Catholic Church open to all – but has rules

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is open to everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community, Pope Francis affirms.

The Church has a duty to accompany gay people on a personal path of spirituality, providing that accompaniment is within the framework of the Catholic Church rules, he told reporters on the plane returning to Rome from World Youth Day (WYD) in Portugal.

He made the comment after a reporter reminded him that during WYD he said the Church was open to “everyone, everyone, everyone”.

The reporter challenged the sense of that statement about openness when some Catholics, like women and gay people, did not have the same rights and could not receive some sacraments.

That comment seemed to refer to women not being allowed to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders to become priests of the Catholic Church.

It also referenced same-sex couples not being allowed to contract marriage, which is also a sacrament.

“The Church is open to everyone but there are laws that regulate life inside the church,” Francis explained to the reporter.

“According to the legislation, they cannot partake in (some) sacraments. This does not mean that it is closed. Each person encounters God in their own way inside the Church.”

Ministers in the Catholic Church must accompany everyone with the patience and love of a mother. That includes those who don’t conform to the rules, he explained.

Church law

The Catholic Church teaches that women cannot become priests because Jesus chose only men as his apostles.

Neither does the Church allow same-sex marriage or blessings for same-sex couples. Same-sex attraction is not sinful but same-sex acts are, it teaches.

However, Francis supports civil legislation giving same-sex couples rights in areas such as pensions, health insurance and inheritance.

A welcoming Church for everyone

During one WYD event, Francis said the Church has room for everyone – “including those who make mistakes, who fall or struggle”.

He then led the crowd in a chant of “Todos, todos, todos!” (Everyone, everyone, everyone!).

“Who among us has not made a moral error at some point in their lives?” he asked.

Since the start of his papacy 10 years ago, Francis has consistently tried to make the Catholic Church more welcoming and less condemning.

He has sought to welcome all people, including members of the LGBT community, while not changing Church teachings which urge people with same-sex attraction to be chaste.

While pushing through a series of reforms, Francis has constantly walked a delicate line between appealing to more liberal believers and upsetting conservatives.

Among these reforms, he has given more roles to women, particularly in high-ranking Vatican positions.

Pope rejuvenated

On the plane, the Pope said he was rejuvenated by what he had seen at WYD Portugal.

About 1.5 million people attended his closing Mass at a park in Lisbon on Sunday.

Francis said he was impressed with both the size of the crowds at WYD and their behaviour.

He also told reporters who asked after his health, that he has been well since his surgery for an abdominal hernia in June.


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News category: World.

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