Commandment

USCCB: “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers”