Is the pope signalling his openness to gay priests?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that aboard the papal plane this weekend, Pope Francis opened the door to greater acceptance of gay priests inside the ranks of Roman Catholicism as he returned to the Vatican from his maiden trip overseas:

Pope Francis met with mediaFielding questions from reporters during the first news conference of his young papacy, the pontiff broached the delicate question of how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active. For decades, the Vatican has regarded homosexuality as a “disorder,” and Pope Francis’ predecessor Pope Benedict XVI formally barred men with what the Vatican deemed “deep-seated” homosexuality from entering the priesthood.

“Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. “You can’t marginalize these people.”

Pope Francis celebrated the final Mass of his Brazil trip at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro Sunday.

The news conference was wide-ranging and hastily arranged aboard an overnight flight that returned the pontiff to Rome Monday from a weeklong trip to Brazil where millions of people flocked to see him, including three million at a Mass Sunday on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. The rock-star reception, analysts say, is likely to strengthen the pope’s hand as he confronts myriad challenges awaiting him at the Vatican, from corruption at the Vatican bank to the long-running sexual-abuse crisis.

Pope Francis’ remarks on homosexuality came as he mused at length on one scandal that erupted on his predecessor’s watch: A secret Vatican report leaked to the Italian media purporting that a clique of homosexual Vatican clerics had formed a “gay lobby” that was secretly pulling the strings inside the “Holy See.”

The comments cut to the core of one of the most challenging issues facing the Catholic priesthood. Bishops who run local dioceses have long been divided over whether to accept gay priests who are chaste. While some bishops are tolerant of homosexuality, the Vatican’s ban on gay priests has forced many clerics to keep their sexuality hidden from superiors who are likely to crack down.

For bishops, the issue boils down to if “you got a priest you know is gay but is not active is that a problem for you or not?” said John L. Allen, a Vatican analyst with the National Catholic Reporter. “For this pope the answer is ‘no.'”

The pontiff waded into the issue after a reporter asked him to comment on a report in an Italian magazine purporting that a Vatican monsignor named Battista Ricca promoted by Pope Francis engaged in gay sexual relationships years ago when he was posted overseas at a Vatican embassy in Latin America. The monsignor hasn’t commented publicly on the media scrutiny, and he remains in good standing with the pope, according to a senior Vatican official.

Msgr. Ricca declined to comment Monday.

The media scrutiny of the monsignor’s personal life is a delicate matter for Pope Francis. In one of his first moves as pope, he appointed Msgr. Ricca as interim overseer of the Vatican’s bank while a special commission weighs the bank’s future.

For years, the bank has faced allegations from Italian prosecutors and regulators that its internal controls weren’t strong enough to guard against money laundering. On Sunday, Pope Francis suggested he was keeping all options on the table, from transforming the bank into a charitable fund to shutting it down entirely.

“I don’t know how this story is going to end,” the pope said.

More here

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4 Responses to Is the pope signalling his openness to gay priests?

  1. S Loke says:

    Stop, stop. No more tonight (is it today for you?). I am getting off this mery-go-round.

    It reminds me of the Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blighton. The children would find themselves in a strange and scary land, and not know how to get down into the Faraway Tree again. If they missed the one chance to jump through the hole as the land swung away, they were trapped and couldn't get home. Anyone else get that feeling sometimes?

    Anyway, I digress. Thanks Amy and Mike. These articles are difficult to digest due to the massive implications behind the seemingly 'progressive' attitudes. Still, they are important for the Body of Christ to be aware of, so we can be prepared for the coming times, and inform others.

    Like

  2. Stef says:

    “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. “You can’t marginalize these people.”

    Clever wording and actually I don't totally disagree with him. If a gay person is seeking God, or, even if they are not, in normal society, they should not be marginalised because of their sexual orientation.

    In Church however, if they are seeking God then they should not be marginalised but when it comes to leadership, well that is a different matter altogether and there are clear bible imperatives for this – and that is where his statements, for me, fall down as he seems to be talking of priests!

    However, as the Council of Trent declares the true Gospel as anathema, what does it matter what this chap says, he is leading hordes to hell no matter what he says about secondary issues, because his take on primary issues is way off!

    Like

  3. Bible Christian says:

    It is difficult to parse what Pope Francis was actually trying to say when using secular news agencies. They have a great deficiency: they don't believe in Jesus Christ.

    Let's take a wider look at what Pope Francis and the Catholic Church are actually saying:

    Since the official transcripts are not available, in this case we have to rely on secondary sources.

    Let's see if a greater context helps us understand: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1303

    "It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law." -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

    The Catholic Catechism states:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 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.

    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.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    As we can see, the Catholic Church parses the difference between homosexual ACTS, which are considered gravely sinful, and PERSONS struggling with Same Sex Attraction.

    Let me ask: What was the Holy Father speaking about: People or Acts?

    In the wider context (and using primary source material), I see no difference between what we all know Scripture to teach, the Catholic teaching and Pope Francis' comments.

    This is a non-story.

    God Bless you,

    Like

    • lyn says:

      Let's look at his actual words, per this article – “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. “You can’t marginalize these people.”
      First of all, no one seeks the Lord ' no one understands; no one seeks for God.' Romans 3:11 Those who practice homosexuality or even entertain it in their minds will not seek God, for the sinner is dead in sin and has no desire for God unless God first quickens him – 'And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins' Ephesians 2:1 {see verse 5 as well}. We are indeed called to judge those inside the church, the true body of Christ, we are commanded to do so in 1 Corinthians 5 – I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators; not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world: but now I write unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat.
      For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within, whereas them that are without God judgeth? Put away the wicked man from among yourselves."
      The Pope's comment proves his ignorance of the word of God, his lack of spiritual discernment, and his desire to please man rather than God.

      As for the Catholic Catechism, let's compare with the only source of truth the true follower of Christ has and needs…the Bible.
      As for article 2357, which states homosexuality is based on an attraction, the Bible says otherwise. From Romans 1:27, ' and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.' Homosexual men leave the natural use, the way instilled at birth, for that which goes against nature. What drives them? Is it a mere attraction? NO! It is a lust, a inflaming burning selfish inner forbidden passion to have sex with the same sex. Homosexuality is fueled by the inner urge to have sex with the same sex, to satisfy the selfish sexual desire that drives them to this sin. It is comparable to dogs in heat.
      From the same article we find 'Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained'. This is not true, for Christ Himself teaches us the origin of ALL sin, including all sexual sin, found in Matthew 15:19-20 ' For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings: these are the things which defile a man'.

      Moving on to article 2358, We are never to embrace unrepentant sinners into the body of Christ. We are to give them the truth of God's word concerning their sins, such as Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:26-27. We also must tell them of the biblical command to repent, to forsake sin. Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?'

      Acts 17:30 'The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent'.

      Article 2359 – homosexuals are called to chastity? They are called to repent! Where is a bible verse that says they are called to chastity? There must be a complete breaking off of sin, a total forsaking of it. This is NOT possible unless God has supernaturally rebirthed the sinner {John 3:3, John 1:13}. To rely on one's own 'effort' against sin is impossible apart from regeneration because all are enslaved to sin, in bondage to it {see John 8:34}

      The worldly terminology of 'struggling with same sex attraction' is NOT found in the Bible anywhere, instead we find the stern command to turn completely and wholly away from sin…
      "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Return ye, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereto ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
      Ezekiel 18:30-31

      This is a story that exposes the false beliefs of a man who exalts himself as a 'leader' of a church, which is true. However, it is NOT the true church of Christ, who is the only Head. The church this mortal sinful man is head over is fueled by Satan.

      Like

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