Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lucia Pope Francis and boys taking their same-sex partners to school balls

Today's Dominion Post contains a perfect example of a person who has taken in the media interpretation of Pope Francis and considers that to be the correct one.  Here's Des Darroch of Kilbirnie's, "Point to the Editor", published in the Dominion Post today:
Monica Devine (Letters, Dec 30) criticises the rector of St Patrick's College, Silverstream, for allowing same-sex partners to attend the school ball.  Pope Francis, Time magazine's person of the year, responding to a recent question about gay rights said: "Who am I to judge".  Pope Francis needs every encouragement in 2014.
There are so many things wrong with Des' interpretation of what Pope Francis said and why he said it and what it might mean, that I really need to break everything down in order to be clear.

Pope Francis talking to the press on the plane back to Rome from Rio De Janeiro after World Youth Day, 28 July 2013

On 28 July, 2013, Pope Francis held a press conference during his return flight from Rio De Janeiro.  He was asked many questions, and you can read all those questions and his answers on the Vatican website.  During that press conference he was asked about Monsignor Ricca's private life and the gay lobby. The specific question was:

I would like permission to ask a delicate question: another image that has been going around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his private life. I would like to know, Your Holiness, what you intend to do about this? How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the whole question of the gay lobby?

As you can see from the question above, Pope Francis was not asked about "gay rights" as alleged by Des Darroch of Kilburnie.

However the problem is that the infamous, "who am I to judge" that has been attributed to the pope and applied to gay rights by such persons as Des, has been plucked out of a very long answer because of the goings on of a certain Monsignor Ricca. The actual sentence that the pope uttered, in Italian, so here it is translated, was:

If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?

People who are searching for the Lord are not agitating for acceptance of their same-sex partners at the school ball.

The entire paragraph answer that Pope Francis gave to the question, I will now quote in full so that you can see the context of that one sentence. I've bolded the sentence that was summarised down to "who am I to judge", by Des of Kiburnie.

About Monsignor Ricca: I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary investigation. And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had been alleged. We did not find anything of that. This is the response. But I wish to add something else: I see that many times in the Church, over and above this case, but including this case, people search for “sins from youth”, for example, and then publish them. They are not crimes, right? Crimes are something different: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, sins. But if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins. That is a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. Many times I think of Saint Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that is he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope. We have to think a great deal about that. But, returning to your question more concretely. In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything. This is the first question. Then, you spoke about the gay lobby. So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem. Thank you so much for asking this question. Many thanks.

Later, Pope Francis had an opportunity to clarify his "who am I to judge?" statement that has wrongly been taken up by all and sundry as Pope Francis giving his endorsement to gay rights. This is what he said to a Jesuit magazine:

In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are “socially wounded” because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.

A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” We must always consider the person.

I totally agree with the pope.

When it comes to boys who are gay in Catholic schools, it is not good for them to be encouraged to take their same-sex partner to the school ball.  For that gives them the idea that same-sex partnership is approved of by the church and is a way of life that is good for them in the long term. I bet if you asked the pope what he thought about boys taking their same-sex partners to school balls, what he would not say was that it was not for him to judge. Earlier in his press conference, he was asked why he did not talk about abortion or same-sex marriage.  His answer was:

The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on which the Church has a clear teaching!

The people who think Pope Francis is taking the Catholic Church in a radically different direction, such as Des who wrote the very short letter to the editor which they deign to call a "point", really need to pay more attention to what the pope is actually saying. Again, the pope is Catholic, what a surprise!

11 comment(s):

mjaew said...

A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of
homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks
at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with
love, or reject and condemn this person?” We must always consider the

I do agree with this, but I am concerned about what he elected not to say in relation to the question. Why can't he make the obvious two points in his answer, as both of them are valid?

What indeed is more uncomfortable question for the Pope is how does God regard this person if they die in their sin? is that a not even more important question with which to share the gospel, which is the most powerful from a love he can explain this side of eternity?

Lucia Maria said...

Mjaew, you know, I agree as well. It would be good if he had said more. However, I can see why he is keeping it simple. For complete answers to serious questions, we had Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis is a very different man whose style is different. Very Catholic, but coming at it from another direction. There is frustration in that his answers seem incomplete, however, as he has said, he is a son of the Church and the Church has teachings on homosexuality, and nothing he says is negating those.

mjaew said...

Thanks LM. I understand that he is different, but I think my concern is that God will not love the person on the Day of Judgement which makes his answer contrary to the Church and to Scripture. We are only made acceptable (loved by) to God because His Son was condemned for our sins. Pope Francis has missed half the Gospel by imposing on God this binary choice, and I can't abide by that.


mjaew said...

Hi Mrs Mac,

these situations are very hard to be in (for you and your relative) because it is so close to the person's identity. But I absolutely believe that God can act in these situations although I would not want to put any assumptions as to how he would act. Most of the times His ways are contrary to ours but they produce long lasting fruit.

I am a bit concerned that you would suggest that a person has to know they are committing mortal sin before it becomes that. As you probably well know we believe in a lie when we sin (e.g. the circumstances make it ok, it is not wrong, I had no choice etc).

I do pray that you will see your relative will come to the freedom found in Jesus one day soon.


peter.ann said...

The definition of a mortal sin is something that we used to learn in our catechism .... it must be grave matter, one must know that it is a mortal sin and still go ahead and do it all the same .... if the person does not know or believe it to be a serious sin against God then they are not committing a mortal sin ... I also learnt that when I attended the Aquinas Academy in Sydney way back in my twenties.
Have just looked it up I the Catechism of the Catholic Church ..... 1860 ." unintentional ignorance" which it surely is in my relative's case... I feel sure that in God's time God will sort it out with him ...with my lack of patience in most things , I would love to see that happen in my life time but with many prayers being offered for him and the fact that he was consecrated to Our Blessed Lady at the time of his Baptism, my confidence is strong .
Thank you for your prayers Matthew ... we all need them don't we ... mine for you in response.
Mrs Mac

Lucia Maria said...

Ah, so it's you, Matthew!

I'm not sure what you mean by "imposing on God this binary choice". Pope Francis has spoken on the need for Confession separately, here:
Pope Francis: confess sins with concreteness and sincerity


I think there is a difference in how we view Salvation (as spoken of previously), so maybe that gets in the way with understanding Pope Francis and how he speaks about things.

You might find this article instructive if you are worried that Francis is more liberal that previous popes:
Pope Francis ‘shocked’ by ‘gay’ adoption, urges bishop to speak against it, boldly

mjaew said...

Hi LM,

just to clarify the "binary choice", what I meant was that Pope Francis said "when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?" the Pope is giving God a choice to either love or reject and codemn. In fact both apply, but at different points in time (i.e. before the person dies and after they die, if they don't confess their sins and trust in Jesus for their salvation). The Pope's statement is incorrect.

I read through the article on Confession, and I agree with its intentions. I think it is so essential to the redemption for those who commit homosexual acts that he should mention it when he is talking about how God looks at a homosexual.

Thanks for the article on homosexual adoption.


Lucia Maria said...


This recent quote from Pope Francis might help more with understanding his style:

I think of the temptation that perhaps we experience, to which many
people succumb, to link the proclamation of the Gospel with
inquisitionary bludgeoning and condemnation. No, the Gospel must be
proclaimed with gentleness, in a fraternal spirit, with love.

From Pope Francis: "The strength of the Church does not reside in herself, but is instead concealed in the deep waters of God"

Leo said...

He who controls the language controls the debate. I get quite frustrated when I encounter those who seek to argue against homosexualism but seem not to understand this precept.

In this instance, Lucia Maria, it greatly disappoints me to read your use of the once-honourable word "gay" to mean homosexual.

Homosexuals have been known for centuries by many disparaging epithets such as poofter, faggot, fairy, queer. When the homosexualist movement began, activists commonly used the term “queer” to identify themselves.

For example, there were homosexualist TV programmes such as “Queer Nation”, and a common slogan used by homosexuals marching for their “rights” was “We’re queer, we’re here, and you better get used to it !!”

But homosexualist leaders realised that he who controls the language controls the debate, and that “queer” is a term often used disparagingly of homosexuals. So, they devised the term “gay”. The word gay has, of course, nuances of cheerful, light-hearted, fun-loving, etc. – quite the opposite of the homosexual lifestyle, but just the image that homosexualists want to paint.

When we use the term “gay” to mean homosexual, we’re promoting the homosexualist agenda. “Gay” is the term that homosexualists prefer.

Accordingly, those of us who seek to defeat the homosexualist agenda must, as a first step, always call homosexuals “homosexual”.

We must not refer to “gay marriage”. Even the term “same-sex marriage” is quite anaemic. It’s homosexual marriage that we’re vehemently opposed to !! (Please
don't be persuaded that homosexual refers only to males; lesbians are homosexuals. Homosexual does not mean male-sex; it means same-sex. Homophobia does not mean fear of homosexuals; it means fear of the same thing.)

Please, as a first thing, let's try to control the debate.

Lucia Maria said...


I understand the concept very well.

I also think we are past that point - the word "gay" is so entrenched, that it becomes cumbersome to make oneself understood if it's not used in some circumstances, especially since in this post, Pope Francis used the word.

peter.ann said...

Hi Lucia Maria,
Thank you for your response.
I do not agree that my comment ( if it is as I remember it ) needs correction for the Catechism of the Catholic church seems to agree with me :-
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131
1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.
1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin
This is what I was taught years ago and it is still true today .... Thanks to bad teaching now in Religious classes at school and also lack of about such a subject as sin from homilies , there are many now days who do not know the first two requirements and not from their own fault..... .. they would have to believe that it was a grave and sinful matter and still go ahead and do it .... there is no way that I can say, and believe that John Jones or Mary Smith is living in the state of sin ... that is between them and God, God who reads their hearts and will be their judge.
I have heard it said that the parents should teach such things ... true, I and others have done this but what they have been taught at school contradicts this ( please God this is now better than when our son was at Catholic college) teachers and peer group discussion undo what has been taught at home most unfortunately.
Thank you not only for this email of yours but for all the effort you putinto your site,
God Bless,

Mrs Mac

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