“Who am I to judge a gay?”

gay-pope“Who am I to judge a gay?”. After this words from Pope Francis Italy and the whole World entered in a state of fibrillation. Was this Pope, who accustomed us to a rather new mental indipendence in comparison to his predecessors, opening to the LGBT world? “What an important step forward!”, someone said. “What a scandal!” someone else replied.

Well, I took my time to think about the whole thing and, actually, my conclusions could be expressed with a Shakespeare’s title: “Much ado about nothing!” Obviously I can’t know what turned in Francis’ mind but I simply try to analyze the situation. Pope Francis is, as I wrote somewhere else, a very good person in my opinion, a person full of love and charity, but I don’t forget he is also the absolute theocratic leader of the Catholic Church! What does this mean? Well, I suppose you don’t spend something like 50 years of your life in a Church, more so making a career in it, if you don’t agree with the basic principles of that Church.

I’d like, therefore, to remind to the many “enthusiasts” of the Pope’s new course what the Church he served for all of his life says about homosexuality. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated in 1992, accepts that the “psychological genesis of homosexuality remains largely unexplained“. Nevertheless, as Scripture presents homosexual acts as “acts of grave depravity” and “tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” being “contrary to the natural law“, the Catechism states that all homosexual acts “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity“, and thus under no circumstances can they be approved. It is true that, theoretically, the same Cathechism adfirms that, though homosexuality is “an objective disorder” as it tempts one to do something that is sinful (the homosexual act), temptations beyond one’s control are not considered sinful in and of themselves and so, while the Catholic Church does oppose attempts to legitimize same-gender sexual acts, it also urges respect and love for those who do experience same-sex attractions.

To make it short, if you have homosexual tendencies and you are living in perfect chastity you must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, without any unjust discrimination BUT if, on the contrary, like the majority of human beings, you want to live your sexuality in a normal way… well boy, sorry but no way, you are just a sinner. Ok, one could say that, theoretically, according to the Catholic vision, anybody having sex outside of the marriage is a sinner. True, but the point is that if you have homosexual tendences you simply can’t get married, which makes the situation very similar to a dog chasing its tail.

We all know these things and, for sure, Francis does know them very well. Could he change the situation? Yes and no. As the “Vicar of Christ” he has the absolute power on any Church decision but, tendencially, he couldn’t, even if willing, go against one of the two pillars of Catholicism, the “Traditio Fidei”, so that, has the Traditio always showed to be against homosexuality, it would be very hard also for him to change anything in the Catholic position.

By the way the big question is another: was Francis expressing any personal opinion about a possible enlargement of the very strict vision of the Church about homosexuality? Well, I don’t think so! We don’t have to be cheated by the fact he is trying to purge the Catholic Church from the many deviations hidden inside of its body: one thing is to correct deviations to canalize the Church into a more Scriptural direction, another is to revolutionize a historical theological interpretation about such a delicate point. If we read what Francis really said we can easily see he said absolutly nothing strange for a Pope: 1) he readfirmed his humbleness considering himself a simple Christian and, as such, a person following the rule “don’t judge and you won’t be judged”; 2) he followed the Cathechism prescribing respect for anyone with homosexual tendences (if chaste). Nothing else.

What I ask to myself is the reason of all the hullabaloo about such a statement. Is it an opening? Not at all. It is, on the contrary, a reaffirmation of closure. I don’t even want to speak about the use of an expression like “The gays”, which I personally hate thinking to how unfair it is to define a whole human being using just one of the thousands of (natural) characteristics forming a person (how would, in example, a woman react being called “a blonde”?). What I’d like to ask to the Pope (and to any other priest or pastor with the same ideas) is just one thing: “Holy Father, why should you, anyway, judge a gay?” The verb “to judge” implies at least the suspect of a misfit. I am a man, a so-called heterosexual man: could anybody even think about the Pope saying “Who am I to judge an heterosexual male?” Which is the difference, Holy Father?

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3 thoughts on ““Who am I to judge a gay?”

  1. I very much agree with this piece; the pope said nothing new, and no human being should be reduced to one tagging characteristic. It’s insulting and superficial to say the least.

    But what about the underlying assumption throughout, that the pope was only talking about males? Strange.

  2. Well, Sigrid, not so strange I would say: the Pope was actually speaking about gay lobbies in the Vatican (the question he was answering to was about this) and I suppose these lobbies are mainly formed by priests. I don’t doubt, anyway, there are also women with lesbian attitudes in the Vatican and in the Congregations of nouns, like everywhere in the world but I would say nothing changes in terms of considerations about human dignity, natural tendences, Catholic way of thinking and need for a more complete way to consider the thousands of human variables.

  3. It’s true that the pope is technically saying nothing new here, but I think there’s still something significant in the way he said it. His attitude of humility may be called for by Christian ethics and prescribed in Catholic documents, but it may also be far removed from what the Church has actually practiced in the past. He may not be initiating a dramatic revolution, but he may just inspire a revolution in the hearts of believers. Think of the much-improved relations between the Catholic and Protestant churches over the last century or so… this didn’t result from any dramatic revolutions or from overturning fundamental traditions. It resulted from a growth of Christian love and humility, and an openness to the Spirit’s leading in sensitive controversial matters. Pope Francis seems to be gently prodding the Church down this path, without any schemes or fears as to where it might lead.

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