POPE FRANCIS SETS OFF
Did the Holy Father really say such a thing?
I’ve read numerous reports that cite the Pope’s alleged remark…
“You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.”
…all set forth in pretty much the same words.
But does this flood of reportage rise to the level of multi-source confirmation? Or is it a matter of citing a single source, and therefore, echoing the same possibly inaccurate quote?
It isn’t easy to answer that question. And the Vatican hasn’t made it any easier — taking cover behind the assertion that whatever Francis said, he said it within the context of a private conversation, so it’s nobody’s business.
Coming after the famous “Who am I to judge?” comment, plus controversies surrounding such prickly sex-related developments as the Synod on the Family and the papal document, Amoris Letitia, a lot of people have assumed that Francis is signaling a new direction in Church moral teaching.
Some of them are positively ecstatic about that…
Yeah, bring it on. The sooner we jettison that old Catholic stodginess, the better.
As reported in Time, Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group, New Ways Ministry, called the pope’s comments “tremendous”…
“It would do a lot better if he would make these statements publicly, because LGBT people need to hear that message from religious leaders, from Catholic leaders,” DeBernardo said.
Gay-friendly Jesuit, Fr. James Martin, chimed in that…
“The pope is saying what every reputable biologist and psychologist will tell you, which is that people do not choose their sexual orientation.”
Sexual orientation may indeed not be a choice. But this current situation suggests a cause Martin might not care to emphasize.
The man to whom Francis made his alleged remark, Juan Carlos Cruz, is the principal whistle blower in a huge scandal over clerical sex abuse in the Catholic Church of Chile. There is a firm clinical link between experiencing sexual abuse as a child and exhibiting homosexual behavior in adulthood. Cruz’s sexual proclivities are likely less attributable to God than to some perverse Chilean priests.
While the LGBT-friendly have broken out the noisemakers and party hats, Francis’ alleged words have stoked fear and anger among those who distrust this Pope and suspect he’s the Antichrist — or at the very least, a principal agent in some worldwide plot to make straight the Antichrist’s way.
Typical of this faction is my Facebook friend, Barbara Ellen, proprietress of the Facebook group, Conservatism, Constitution, Christianity Unbridled (and a frequent commenter on my blog)…
“I was a Catholic, she posted recently. “Through the Holy Spirit, I was guided away from this false prophet soon after he spoke in public. He is in every way a wolf in sheep’s clothing, he openly denies Jesus Christ; he ridicules the Word of God; he is a globalist; he is dangerous.”
Not quite as heated, but every bit as concerned, Doug Mainwaring of Life Site News worries that the Pope’s words, if accurately reported — and not retracted — risk…
“slowly killing the same-sex attracted by affirming them to death….”
Mainwaring, who is himself a Catholic living with same-sex attraction, insists…
“Such a strong remark, from such a seat of moral and spiritual authority, would surely tighten the already strong grip of LGBT ideology….
“The Pope’s words seem to belong to a new form of liberation theology — gay liberation theology — through which those who experience same-sex attraction are affirmed in their impulses, rather than encouraged to conform their lives to the Gospel.
“…the embrace of a harmful self-identity as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ in the core of their beings is not being rejected by St. Peter’s successor.”
And if so, Mainwaring calls this “the lie of the century.”
Which brings us back to what we know and what we do not know.
Is it possible to interpret the Pope’s words as simple consolation offered to a man who suffered abuse and has paid a lifelong price in shame and self-loathing? Could Francis’ message actually be something like…
God made you a unique human being, with strengths and weaknesses, virtues and sins. Know that the Pope loves you the way you are, and stop beating yourself up.
After all, someone who was a victim of homosexual predation in youth can’t be happy about its effects on his psyche. And one can only imagine the pressure he must have received from the Chilean hierarchy intent on sweeping things under the rug.
If that is the point of Francis’ remark, it needn’t be seen as being in contrast with the Christ-like admonition, Go and sin no more.
Again and again we’ve observed this Pope’s tendency to speak spontaneously without necessarily thinking out how his words might be exploited by those pursuing various agendas. As I’ve written before, Francis is not unlike Donald Trump in that regard (although as time goes on I’m becoming convinced that there’s more method in Trumpian spontaneity than I at first thought).
But then, is this interpretation of Francis’ motives too generous?
Can it be that he really is out to revolutionize Catholic moral teaching through a slow and steady erosion of traditional sexual ethics?
I don’t know.
And of course, all we do know about this incident is what Juan Carlos Cruz has reported the Pope said.
This whole thing could be a case of Cruz hearing what he wanted to hear.
To be honest, I don’t know what to make of Pope Francis. The more I learn about him, the more I’m reminded of Yul Brenner’s famous line in “The King and I”…
“Is a puzzlement!”
“‘God made you this way’ is more than ‘who am I to judge.’ It’s an affirmation, not a negation. And whatever its doctrinal impact, it has already moved many gay Catholics to tears. And answered their prayers”…
Doug Mainwaring fears that Michaelson may be right…
“The souls of roughly two percent of the world’s population [gay Catholics] are now precariously balanced on the tip of the cupola atop St. Peter’s Basilica, waiting to see if the Church will save them through the telling of hard truths, or condemn them through affirmation.”
But Catholic blogger David Wanat cautions that we cannot interpret what the Pope meant to say without knowing more about the context of his remark…
“By relying only on soundbite quotes and not looking for context when something seems unusual, is to risk falling into error. To assume that a soundbite quote ‘proves’ error on the part of the Pope is to commit rash judgment — which the Catechism teaches is a sin….”
You’ll find his blog post at…
Count on the inimitable Michael Voris of Church Militant (a former practicing homosexual himself) to slam Francis long and hard. In one of his impassioned “Vortex” video commentaries, Voris minces no words…
“What a filthy rotten disgusting diabolical lie. If God deliberately created gays as gay, and revels in it, and thinks it’s so great and wonderful, then why didn’t He give them the power to reproduce?
“No one is born gay.
“They are traumatized into it, raped into it, abused emotionally into it, deprived of an authentic masculine presence into it, and even coached into it by predatory men — some of whom are priests. I’d like the man who is currently pope to look me in the eye and tell me God made me the way I used to live and therefore intends me to be that way and was happy with it and would have no problem with me returning to it, because after all, He made me that way.”