I was looking forward to the reaction from the theocon Catholic right to Pope Francis’ refreshingly Christian reflections on homosexual people. Kathryn-Jean Lopez does not disappoint – but it’s a pretzel she has to twist into. Here is what Lopez heard the Pope say:
If the chronology of Allen’s report reflects the conversation, Pope Francis had just finished talking about redemption, the fact that Peter himself denied Christ and would later become pope. He warned against a culture in which sins of the past are dug up on people. Should a sin – we’re talking a sin, not a crime – destroy a man, decades later? That doesn’t seem Christian, it seems clear, was the pope’s point.
Huh? There is no chronology in a press conference other than the chronology of the questions. And the idea that the Pope was merely saying that forgiveness is an essential Catholic practice when he specifically reflected on “gay people” “of good will” is a bizarre digression. Forgiveness is an essential Catholic practice in all circumstances. And, in any case, the gay individual he was citing in the previous answer was, he insisted, completely innocent of all the accusations of sin. So there was nothing to forgive! Good try, K-Lo, but, sorry, this was clearly a rebuke to the cruelty and homophobic panic of the recent past from a man who is the first Pope from a Catholic country where marriage equality is the law of the land (and who favored civil unions for gays there).
K-Lo then goes on fearlessly to reiterate Benedict’s foul and anti-Christian pronouncement that no gay men should be allowed into the priesthood … :
Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway. For, in the end, their attitude toward man and woman is somehow distorted, off center, and, in any case, is not within the direction of creation of which we have spoken.
… and claims it is completely consistent with this statement from Francis:
When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem . . . they’re our brothers.
For Benedict, gay people were “objectively disordered” whose “attitude toward man and woman is somehow distorted, off center, and, in any case, is not within the direction of creation.” For Francis, “they’re our brothers” and “who am I to judge?”
There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. But Jesus came to open eyes to love, not close them.