‘Gay lobby’ story obscured Pope’s views on tensions

A report that Pope Francis told Latin American religious about a “gay lobby” in the Vatican has overshadowed other remarks the Pope made to the group about points of tension in the Church between religious orders and the hierarchy.

The report of what the Pope told leaders of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Men and Women Religious was originally published on a website in Chile and has not been denied by anyone who was there.

A subsequent statement from the confederation described the leaked account of the meeting as a “summary based on the memories of the participants” and a reliable record of the Pope’s “general meaning”, though not a verbatim transcript.

A Catholic News Service report said Pope Francis urged his fellow Latin American religious to “put all your commitment into dialogue with the bishops,” even though “there are some [bishops] who have another idea of communion” from that held by many religious.

He also counselled his visitors to take a constructive attitude toward criticism and discipline from the Vatican.

“Maybe you will get a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine [of the Faith] saying that you said this or that,” the Pope reportedly said. “But don’t worry. Explain what you have to explain, but keep going.”

While affirming the reality of error and the hierarchy’s responsibility to correct it, his emphasis was on forgiveness.

“You are going to make mistakes, you are going to put your foot in it. That happens!” he said. “I prefer a Church that makes mistakes because it is doing something to one that sickens because it stays shut in.”

Nevertheless, Pope Francis did not hesitate to classify certain trends in the contemporary Church as manifestations of ancient heresies. As an example of Gnosticism, he cited the case of an unnamed superior general of a congregation of women religious who encouraged members to “take a spiritual bath in the cosmos” in lieu of morning prayer.

Such expressions of “pantheism” worry him, the Pope is quoted as saying, “because they skip the Incarnation!”


Catholic News Service

Catholic News Agency

Image: Catholic News Agency

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