For decades, the Catholic Church and its Pope have been seen as a beacon of hope in an otherwise murky and corrupt world. The teachings of the church and the messages from the Vatican have helped many navigate the stressors and complexities of the modern world. Now, the Pope is speaking up for mortal sins.
Speaking with the Associated Press on January 24th, he defiantly said “Being homosexual isn’t a crime.” With many countries making homosexuality illegal, he admitted that Bishops in many countries support those laws, and he acknowledged it is a “sin.” He then contributed their views to cultural backgrounds. He wants to see these Bishops change.
“These bishops have to have a process of conversion.” He explained that he wants them to move away from shame and disgust to “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”
Comments like this mark the first time a Pope has ever spoken up like this on their behalf. Gay rights activists have hailed His Holiness for such support, and they go together with his previous views on the LGTBQ+ community. He sees the church as a place to welcome everyone, and to turn none away, regardless of how mortal their sins may be.
As it stands, 67 countries and jurisdictions across the globe criminalize same-sex sexuality. 11 of those countries can impose the death penalty, with some going through with it according to The Humanity Digital Trust, who is trying to end those laws. Here in the US over a dozen states still hold anti-sodomy laws. In 2003 the Supreme Court declared those laws unconstitutional, but they are still on the books.
When talking about the creation of such laws, the Pope deemed them “unjust”. He believes the Catholic Church has a mission to end these laws, and as he sees it they have the power to make it happen. He quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church, explaining that gays need to be welcomed into the church and not marginalized or shown any discrimination. “We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity.”
In the eyes of the Pope, this remains a sin, but a sin should not be law. Given how often the two tend to intersect (rape, murder, stealing, etc.) you would think he would be more in favor of the laws being upheld. With the track record of Pope Francis and the recent death of Pope Benedict XVI, this topic coming up seemed unusual.
Never in the history of the church has the Pope been asked about this in an interview. It’s never really been seen as possible. With his response coming freely, it marks a huge shift in the church, and the dioceses around the world need to pivot with these changes in his eyes. They need to teach that these acts are sinful or “intrinsically disordered,” but they still must treat them properly.
Looking back on his time fulfilling his calling as a man of the cloth, and his track record of showing love and support to the LGTBQ+ community, these statements shouldn’t be exactly shocking. While archbishop of Buenos Aires he encouraged legal protections for same-sex marriages but also refused to endorse it as the Catholic church still forbids it.
This is the message of a man who needs to pick an intrinsic side of the fence or the other. No matter how he chooses to proceed, the people of the Catholic church need to look at his actions. Is this really the man who should be setting the bar for the rest of the world? While he has a point as Jesus was known to love the deplorable that the rich turned their noses up at, in this current woke climate that they are becoming the rich.
As the leader of the moral majority for most of the planet, this is getting rather cloudy, real quick.