What Pope Francis said about homosexuals on his way back from Armenia

 

Pope Francis’ journey home from Armenia gave rise to plenty of headlines and news items on the subject of his words about people with homosexual tendencies. Reading the Holy Father’s actual words shows that these reports took certain phrases out of context and distorted his meaning. Here is the full text of what the Pope said.


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A journalist puts a question to the Pope on the flight to Rome


CNS journalist Cindy Wooden asked the Pope:

Holiness, within the past few days Cardinal Marx, the German, speaking at a major conference in Dublin on the Church in the modern world, said that the Catholic Church must ask forgiveness of the gay community for having marginalized these people. In the days following the shooting in Orlando, many have said that the Christian community had something to do with this hatred toward these people. What do you think?

Pope Francis replied:

I will repeat what I said on my first trip. I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally. One may condemn (not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior) certain manifestations that are a bit too offensive for others. But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. If the problem is that a person has that condition, if they have good will and seek God, who are we to judge them? And we must accompany them well, that is what the Catechism says. The Catechism is clear!


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Then there are traditions in some countries, in some cultures that have a different mentality on this problem. I think that the Church must not only ask forgiveness – like that “Marxist Cardinal” said (laughs) – must not only ask forgiveness of the gay person whom she has offended. But she must ask forgiveness of the poor too, of women and children who are exploited for labor. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons. The Church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times – and when I say the Church, I mean we Christians! The Church is holy; it is we who are sinners! – Christians must ask forgiveness for having not accompanied so many choices, so many families… I remember from my childhood the culture in Buenos Aires, the closed Catholic culture. That’s where I come from. Once there was a divorce in a family, you couldn’t even enter their house. I’m speaking of 80 years ago. The culture has changed, thank God. As Christians we must ask forgiveness for many things, not just these. Forgiveness, not just excuses. Forgive me, Lord: that’s a word that we often forget. Now I’m being a pastor and preaching a sermon.

This is true, very often. Often you find a priest who is a master and not a father, a priest who beats and not a priest who embraces, forgives and consoles. But there are many; many holy hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, many saints. But these ones go unseen, because holiness is modest, it’s hidden.

Instead there is blatant shamelessness, it’s blatant and attracts attention. There are so many organizations with good people and people who aren’t so good, people who give large sums of money and look the other way, like the international powers with the three genocides.

We Christians – priests, bishops – we have done this. But we Christians also have Teresa of Calcutta, and many Teresas of Calcutta. We have many holy religious sisters in Africa, many holy lay-people, many holy married couples. Wheat and weeds, wheat and weeds. That is what Jesus says the Kingdom is like. We must not be scandalized about this. We must pray that the Lord puts an end to the weeds so that there is more wheat. But this is the life of the Church. We can’t draw a line. All of us are holy, because all of us have the Holy Spirit. But at the same time we are all sinners, me first of all! All right. I don’t know if I have replied. We can’t just make excuses, we have to say we are sorry.


by Rodrigo Ayude, Rome

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