7 reasons why the Pope’s gaffes are OK

Pope Francis keeps making headlines, but not in a way that soothes all Catholics. This week CNN reported that “Pope says Christians should apologize to gay people”, a story which was relayed by NPR as “Pope Francis: Church Should Apologize To Gays And Other Marginalized Groups”.

As usual, this upset a few Catholics who have been muttering that this upstart Argentine Jesuit is selling the family silver. Amongst some malcontents, you might even hear demands for his resignation, so exasperated are they with press reports in which he appears to contradict or weaken traditional Catholic teaching.

And this is just the latest controversy. The long list of surprises that the Pope has sprung on his faithful began in 2013 with his comment in an airborne press conference: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well, who am I to judge them?” Those words have been quoted so often that they have defined his Papacy.

Well, I’m a fan of Pope Francis and I don’t think that there is anything to worry about. Perhaps he should get a new press secretary, but his Catholic critics shouldn’t get their knickers in a knot. Here are seven reasons why.

1. THE POPE IS often badly misreported. Take his recent comment about gays.

We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this [treatment of gays], but we must ask for forgiveness. … I think that the Church not only should apologize … to a gay person whom it offended, but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

He clearly said “we Christians”, meaning us individuals, not the Catholic Church as the teacher of truths revealed by Christ. Doesn’t that make sense? If I have ever slighted a homosexual, I ought to apologise for my lack of charity. But what the Pope did not do and had no intention of doing was apologising for the Catholic view that homosexual acts (not persons) are “intrinsically disordered”.  Continue reading

  • Michael Cook is the editor of BioEdge, a newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet.
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