Pope Francis on Gays: Who am I to judge?

In a recent informal interview on an airplane, Pope Francis said in regard to homosexuals, “A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will—well, who am I to judge him?” He went on to say that homosexuals are “our brothers and sisters” who “should not be marginalized.”

“Ah, but what did he REALLY mean?” news media speculates. As news media always does, it seeks some kind of expert to explain. In Der Spiegel, a theologian griped about the positive press the Pope got for his remarks, “It is incredibly naïve to liken it to a dam bursting. What are gays or lesbians to think when someone tells them: I don’t want you to be discriminated against, but you are not allowed to live out your “tendency” anyway? According to doctrine, the homosexual act is still a sin. Here lies the central problem and the reason I feel further marginalized as a Catholic.”

Since I am more like a little child than a theologian, they should have asked me. Didn’t Jesus say, “Unless you change and become like a little child, you can’t even see the kingdom of God?”

I attended Catholic high school where we often had long discussions on morality that are desperately lacking in the secular world. Is it OK to steal bread if you’re starving? What if you do a good thing for a bad motive? Is war ever justified? If so, when? Good stuff.

“Sin”-oh, how we hate that word. It implies that maybe we are not perfect. Maybe we need to examine ourselves and change our behavior. The truth is, of course, that we are not and we do, but we so resent anyone making us face this truth. “Sin” means to miss the mark-what mark? The best, the ideal-we miss it. Then what? We fetch our arrow and take another shot. What’s the alternative? Deny that there is a target? Deny that we missed it?

So no, Pope Francis is not changing the Church stance on homosexual sex. Oh, how medieval! But, oh, what hypocrites we are! It was only in the 1970s that homosexuality was removed from the DSM as a sexual perversion that needed fixing. That was science, not religion saying that.

Now we are all cool and enlightened and just like the guy who quits smoking, we look down our nose on anyone who is still smoking.

I once worked in a gay establishment and I was the only straight person there. My opinion of homosexuality was: it is none of my business. I like people and gay people are people first of all. So they have intrinsic value and Jesus loves them and if they, like anyone else I meet, are doing something wrong-and they are, because they are human-then who am I to judge them? I am also doing wrong things.

But that thing should re-defined, you say. Now that we are enlightened, it should be declared to be a good thing. US society has changed dramatically over the past 40 years on this issue and now mostly declares homosexuality to be good-its all about people loving each other, it should be celebrated, gay people should be proud. This goes beyond asking for equal rights or non-discrimination. Don’t just tolerate me-love me and tell me I am good.

I see no point in being proud of having been born a certain way. I cannot change who I am attracted to and I cannot imagine how anyone could. What you do with your sex life is none of my business and no, I do not want to hear the details of your dates.

As it turned out, I came to love the gay guys I worked with. I would be very angry if anyone tried to hurt them. They were sometimes kind, rude, stupid, brilliant, nasty and profound-just like all other people. Were they committing sin? No doubt-even if they were sexually celibate. We are so sex-obsessed we forget what the sin of Sodom was “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel chapter 16 verse 49)

WHAT? Yup, indifference to the poor is the real “sodomy.” But whatever their sin was; it was not for me to judge. My own sin is my business and that’s what Pope Francis meant.

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