Pope Francis: “[Gay people] should not be discriminated against. They should be respected.”
Last week, Reinhard Marx, a German cardinal of the Catholic Church, said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologize to the LGBT community for the way it has treated them in the past. When asked by a reporter whether he agrees with the Cardinal, Pope Francis said yes. He added that forgiveness should also be asked from women whom the Church has treated very badly in the past and children who have been exploited and forced to work. The Pope also said the church must apologize “for having blessed so many weapons.”
It was during an interview that he gave aboard the Papal plane last Sunday, while returning back to Rome from Armenia, that the Pontiff expressed his views on the abovementioned matters. Responding to the reporter's question on whether the apology should come immediately in the wake of the Orlando massacre, the Pontiff recalled the teachings of the Church that homosexuals should be respected, accompanied pastorally and not be discriminated against.
According to the Pope, the Church's stance on homosexuality is that it is a condition, hence, the homosexual tendencies of a person are not sinful. However, the homosexual acts are. A homosexual person should try to be chaste. It was during his first international trip after becoming the Pope that the Pontiff made his now-famous comment regarding homosexuality: “Who am I to judge?”
Following the same line, Pope Francis asked during the interview, how can anyone judge a homosexual person who has goodwill and seeks God? The traditions and cultures in some countries question homosexuality. The gay lifestyle and demonstrations are very offensive to some people. However, they are not grounds to marginalize or discriminate them.
In Italian, the word “condition” can also mean “situation.” Hence, as a clarification, the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that when the Holy Father said condition, he meant a person in that (homosexual) situation and not a medical condition.
The gay community is certainly going to be pleased with these comments from Pope Francis, as they already hail him as the most merciful Pope towards the gay community in recent history. Conservative Catholics, on the other hand, are not going to be pleased, at all. They are already displeased with the Pope's stance on homosexuality.
During the interview, Pope Francis stressed that there is only one Pope in Vatican when the reporters asked about the rumors floating about the former Pope Benedict still exercising his influence.
Catholics take up Pope Francis's call to apologize to the LGBT community for our collective failures & sins. https://t.co/whz3HAGqLq
— Christopher J. Hale (@chrisjollyhale) June 26, 2016