The Associated Press recently published a wide-ranging interview Pope Francis, where he spoke about homosexuality, his health and critics, the sexual abuse crisis, the German Church reform process, and more. Father Dave takes a closer look at some of Pope Francis’ comments.
“The Associated Press, obviously a major secular news source, perhaps one of the most renowned and respected in the English speaking world…They did a videotaped interview with Pope Francis, like a long form, like sitting there for an hour or more, and asking him questions,” Father Dave says. “They’re not only going to try to get the take of a head of state, but let’s be frank, they’re certainly going to throw in a few controversial questions that they know are going to get some headlines, and boy did they.”
One of those headlines states, “Pope Francis says homosexuality not a crime.” Father Dave explains, “For some of us, that wasn’t news. Now, I don’t want to be flippant about it; it is, in fact, a crime in some countries in the world, and some big countries.” He continues, “Pope Francis says this is a condition of a human person, it is not a crime. He says, in terms of the way the Church looks at it, yes, we believe it is a sin. But he talks about these laws that essentially allow homosexuality to be considered a crime in some countries. He talks about them being unjust, and we must declare these laws as unjust.”
Father Dave notes how the Church does not teach that homosexuality to be a sin, as the Pope’s words may indicate, but rather that homosexual acts are sinful. “He didn’t specify that much, and so some people are even kind of pushing back today. ‘Gee, we wish Pope Francis would have been a little more theologically precise, like our actual Church teaching,’” Father Dave explains. “Church teaching doesn’t say that being gay is a sin, but it does say that acting on that inclination, because we believe that sexual love is only morally appropriate within marriage, sacramental marriage, as the Church sees it between a man and a woman. So obviously, he didn’t go into all the details. He just said it’s a sin. But he also said, and this is important to note, under his breath quickly after that he said, ‘but it’s also a sin to lack charity towards one another.’”
In another part of the interview, the AP asks Pope Francis about his response to critics. Father Dave explains, “Many people, more so than we’ve had I would say in modern history, are openly and sometimes vociferously criticizing him…So when they asked him about the people that criticize us, he says, ‘You know, one would prefer that people don’t criticize you, you know, just for the sake of tranquility.’ But then he said, ‘I prefer that they do. Because that means that there’s freedom to speak. The only thing I ask is that they do it to my face, because that’s how we all grow, right?’”
Father Dave continues, “Jesus demonstrates that in the gospels, he says, ‘If you have an issue with someone, the first thing you do is you go to them.’ And in our modern world, it doesn’t have to be something as big as the Pope being controversial or somebody having a powerful blog or something like that. We do that in our own relationships in our life. You know, we talk behind people’s backs. Again, that’s a sin too. Not just the big headline-grabbing ones.”