“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?

The Pope and the favela

imagesI got moved and I don’t feel ashamed in admitting it! I was watching the news on tv and had the chance to see a report about Pope Francis in a favela of Rio and to listen to what he said and I got moved and thought: “This is a man of God!”.
Yes, I am a Unitarian minister. So, what’s wrong?
I’m not saying I’m going to change my mind, I am not going to become a Catholic or anything similar: I am still horrified by the idea of a hierarchical Church whose leader is considered the “Vicar of Christ” and  infalible in proclaiming dogmas, I am still angry with all the luxury of the Vatican, with a Curia which, I hear, only now (too late and, I can presume, only for a slavish obedience to its leader) is moving towards a less wasteful style of life and I certainly don’t agree with so many Catholic religious ideas it would be too long to number them.

But this doesn’t mean I should pretend to be blind in front of a man like Pope Francis. Yes, I know what many people think: it’s just an image, just a good job by the PR of the Holy See. Well, I don’t agree: I am quite sure none would act concretely against the Vatican historical show off and against the paritetical Vatican corruption, none would be so naturally open to the people just for a good advertising campaign without a deep, radical conviction that this is the only way for a minister (actually for any human being) to be.

So I think Francis is really a good man. But… how can I judge him a man of God? Surely not as he is a priest, a bishop, the Pope: we all know an anointment is certainly not a guarantee for anything of this kind.
The answer is simple to me: simply I judge a man of God anyone having a preferencial option for the lasts on Earth, for all of them, for the poor, for the outcast, for the weak, for the ones put into any ghetto, for the ones having nothing.

We are called, as human beings, to love any brother and sister but especially these people simply as they have nothing and our love, any expression of our love, is, at least, something.
So I saw this people in the favela in Rio and I know tomorrow they will be as poor as yesterday, I know much more could be done for them in terms of material help, but I also saw they were joyful today and I also know Francis could have act like many Popes before him, just visiting a Country, meeting the leaders, spending some good words and going home, but he didn’t: he went there, giving, perhaps, a little hope. And hope is, exactly like food and money, something they need, something we all need.

Am I saying Pope Francis is a saint? Not at all: I guess no human being is a saint. I am saying I believe that he is a good man of God, that’s it.
Shouldn’t I say this as I am a Unitarian minister and he is the mighty Catholic Pope? Why?
Let me tell you I can’t care less about our theological differences: theology is just a human product, a vision and an opinion, a way the Spirit uses to mark a different track in His personal dialogue with each one of us. Acts count much more, life counts much more, taking position in favour of the outcast counts much more, giving love counts much more and is, in my opinion, the real core of any spirituality in the World.

Many centuries ago a man, Ferenc David, said something like “We don’t need to think alike to love alike”. Well, I think he was right!