I guess I'm supposed to be impressed that Pope Francis said something about gay people that wasn't hostile, but in comparison with Pope Benedict, Francis still sees the same sex acts as sinful, so he's just playing good cop to Benedict's bad cop:
Never veering from church doctrine opposing homosexuality, Francis did strike a more compassionate tone than that of his predecessors, some of whom had largely avoided even saying the more colloquial "gay."Right -- the church thinks homosexual acts are sinful, and that if you're gay you should just stop engaging in those acts, and there's nothing here to indicate that Francis is deviating from that doctrine. Here's a slightly longer version of the quote from National Catholic Reporter's John C. Allen. The pope was responding to a question about whether there's a "gay lobby" in the Vatican:
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word "gay."
Francis's words could not have been more different from those of Benedict XVI, who in 2005 wrote that homosexuality was "a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil," and an "objective disorder." The church document said men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" should not become priests.
Vatican experts were quick to point out that Francis was not suggesting that the priests or anyone else should act on their homosexual tendencies, which the church considers a sin.
"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 goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers."Right -- the church believes you can have the tendency all you want -- just don't act on it, ever.
See this National Catholic Register story about a group called Courage:
The Courage apostolate's upcoming annual conference seeks to strengthen the faith and the confidence in Christ of Catholics who have same-sex attraction, helping them to live their call to chastity.Yup -- if you're gay, you have a "call to chastity."
And maybe you're not gay at all. Father Paul Scalia -- son of Antonin and an ally of Courage -- has written about this:
... Scalia goes on to claim that many people have "have found freedom, to varying degrees, from homosexual attractions" and deny that people have sexual orientations: "Homosexual tendencies (to use a term from magisterial documents), do not constitute a fixed, unchangeable aspect of the person and therefore should not be considered an "orientation"..."I don't see how anything Francis said changes this view, except he's saying it in a sunny, smiley way. The Catholic Church never yields on doctrine. (See what Francis said about the priesthood for women, in the same set of remarks: "On the ordination of women, the church has spoken and said no. John Paul II, in a definitive formulation, said that door is closed.") This is the same old same old, with a human face.