Did Pope Francis Say Homosexual Behavior Is OK?

Short Answer: No

Pope Francis made some impromptu remarks for reporters while returning from World Youth Day, and now headlines across the mainstream media blare that he made some kind of stunning reversal of Catholic teaching. Earlier in the same interview, he half-jokingly said, “I think like a Jesuit.” True to the stereotype of the Society of Jesus, Pope Francis has a very logical mind, so we must pay careful attention to his words. What did Pope Francis actually say (emphasis added)?

When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem…they’re our brothers.

Pope Francis speaks to reporters aboard his plane while returning to Rome from World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)

Pope Francis speaks to reporters aboard his plane while returning to Rome from World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)

First of all, the supposedly provocative line begins with the word, “if,” and it’s a BIG IF. Most homosexuals do not accept Jesus’ teachings on chastity. Salvation comes from Jesus. Sin is a rejection of salvation. Adultery is a sin. Sex outside of marriage is adultery. The divine sacrament of marriage requires that one man and one woman vow their mutual love, fidelity, and openness to life publicly and before God. Therefore, homosexual sex is a rejection of Jesus. QED.

Some people with homosexual tendencies choose to accept the salvation of our Lord and maintain a life of chastity. This is the key to what Pope Francis is saying: people with homosexual desires who are able to exhibit this level of self-control should be welcomed as our brothers and given encouragement in their struggle. This is a very beautiful statement. However, it does not say anything about people who give in to carnal desires and live promiscuously—whether gay or straight.

Pope Francis does hint at this though. He says that the tendency to homosexuality is “not the problem,” which is to imply that there is a problem. There may not be an official “gay lobby” in the Holy See, but there is definitely a gay lobby in secular political life and it is viciously opposed to the Catholic Church. People who campaign for same-sex marriage or who objectify the human body do not have goodwill for us. We do not need to judge them because their actions speak for themselves.

It’s unclear whether the ellipsis indicates that Pope Francis spoke about any of this at all. He didn’t need to though. If you take his words at face value, he made a very powerful statement which encapsulates all of Catholic teaching on sexuality and chastity in a very simple and profound observation. He said exactly what he meant to say and nothing more. Liberal advocates of same-sex marriage—especially in the press—make a grave error by misinterpreting his words to imply otherwise.

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70 thoughts on “Did Pope Francis Say Homosexual Behavior Is OK?

  1. John says:

    Would like to see more reporting on current Catholic responses to the Pope appeal for us to focus on the Beatitudes and Matthew 25. We’ve spoken enough about sexuality, general and reproductive health — can we focus more on those living on the margins of society? Thanks

  2. Barbara says:

    I figured this might happen , since this is how the liberal media works it’s lies to twist the truth to their advantage, ESPECIALLY ,MSNBC is where my husband had the news on. They also did this to Pope Benedict 16, Emiratis when he made a statement on the contraception issue. Twist to their own advantage.+

  3. James DeLarvin says:

    I would just like to add a small thought to Laurence’s comparison to word of mouth and media misquotes and interpretations. It is and always shall be true of media to spin information the best way possible to gain attention and as we all have seen way to often in a negative context. However the most attributing horrible factor to this is the misinterpretation, as opposed to original live statement, will flash like lighting across the global circuits millions of times via internet, satellite and public re-broadcast before a retraction &/or correction can be made. Whether it be from the source or persona relaying the information. Worse still is no correction on the part of the media at all and if it is made very little effort. God Bless All and Thank You for letting me post my thoughts.

  4. Catholatin says:

    There is another part of the Pope’s responses that for some reason has not been as widely distributed, although it’s extremely relevant. Here’s a translation (as faithful as I could render it myself) the relevant questions and answers. The original (in Spanish) can he read at: http://www.aciprensa.com/noticias/esto-fue-lo-que-dijo-el-papa-francisco-en-rueda-de-prensa-sorpresa-a-bordo-del-avion-papal-63767/#.Ufb-k23N5IT

    TRANSLATION (my own)

    Journalist: Brazilian society has changed, young people have changed. You have not spoken about abortion nor about marriage between people of the same sex. In Brazil they have approved a law that extends abortion rights and another one that allows marriage between people of the same sex. Why have you not spoken about that?

    PP Francis: The Church has clearly spoken about that, it is not necessary to go over it again, as it’s not necessary to talk about fraud, lying or other things about which the church has a clear doctrine. It is not necessary to talk about that, but about positive things that open the road for the young ones. Besides, young people know perfectly well what is the Church’s position about this.

    Journalist: But what is your own position about those topics?

    PP Francis: The position of the Church, I am a son of the Church.

    Later on, in the part of his responses that has been publicized the most, there is a part that is not being widely reproduced after the famous sentence:

    PP Francis: [...] If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, Who am I to criticize them? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a very beautiful way. It says that those people should not be marginalized because of that. It’s necessary to integrate them to society. The problem is not having that tendency.

  5. Adam Rasmussen says:

    You’re asking the wrong question. Only someone badly misinformed would think that Francis had said that homosexual behavior is morally acceptable. The point is rather in what Francis did say: namely that it is not the job of the Christian to judge the gay or lesbian who is sincerely seeking the Lord.

  6. Brian Murphy says:

    A good article.. just a minor point but one that should be clarified:
    “…Adultery is a sin. Sex outside of marriage is adultery…” Actually adultery is defined as:
    “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.”
    Sexual intercourse between two people who are both single is not adultery,
    but falls instead under the broader term fornication. Fornication is also grave sin as the Apostle Paul indicates.

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