The Pope, the Interview, Rupnik. How Much Confusion and Ambiguity… Philip Lawler. : STILUM CURIAE

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Another month, another papal interview, another wave of confusion. In a lengthy session with the Associated Press, Pope Francis made a number of shocking and/or misleading statements on topics including homosexuality, priestly abuse, Vatican policy towards China, and papal resignations.

In the main AP story , the headline focused on the Pope’s statement: “Being homosexual is not a crime.” Most of the lay media seemed to agree that this was the most newsworthy statement of the interview. But what the Pope said is not news.

Multiple layers of confusion

The Church has never taught that being homosexual—that is, feeling physical attraction to members of the same sex—is wrong. Homosexual acts are morally wrong. Because he does not distinguish between homosexual orientation and homosexual acts, his statement could be interpreted – and undoubtedly has been interpreted – as breaking with the Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts.

Pope Francis seemed to make an appropriate distinction during the interview, but even here his statement was muddled:

It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a pity. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between sin and crime.

The Church teaches that homosexual acts are sinful. Are they crimes? This is a matter for secular governments, not the Church, to decide. It is possible that a grossly immoral act (for example, abortion) is legal in some societies, while a virtuous act (for example, praying in an abortion clinic) can be defined as a crime. The penal code established by a secular government does not change the moral teachings of the Church.


Il Papa, l’Intervista, Rupnik. Quanta Confusione e Ambiguità… Philip Lawler. : STILUM CURIAE

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