I first saw this on JM’s blog and I wanted to make a few comments.
“If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”
The question was asked in the context of a rumor that there is a sizable (and sexually active) gay lobby at the Vatican that has a strong influence over policy. The words from the Pope are seemingly meant to find a middle path between condoning homosexuality and offending gays within the church of Rome. Rome’s official teaching regarding homosexuality is (Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part III – Life in Christ):
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
There are several errors in Rome’s teaching on homosexuality. Consider below what God says to the church at Rome (Romans 1:21-32) in comparison to what the Bishop of Rome teaches today:
- It claims that homosexuality is a psychological issue. The Word of God teaches that homosexuality is a sin issue. It is the result of God giving reprobate sinners “up unto vile affections” (Rom 1:26)
- It subtly claims that Scripture condemns homosexual “acts” (implying that Scripture does not condemn perverted desires). Scripture condemns both homosexual acts AND all forms of perverted lust – “God also gave them [reprobate] up to …the lusts of their own hearts”, “God gave them up unto vile affections”, “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another”, etc.
- It strongly implies that it is not the heart condition, but the physical actions that matter to God – contrary to our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 5:27-28
- It teaches that homosexuality is a trial of faith, rather than God’s judgement against a sinful generation
- It teaches that reprobate sinners can be ‘Christians’, contrary to the Scripture’s teaching that a regenerate person is free from sin and is a new creature (Rom 6:6-7, 18, 22, 2 Cor 5:17)
- It teaches that an unregenerate person can obey God’s prescribed will contrary to Scripture’s teaching that unconverted cannot please God (Rom 8:8)
- It teaches that reprobates can attain “Christian perfection” through the means of sacramental grace contrary to the Bible’s teaching that we must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3) and sanctified by the work of the Spirit (not fleshly works) – a work completed by the Spirit in death (Phil 3:20-21, 1 Jn 1:8, Heb 12:23, etc.)