As the new ‘people’s pope’, Francis’ recent statements on homosexuality seem more concerned with shining the light of Jesus on persons with same-gender attraction (be they priests or seekers) rather than on making moral judgments about homosexuality. His good intentions could mislead us.
Take for example, his offhanded use of the English term ‘gay.’ Here he goes beyond affirming the dignity of persons with certain tendencies; he unintentionally affirms an identity which in our age has become the rallying point for an artificial ‘ethnos’, a people group, whose misbegotten activism has redefined marriage throughout the world.
To be fair, Francis decries any kind of ‘lobby’ with which gays bully their way into power and privilege. Here he references the alleged ‘gay’ block in the Vatican administration. The good pope wants to keep homosexuality an individual affair, and thus subject to the will of the person to choose Christ (or not).
Yet such an honorable intention fails to recognize the irrational and demonic corporate power committed to afflicting a generation with gender disintegration. To benignly ‘not judge’ that corporate power could mean a lack of pastoral clarity that subjects those afflicted with SSA to a nauseous blend of worshipping both God and Baal.
Priests with SSA need that pastoral clarity above all else. Francis’ claim to not ‘judge’ gay priests alarms me. Though I agree that the Church should not exclude priestly candidates on the basis of SSA, these ones need special care to ensure that they are sufficiently well-integrated to pastor others with clean hearts and hands. In the last month alone, I have counseled two vulnerable men who were objects of priests with SSA. Instead of wise counsel, they received spiritual abuse.
I wondered as I read the Pope’s comments: Does he know anyone who has actually repented of the ‘gay self’ and behavior, and who has given all to Jesus in order to live a pure life?
I just came from the annual Courage Conference where men and women with SSA gathered to urge one another onward to live chaste, integrated lives. (Courage is the only official ministry of its kind in the Catholic Church.) These men and women know both the afflicting nature of homosexuality and the sweet rigor of walking His way; their families have learned to love them courageously by refusing to name them as ‘gay’ but rather as beloved family members who need to repent unto the pure life Jesus offers. At Courage, I witnessed a renewed dignity born of sacramental grace and repentance.
These are the saints of the Church whom the Pope has a responsibility to shepherd with wise commentary. I fear he did not represent well the faithful in his words. His desire to provide a fresh open face for seekers is welcomed as long as he grounds it in the call of costly grace.
Such grounding is in part the responsibility of those of us who come out of SSA. Instead of slamming the Pope we must seek to inform him and any church leader with the witness of amazing grace. That is not the grace that threatens to become cheap by accommodating deadly mixtures of perverse sensuality and spirituality. That is the grace seasoned with virtue, a grace that is ours at the cost of Jesus’ life. It cost us our old lives too but those losses mean nothing in light of our gain, who is Christ.
‘Shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.’ (Phil. 2: 15)