Pope distinguishes between homosexual orientation, gay lobby

Pope Francis has said that he does not judge homosexuals, including homosexual priests. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” the Pope said.

The Pope added that a homosexual orientation “is not the problem.” He called for charitable treatment of homosexuals, saying that they should not be marginalized.

The Pope’s remarks– made during a long and candid exchange with reporters who accompanied him on his return flight to Rome after a visit to Brazil for World Youth Day—were widely interpreted by reporters as an acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic priesthood. But in fact the Pope’s comments were addressed to different questions.

The Pope had been answering questions from reporters on two sensitive topics: the reported existence of a “gay lobby” at the Vatican, and reports that the newly appointed prelate of the Vatican bank, Msgr. Battista Ricca, had been involved in past homosexual scandals.

The Pope said that although there have been many reports about a “gay lobby,” there is no clearly identifiable group. He joked that he had “never seen it on a Vatican ID card.” In that context, the Pope said that it is important to distinguish between a homosexual orientation and active participation in a “lobby” within the Vatican. “The problem isn’t the orientation,” he said. “The problem is having a lobby.”

Regarding Msgr. Ricca, the Pope disclosed that he had conducted an investigation into charges of misconduct, and “there was nothing.” He went on to say that it is “dangerous” to probe into the past sins of others. People can sin, repent, and accept God’s forgiveness, the Pope said. “The Lord both forgives and forgets. We don’t have the right not to forget.”

Thus the Pope did not address the issue of whether homosexuals should be ordained to the priesthood. He did not contradict the existing Vatican policy, set forth in a 2005 instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education, stipulating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained.

Nor did the Pope dismiss concerns about a “gay lobby” at the Vatican. On the contrary Pope Francis acknowledged– as he has in the past– that the existence of a lobby is a problem to be addressed.

From catholicculture.org

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