Francis and Homosexuals: What is the Pope saying?

25 10 2020
Pope Francis

Many are troubled by recent utterances of Pope Francis about homosexuals deserving a family as he call for their freedom and choices to be protected by law. There is no doubt that for many, this may be disconcerting, perhaps even alarming since we all know that this act is explicitly condemned in the  bible and the teaching authority of the Church right from the beginning. Thus, many may be asking, what does it mean and what is the Pope saying here. Well for those looking for answers on what the Pope is saying, they need look no further than his newest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. In the first few pages, he makes it clear that he is calling all Christians back to the fundamental primacy of charity as the distinguishing mark of the Christian.  In all things, and especially to those most in need, the poor and the wounded of this world, Christians must show charity.

He narrates in Fratelli Tutti, the story of the Good Samaritan who of all the people that came alongside the man dispossessed by robbers was the only one who had it in his heart to help him. The Samaritan realized that this man needs a friend and a family and decided to be one to him. What is a family but people who accept and a company one another in their wounds, take care of one another, spend time with one another.  Time is one of the most challenging things to give to others, the Pope continues, and for sure, the Samaritan must have had other plans that day, and had to give them up, making drastic changes in order to accommodate the wounded man, pour wine and bandages on his wounds, he had to make a u-turn and find an Inn.

The Samaritan became a neighbour to the wounded Judean. By approaching and making himself present, he crossed all cultural and historical barriers. Jesus concludes the parable by saying: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37). In other words, he challenges us to put aside all differences and, in the face of suffering, to draw near to others with no questions asked (pg. 21).

Fratelli Tutti

In Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis carefully draws our attention to those who Jesus said rejected the wounded man, those who on sighting him crossed to the other side. They were religious people! The very people with an obligation to help, to live charity, and they failed miserably in this regard.

It shows that belief in God and the worship of God are not enough to ensure that we are actually living in a way pleasing to God. A believer may be untrue to everything that his faith demands of him, and yet think he is close to God and better than others. The guarantee of an authentic openness to God, on the other hand, is a way of practising the faith that helps open our hearts to our brothers and sisters (pg. 19).

Fratelli Tutti

The Holy Spirit is calling Christians to return to the roots of Christ charity, which came, not for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. Christ condemns sin, but never the sinner; ask that we do not judge.

Perhaps in their hearts, those Levites, priests that passed to the other side were judgmental like those disciples who asked Jesus whose sin it was that made blind the man born blind. Jesus gives the answer, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, rather it is so that God’s power may be made manifest” (John 9:2). Those born blind to the true nature of sexuality, can be likened to the man born blind. Many homosexual are so not by their own choosing, and yes each is born with his melancholy basic temperaments, ill temper, and sanguine. But born that way has never means living that way. We all have the obligation to struggle against self defeating urges, and the adulterous, must cease using his passion, and the glutton desist from gluttony.

Consequently, charity demands a moderation of language. Homosexuality is an issue so many people are so passionate about today unlike in the 19th century when homosexuality was relatively hidden and obscure and considered by a wide section of people as wrong and improper. Things are totally different today, and it’s accepted by most advanced societies, and even celebrated in the media, thus charity demands that the sensitivity of so many people be taken into accounts when issuing statements at the risk of antagonizing, and hence closing hearts permanently to the saving word of God. It must be kept in mind that meeting someone midway may be the beginning of leading him out of it as long as you bear the light and know the way. And thanks to the unchanging teaching of Christ and his Church, every Christian bears the light and knows the way.

Those who fear that concessions are slippery slope to changing the church’s teaching on homosexuality often cite the gradual caving of civil laws in different countries in West as evidence of how concession to civil union ends with full endorsement of homosexual acts and even acceptance of homosexual marriage as the equivalent of marriage between man and woman. Those who entertain this fear need to make an important distinction between Church and civil society. The church is a supernatural society whose laws come outside of her and revealed by God and thus no one can change those laws. Civil societies have laws coming from within men prone to change. Thus the Church has nothing to fear in getting as near as she can to the sinner to save them because she is well anchored on solid rock.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba


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