Who is the Pope to judge?

CoverSnip2I hope all you gay people out there are feeling mighty grateful to Pope Francis who this week had this to say about you:

“They say they exist. If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” he added. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society.”

His words were widely reported as reflecting a new found tolerance of gay people by the Catholic church, the world’s largest cult. Nonsense; what his words reflect is the same old intolerance, this time with a smile on its face. The Pope’s words are disingenuous (“they say they exist”), condescending and conditional (‘happy to have you around  – but only so long as you’re interested in the same superstition as me’).

What the media generally failed to report was that Frankie also ‘reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are a sin.’ Nor did most of it find it necessary to mention that ‘the official position of the Catholic Church on the issue is that while homosexual desires or attractions are not in themselves sinful, the physical acts are.’

This view, which is held by other Christians too, that gay people should forego all sexual fulfilment in their lives and deny themselves loving relationships, simply because these would, of necessity, be with a person of the same sex is not treating people as Christians themselves would like to be treated (Matthew 7.12). Would Christians be happy with an ‘acceptance’ that allowed them to believe whatever they wanted, provided they didn’t act upon it – church attendance, worship, hymn singing, prayer meetings and overt expressions of faith all disallowed?

I’m guessing not. And it is far more extreme to deny individuals something as integral to their identity as their sexuality, than it is to suppress the expression of a set of spurious beliefs.

What the Pope was actually trotting out yesterday was the same old ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ line. And there’s nothing remotely loving – or even biblical – about that. We are our behaviour, all of us, and are entitled to be loved (or not) for what we are, not in spite of it. If you can’t do that for another person, or group of people, then you’re not demonstrating love, whatever else you may be doing.

So, thanks Frankie, but no thanks. Until the Church you lead finds it in its heart to demonstrate real, unconditional love, your ‘tolerance’ is nothing more than an insulting irrelevance.

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