The media’s favorite Catholic, Pope Francis, once again grabbed the world’s attention in a recent incident regarding his approach to homosexuality, when he allegedly told Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of the Chilean Church and an openly gay man, that, “God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.” The source of this alleged comment is Cruz himself, and the Vatican has neither confirmed nor denied it, stating they “do not normally comment on the Pope’s private conversations.” This statement only leaves mystery and much room for interpretation.
In a predictable fashion, the mainstream media presented this as a revolutionary moment that foreshadows a shift in the Church’s teachings on homosexuality– a media reaction almost identical to the one when Francis famously said in 2013 that, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
The media, seeing a loving and merciful Pope, fall into a wishful thinking where the Catholic Church is “progressing” away from their “outdated” beliefs and towards the media’s version of “inclusive” beliefs. Through this wishful thinking, the media often omits important details, such as when Francis clarified his 2013 comments, saying, “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”
Wait, what? The same Catechism that the media loves to quote as calling homosexuality “objectively disordered,” also teaches that homosexuals should be treated with “delicacy?” Why yes; in fact, the Catholic Church clarifies this in the following sentence of the media’s favorite phrase. Let’s put this in context with the entire paragraph– number 2358 in the Catechism.
“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
Fast forward to the recent controversy surrounding Francis’ comments and we find that, yet again, the media omits crucial details. Days after Cruz explained his conversation with the Pope, Francis instructed Italian bishops to reject applicants for the priesthood who may be suspected to have homosexual tendencies.
From “Who am I to judge,” to “God made you this way,” to, “If in doubt, better not let them enter,” what exactly is going on? The truth is, Francis’ differing approach to homosexuality is not a critique of Church teachings, but a critique of how Catholics promote those teachings. A contributing factor to why the media focuses on the strict aspects of the Catechism rather than the loving and merciful ones is because Catholics do the same.
Many Catholics, including myself at times, become obsessed with promoting the strict teachings of the Catholic Church. Do not get drunk, do not have premarital sex, do not use contraception, ect. These strict teachings are essential to a holy life, but too often Catholics make it appear as if their church is simply one giant “do not,” which is not the case.
It is quite evident that Francis is critical of this obsession with the “do nots” of the Catholic Church, not because he disagrees with them, but because he feels that there must first be an emphasis on love and mercy so that people feel welcome enough in the Church to follow those ever important “do nots.”
The Francis era has surely been discomforting to conservative Catholics such as myself, but oftentimes a little discomfort is beneficial in the long run. Sure, Francis is not perfect and at times confuses us all, but let’s look deeper into what exactly he’s trying to do with the Church, and let’s honor it.
So, take a deep breath conservatives. Francis is not a Marxist attempting to spark a revolution in the Church. And don’t get too excited media, Francis is not a Marxist attempting to spark a revolution in the Church.
Francis, is– well, Francis.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.