Pope Francis On Gays: Who Am I To Judge Them?
By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush posted: 07/29/2013 8:01 am EDT | Updated: 07/29/2013 11:34 am EDT Huffington Post
ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT — Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.
His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis was much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.
Francis’ remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil.
He was funny and candid during a news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half. He didn’t dodge a single question, even thanking the journalist who raised allegations reported by an Italian newsmagazine that one of his trusted monsignors was involved in a scandalous gay tryst.
Francis said he investigated and found nothing to back up the allegations.
Francis was asked about Italian media reports suggesting that a group within the church tried to blackmail fellow church officials with evidence of their homosexual activities. Italian media reported this year that the allegations contributed to Benedict’s decision to resign
While stressing Catholic social teaching that calls for homosexuals to be treated with dignity and not marginalized, Francis said it was something else entirely to conspire to use private information for blackmail or to exert pressure.
Francis was responding to reports that a trusted aide was involved in an alleged gay tryst a decade ago. He said he investigated the allegations according to canon law and found nothing to back them up. But he took journalists to task for reporting on the matter, saying the allegations concerned matters of sin, not crimes like sexually abusing children.
And when someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.
“We don’t have the right to not forget,” he said.
“Who am I too judge them” a great question for Christians. For the past 30 years the Republicans have used “homosexuality” as a wedge issue and the Catholic Church was complicit in the persecution of the gay community. Today Pope Francis took the first step in pivoting the Holy Roman Catholic Church back to focusing on social issues, income inequality, hunger, healthcare and the plight of the poor. The comments from the Pope are Biblically rooted and for years have been ignored and overlooked by conservative Christian religions around the world.
Jesus Christ spoke for the poor, sick and disenfranchised. As Christians we are asked to be Christ-like and the Holy Scriptures are clear, we are not to judge each other:
Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;”
Romans 14:1-23 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …
Corinthians 4:1-21 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. ..
John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
Matthew 5:22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire”
Romans 2:1 “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”
John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
One more “wedge” issue has fallen. Again I urge “ALL” atheist, agnostics, progressives, liberals and Democrats to hold the “Party of Christian Values, the GOP” to the tenets of the Holy Scriptures. Take the judgmental wedge issues from them and use the Bible to do it! The Republican time of division is over…
“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him…”