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Why Priest? | October 24, 2014

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The Pope, the Cardinal, and "Gays" - Why Priest?

The Pope, the Cardinal, and “Gays”
Fr. Paul Stein

Three things have happened in the last three days

1. On Monday, during the Pope’s return trip from World Youth Day, he spoke with reporters on the plane and said: "A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will -- well, who am I to judge him?" Read the whole article here in context.

2. On Sunday and Monday, the Sun-Times and Tribune published an open letter from several local politicians who, citing their identity as Catholic, are asking the Cardinal to change his decision to rescind CCHD (Catholic Campaign for Human Development) funding for members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee rights who will not withdraw from the coalition and renounce the coalition’s new position (from May of this year) in support of “’marriage equality’ for same sex partners.” Read the whole article here in context.

3. On Tuesday, the Cardinal released an “Open Response to an Open Letter” both explaining why the funding must be “cut off” and that “it is intellectually and morally dishonest to use the witness of the Church’s concern for the poor as an excuse to attack the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage.” here in context.

What to make of all of it?

The first thing I would encourage everyone to do is to read the original articles and materials, beginning with a more complete text of what the Pope said on the plane instead of the very incomplete, and therefore skewed, report that you find in most news sources.

On the Pope

If you have read the news release at the link I listed above, the first thing that you will notice is that his headline making comment, "a gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will -- well, who am I to judge him?" is in the context of a much larger conversation. It began with a response regarding Msgr. Ricca, who was accused of having being sexually active with another man. The Pope started an investigation that subsequently came back with negative results. After speaking about people searching for sins of a person’s youth, he continued to speak about cases where there have been sins (as distinct from crime of abusing a minor). At this point, he clearly places such sins in the context of repentance and confession. He continued, stating that it is important to

distinguish between a person who is gay and someone who makes a gay lobby…A gay lobby isn't good…A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will -- well, who am I to judge him? …The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society. The problem isn't this (homosexual) orientation -- we must be like brothers and sisters. The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby.

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