Gulf Pine Catholic - page 8

Gulf Pine Catholic
July 1, 2016
Christians should apologize for helping to
marginalize gays, pope says
Catholic News Service
FROMARMENIA (CNS) -- Catholics
and other Christians not only must
apologize to the gay community, they
must ask forgiveness of God for ways
they have discriminated against homo-
sexual persons or fostered hostility
toward them, Pope Francis said.
“I think the church not only must
say it is sorry to the gay person it has
offended, but also to the poor, to
exploited women” and anyone whom
the church did not defend when it
could, he told reporters June 26.
Spending close to an hour answer-
ing questions from reporters traveling
with him, Pope Francis was asked to
comment on remarks reportedly made
a few days previously by Cardinal
Reinhard Marx, president of the
German bishops’ conference, that the
Catholic Church must apologize to gay
people for contributing to their marginalization.
At the mention of the massacre in early June at a
gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Pope Francis closed
his eyes as if in pain and shook his head in dismay.
“The church must say it is sorry for not having
behaved as it should many times, many times -- when I
say the ‘church,’ I mean we Christians because the
church is holy; we are the sinners,” the pope said. “We
Christians must say we are sorry.”
Changing what he had said in the past to the plural
“we,” Pope Francis said that a gay person, “who has
good will and is seeking God, who are we to judge
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
is clear, he
said. “They must not be discriminated against. They
must be respected, pastorally accompanied.”
The pope said people have a right to complain about
certain gay-pride demonstrations that purposefully
offend the faith or sensitivities of others, but that is not
what Cardinal Marx was talking about, he said.
Pope Francis said when he was growing up in
Buenos Aires, Argentina, part of a “closed Catholic
culture,” good Catholics would not even enter the
house of a person who was divorced. “The culture has
changed and thanks be to God!”
“We Christians have much to apologize for and not
just in this area,” he said, referring again to its treatment
of homosexual persons. “Ask forgiveness and not just
say we’re sorry. Forgive us, Lord.”
Too often, he said, priests act as lords rather than
fathers, “a priest who clubs people rather than embrac-
es them and is good, consoles.”
Pope Francis insisted there are many good priests in
the world and “many Mother Teresas,” but people often
do not see them because “holiness is modest.”
Like any other community of human beings, the
Catholic Church is made up of “good people and bad
people,” he said. “The grain and the weeds -- Jesus says
the kingdom is that way. We should not be scandalized
by that,” but pray that God makes the wheat grow more
and the weeds less.
Pope Francis also was asked about his agreeing to a
request by the women’s International Union of
Superiors General to set up a commission to study the
historic role of female deacons with a view toward
considering the possibility of instituting such a ministry
Both Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the sis-
ters’ group, and Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have sent
him lists of names of people to serve on the commis-
sion, the pope said. But he has not yet chosen the mem-
As he did at the meeting with the superiors, Pope
Francis told the reporters that his understanding was
that women deacons in the early church assisted bish-
ops with the baptism and anointing of women, but did
not have a role like Catholic deacons do today.
The pope also joked about a presi-
dent who once said that the best way to
bury someone’s request for action was
to name a commission to study it.
Turning serious, though, Pope
Francis insisted the role of women in
the Catholic Church goes well beyond
any offices they hold and he said about
18 months ago he had named a com-
mission of female theologians to dis-
cuss women’s contributions to the life
of the church.
“Women think differently than we
men do,” he said, “and we cannot make
good, sound decisions without listen-
ing to the women.”
During the inflight news confer-
ence, Pope Francis also said:
He believes “the intentions of
Martin Luther” were not wrong in
wanting to reform the church, but
“maybe some of his methods were not
right.” The church in the 1500s, he
said, “was not exactly a model to imi-
He used the word “genocide” to describe the mas-
sacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-18
because that was the word commonly used in his native
Argentina and he had already used it publicly a year
ago. Although he said he knew Turkey objects to use of
the term, “it would have sounded strange” not to use it
in Armenia.
Retired Pope Benedict XVI is a “wise man,” a
valued adviser and a person dedicated to praying for the
entire church, but he can no longer be considered to be
exercising papal ministry. “There is only one pope.”
“Brexit,” the referendum in which the people of
Great Britain voted to leave the European Union,
shows just how much work remains to be done by the
EU in promoting continental unity while respecting the
differences of member countries.
The Great and Holy Council of the world’s
Orthodox churches was an important first step in
Orthodoxy speaking with one voice, even though four
of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches did not
attend the meeting in Crete.
When he travels to Azerbaijan in September, he
will tell the nation’s leaders and people that the
Armenian leaders and people want peace. The two
countries have been in a situation of tension since 1988
over control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly
Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
Pope Francis closes his eyes as he reacts to a question from Cindy Wooden,
News Service
Rome bureau chief, aboard his flight from Yerevan, Armenia, to Rome
June 26. The pope reacted as Wooden mentioned the June 12 shooting that killed 49
at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
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