In latest interview, Pope refuses to condemn homosexual “marriages”

In the latest papal interview on February 18, onboard a plane with journalists on the way back to Italy from Mexico, Pope Francis refused to outrightly condemn homosexual “marriages”, saying that the Pope “doesn’t get mixed up in Italian politics”.

A reporter asked the pope for his position on the movement in Italy for the recognition of civil unions for homosexual couples and their rights for adoption of stepchildren, where a bill legalizing is now moving through parliament.  Pope Francis refused to comment, responding:

First of all, I don’t know how things stand in the thinking of the Italian parliament. The Pope doesn’t get mixed up in Italian politics. At the first meeting I had with the (Italian) bishops in May 2013, one of the three things I said was: with the Italian government you’re on your own. Because the pope is for everybody and he can’t insert himself in the specific internal politics of a country. This is not the role of the pope, right?

pope_kisses_hand_of_homosexual_activist_priest

On May 6, 2014, Pope Francis caused controversy when he concelebrated Mass and kissed the hand (photo above) of Fr. Michelle de Paolis – co-founder of the homosexualist activist organization Ageddo Fogia. Fr. de Paolis is a well-known dissenter from the Catholic Faith.  In a book that he wrote, he said: “Homosexual love is a gift from God no less than heterosexual.”

The next questioner mentioned to him the 2003 document of Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which declares: “When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”

 

In response, Francis pleaded a lack of memory: “I don’t remember that document well…” Instead, he responded that “a Catholic parliamentarian must vote according to a well-formed conscience, this I would say, only this, and I speak of a well formed conscience, not what I think or want.”

“Clear and Emphatic Opposition is a Duty”

The same document prepared by then Cardinal Ratzinger and approved by St. John Paul II likewise emphasised that “clear and emphatic opposition is a duty” in the case of legalisation of same sex unions:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

Does the Pope Dabble in Politics?

In reality, the pope has been quite active in the global political scene.  He is a strong advocate of the United Nations’ global climate change agenda – writing an encyclical about global warming, as well hosting a first-ever Vatican light show to support the climate change agenda.

He was also very activate in the warming of relations between communist Cuba and the United States, with Cuban dictator Raul Castro publicly thanking the pope for his role in brokering the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States.

More recently, in the same interview where he refused to outrightly condemn the Italian government’s push to legalise homosexual marriages, Pope Francis caused controversy in the American political scene when he suggested that presidential candidate Donald Trump is “not a Christian” because of his plan to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.  Trump fired, back, saying “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. No leader, especially a religious leader, has the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

Faithful Catholics can only hope – and pray – that the Holy Father, active and outspoken in the global political scene, will in the future take a stronger stand and condemn homosexual marriages and governments’ efforts to legalise these “unions”.

Saving the Planet – or Saving Souls?

How many priests today do we know of who spend 13 to 17 hours daily in the confessional?  Perhaps none.  Many will say that is an impractical way of spending time as a priest, given the many challenges he has to face in managing his parish: attending meetings, creating programs for the less privileged, and so many other matters.

There was one priest who did spend 13 to 17 hours daily in the confessional, and he happens to be the patron saint of all priests: St. John Mary Vianney. As parish priest of Ars, a small village in France, his purpose was single-minded: to convert sinners and to save souls.   He spent his days in prayer, teaching Catechism, and hearing confessions. He did not save his parishioners from material poverty.  He did not give them jobs.  He did not encourage them to “dialogue” with other religions.  He did not organise health caravans, job fairs, tree planting projects, walk for a cause projects, and many other activities that we see many priests of today get busy with.  He did not indirectly encourage people to remain in their sins by over-emphasising God’s mercy without the need for repentance. In fact, in his homilies, he thundered against the prevalent vices of the village of Ars: blasphemies, cursing, profanation of Sundays, dances and gatherings at taverns, immodest songs and conversations.

The greatest miracle of Ars was not the material transformation of the village – it was the spiritual transformation of its people under its pastor.   The life of St. John Vianney is the story of a humble and holy man who succeeded in the only measure of success that matters for a priest: converting thousands of sinners.

A New Emphasis

Fast forward to today, and we see the priorities of the clergy seemingly heading in a different direction: seemingly for the good of people as well, but quite contrary to the essence of the priesthood.  The priorities of the Church, as emphasised by the highest authorities, are to help save the planet, help save the poor, solve solve youth unemployment, reach out to non-Catholic brethren in dialogue.

In fact, in an interview with the atheist editor of La Republicca, a rabidly anti-Catholic publication in Italy, Pope Francis said that “the most serious evils currently afflicting the world are unemployment among the young and the solitude in which the elderly are left. This, in my opinion, is the most urgent problem facing the Church”.

The Pope has also suggested that we tone down talk regarding defence of human life: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible…it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

Saving the planet is likewise a major priority: in fact, the first encyclical, Laudate Si, is about the environment.  On December 8, 2015, instead of a celebration of the Immaculate Conception, the focus was on the environment, with a Vatican-sponsored environmental light show in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Inter religious dialogue is another major point of emphasis.  In fact, in January, the Pope released a prayer video that has since become quite controversial. At the beginning of the video, a minute-and-a-half long, the Pope cites the fact that the majority of the earth’s inhabitants profess some sort of religious belief. This, he said, “should lead to a dialogue among religions. We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently.” The video then goes on to feature representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, who proclaim their respective beliefs in God, Jesus Christ, Allah and Buddha: “I have confidence in Buddha”, a female lama announces; “I believe in God”, a rabbi affirms; “I believe in Jesus Christ”, a priest states; “I believe in Allah”,  Later on, after the Pope affirms that all, regardless of their religious profession, are children of God, the faith leaders state their common belief in love.

Our Questions

Amid all these major changes in direction, there are many questions that priests and bishops need to ask themselves.  Is saving the planet more important than saving souls?  Is material poverty truly the greatest evil – or is it spiritual poverty?  We remember the story of Lazarus and the poor man – the materially poor man, who ate crumbs from Lazarus’ rich table, gained the greatest treasure anyone could gain: heaven.

Is inter religious dialogue more important than the God-given mandate to “Go out and proclaim the Gospel to all the nations…”?  Didn’t Jesus say, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This Lent, we invite our readers, especially the clergy, to go back to the basics of the priesthood and spiritual life in general:  Saving souls is the primary goal, converting sinners is the number 1 mission. As Jesus said: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?” We end with the beautiful words of Archbishop Schneider: “The priesthood is concerned not with temporal things, but with eternal things. It is the same with the Church. The Church is not concerned with climate change, or ecology. That is the job of the government! The Church is concerned with eternal things.”