In case you didn’t hear, he is endorsing gay civil unions. He actually already supported this in his home country.
So now other Christians can’t rub their homophobia in our faces anymore. Because last time I checked, Catholics were Christians. And as people like to point out, they do have a majority on the Supreme Court too.
Seriously though, this is always what I liked about religion, especially the Catholic one I was brought up in. Compassion, mercy–and social justice.
I love Pope Francis. And I’m happy he’s said what he has. But this is not so new. The Catholic Church long ago separated the sinner from the sin. The current version of the Catechism of the Church written in 1992 talks about homosexuality without using the term “sin.”
2358 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.
And you’ll notice that the Pope’s uses the words “civil union” and not marriage.The Church’s position has always been that marriage takes place in the church, what govts do is perform civil unions. So he’s basically saying nothing new; that everyone should be treated equally in society. But he is not saying that homosexuals can marry.
There is debate in the Church between those who believe that infallibility is exercised rarely and explicitly and those that believe that it is common. However, the Catholic Church does not teach that the pope is infallible in everything he says; official invocation of papal infallibility is extremely rare.
Only formal and official ex cathedra declarations are said to be indisputably infallible.
The last formal ex cathedra declaration was in 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as an article of faith.
Anyway, the doctrine of infallibility itself only dates from 1870, and can be disputed.
Then you have a very different experience of religion than I and many others have experienced.
When I showed my Catholic wife this story earlier, she said ‘Father Joe is going to be choking on his cornflakes this morning’. Father Joe, her priest from her childhood, loves to use his pulpit to declare that she and others like us are going to hell. He even did it at her father’s funeral.
I am giddy as well, but also worried. There are a lot of people who just had the rug pulled out from under them. First he started wearing a mask and now this.
Haven’t seen anything yet (haven’t looked), but I expect there are Catholics who will be calling for his replacement. I’ve already seen posts on Facebook which are basically people putting their fingers in their ears and say, “I can’t hear you”.
As mentioned, simple statements of opinion are not under the mantle of infallibility. EVEN on moral issues. And the only two infallible declarations issued since the modern procedure to invoke it was adopted in the 1800s have been on Marian theology, not on social morals.
OTOH the Pope can decree something to be an official position of the Church and make it mandatory, w/o need to make it “infallible”. But as of now this is seems just a statement of opinion.
That said, I have been seeing the Catholic Right having mild conniptions since almost the day after Bergoglio got seated in the Chair of Peter, and found it somewhat amusing in the same way as all the gushing from the various “liberal” sources that started simultaneously. In both cases revealing how both sides are hearing/reading what they want into it.
As said above:
It has been observed by many before in other similar instances, Francis has not been, and will not be, unilaterally upending anything fundamental about the Church. Nobody who makes it to Pope is going to do that. But people being people of course they will be reading into the statements and reports what they wish for or what they fear.
In this one, yes, Die_Capacitrix, I have already seen plenty of social media posts that in the mildest version claim he could not have possibly said that and this is fake news.
Now of course, this being the age of not leaving well enough alone, this will create agitation for a clarificaction or an explanation or an elaboration. The Vatican may come to feel they need to issue one… and I dare predict that if so people on both sides of the issue will yet again read into that what they feared or wished for, and have another fit over that, and throw around phrases like “walked it back” or “the media misrepresented”. Because that’s how people are. (To be perfectly fair, it is a pitfall in this sorts of reports that often the wording the interviewee uses is translated for the public by the mass press, especially in second-hand relays, in terms that don’t have the same connotation in all cultures.)
Compassionate and merciful? The human species is anything but. Throughout history, whenever that thin veneer of civility has been scratched, the beast has emerged. Our species has been violent, territorial and merciless since its beginnings and has used religious differences to justify that behavior.
Religious nutters are notoriously selective about what they hear and what they choose to believe. It was only a few years ago that there was a big uproar here when students in some of the high schools in the Catholic school system tried to form a club that they called “the gay-straight alliance”, its idea being to normalize gays and foster their acceptance into the mainstream. The was motivated by gays having been ostracized from the school community and in one or two cases actually driven to suicide. The school board condemned the organization and prohibited it. A Catholic bishop wrote a letter to the editor raining down fire and brimstone on the whole idea, because teh gays apparently are the spawn of Satan. All this in a notably progressive society that had been one of the first to legalize same-sex marriage.
I don’t think a comment from the Pope is going to make the slightest difference to these sorts of zealots.
That said, relatively speaking, I have a lot of respect for Francis’s relatively progressive views. But I wouldn’t expect it to move the needle much in the overall Catholic culture, at least in the short term.
Catholics consider themselves Christian, but not every Christian considers Catholics Christian. I grew up in a fundamentalist church, where we were taught pretty explicitly that Catholics are not Christians. I don’t think Catholics have much moral authority over non-Catholics.
He seems like a reasonably good guy - at least as Popes go. But the OP title reminded me that I had recently seen something in the news about the church changing their process for declaring saints. Hard to believe any people still take that sorta thing seriously.
That’s a stretch. Come back to me when the church has liquidated its billions and given it to the poor, given complete equality to women, promoted condom use in Africa to save millions of lives and actively passed every scrap of info it has on every single case of child rape by paedophile priests.
As it stands the church is morally repugnant, at best. The current pope is doing literally the bare minimum.