“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this, but that they must be integrated into society.”
“The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers,” Francis continued. “The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem.”
The pope had also been asked about the alleged homosexual lobby in the Vatican, which he denied. He stated that he had investigated the claim and found it to be unsubstantiated.
“There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card,” he joked. “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby.”
When reporters inquired about the issue of divorce and remarriage, the pope said that the Roman Catholic Church should be more merciful regarding the issue.
“This theme always comes up. … I believe this is a time of mercy, a change of epoch. It’s a kairos moment for mercy,” he replied. “In terms of communion for those who have divorced and remarried, it has to be seen within the larger pastoral context of marriage.”
“When the council of eight cardinals meets Oct. 1-3, one of the things they’ll consider is how to move forward with the pastoral care of marriage,” Francis continued. “Also, just 15 days ago or so, I met the secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and maybe it will also focus on the pastoral care of marriage. It’s complicated.”
While Francis’ comments refusing to “judge” homosexuality were seen as conciliatory in tone to some — though retaining the Church’s belief that sexual activity between those of the same gender is sinful — others assert that his statements now present serious problems.
Mike Gendron of Proclaming the Gospel Ministries, a former Roman Catholic, told Christian News Network that Francis’ words are at odds with both Scripture and the statements of the previous pope, Benedict XVI–and that popes are to be infallible according to Roman Catholic doctrine.
“There are two issues here: One is that the word of God has already judged homosexuality, but secondly, you’ve got a papal infallibility [conflict],” he explained. “You’ve got two popes now disagreeing on what is definitely an issue of faith and morals. One pope says that homosexual men should be barred [from the priesthood], and now the new pope says that he is not to judge gays as long as they’re seeking God. So, it’s a contradiction and infallibility is at stake here.”
Gendron said that by failing to outline what the Scriptures state about homosexuality, Francis is causing eternal harm to the souls of men.
“The pope is doing homosexual men a disservice by in essence giving them a license to continue in their sin,” he explained. “The only way to seek the Lord if you’re gay is to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is not just homosexuals; anyone who is sexually immoral is living contrary to sound Biblical teaching.”
“Those people who do not repent and trust Jesus to not only save them from the punishment of sin, but also from the power of sin — the power of homosexuality — [will perish],” Gendron continued. “The pope should be calling these people to repentance. That’s their only hope.”