Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Lk. 12:13
“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 in an interview on his return flight from World Youth Day
Pope Francis made headlines for the response he gave to reporters when asked about homosexuality (see above). What struck me as I saw the various reports about this statement was that this has always been the church’s teaching. There is nothing new in the content here (see CCC 2357-2358).
But what became apparent from the reporting was that it was the style and the openness of the response that struck people. It was clear that Pope Francis meant what he said. He loves and respects our brothers and sisters who are gay.
The Pope took as his starting point love and respect, not judgment. While church doctrine has been consistent, explicitly rooting that teaching in our shared faith in God and our common brotherhood revealed a new dimension to this often misunderstood teaching. The church is not “anti-gay” or opposed to anyone. The church is for every single person.
Like all of us, our brothers and sisters who are gay
“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” (CCC 2358).
My hope is that each of us can have the courage and clarity of Pope Francis in our relationships with our gay brothers and sisters. May all our words, thoughts, and actions be rooted in love and respect.
Lincoln A. Wood