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July 29th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

Pope on gays: A shift in tone, not substance

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

(CNN) - Reaction to Pope Francis’ comments about not judging gays has broken along two lines: Either this is a groundbreaking reversal by the head of the Catholic Church, or it’s basically just a guy talking on a plane.

The truth is, it’s neither. What it really amounts to is a significant shift in tone, though not in substance.

Francis made the remark in the course of a free-wheeling, unscripted press conference at the end of his July 22-28 trip to Brazil for the Church’s “World Youth Day.”

Among a wide variety of other points, he was asked about a so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

“When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby,” he said in reply. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized.”

Officially speaking, that’s nothing new.

It’s always been on the books in the Catholic Church that homosexual persons are to be treated with love. The Catechism, the official collection of Catholic doctrine, states that gays should always receive “'respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

The church’s problem is with behavior, not persons.

READ MORE: Pope Francis on gays: `Who am I to judge?'

It’s true that in 2005 the Vatican issued a document saying that men with a predominantly same-sex attraction should not be admitted to seminaries, and therefore should not be ordained priests. However, that policy has been unevenly applied, and in any event it refers to eligibility for the priesthood, not to human dignity.

In terms of perception, however, many gays and lesbians would probably say they don’t always hear a message of respect and compassion from Catholic leaders. Instead, what they often seem to hear is precisely judgment. At that level, Francis is setting a new tone, one of acceptance and welcome, without reversing any doctrinal positions.

There is no indication, for instance, that Francis intends to upend the Church’s opposition to gay marriage. He confirmed the Catholic understanding of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in a recent encyclical letter, the most important form of papal teaching.

The same point – new tone, same teaching – applies to his comments on the plane about women and abortion as well.

He confirmed the ban on women priests, and on the abortion question he said that the teaching of the Church is well known, but that he wants to offer a positive message.

That insight may help explain why, during the first 120 days of his papacy, Francis never actually used the words “abortion” or “gay marriage.”

It’s not that he lacks pro-life convictions; in Brazil, he spontaneously invited two parents who refused to abort a child with a severe brain deformity to join him at a Mass, as a way of congratulating them for their choice.

However, Francis also understands that the Church’s positions on sexual morality are probably the best-known and most-discussed aspect of its teaching, while he wants to lift up other matters – the defense of the poor, outreach to the marginalized and forgotten, and building a “culture of encounter” against what he described in Brazil as a “throw-away” society.

That’s the Francis effect – he’s not changing doctrine, he’s changing perceptions. For a Church that sometimes struggles with an image problem, that alone may count as a revolution.

John L. Allen Jr. is senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and senior Vatican analyst for CNN.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. Saraswati

    What I think they don't get is that most of us would have a lot more respect for them if they'd just shut up on the gay issue rather than pretending to be "compassionate". Expecting people to live without the normal bonds of love is not compassionate, and no number of [supposedly] loveless and se.xless preiests who want everyone else to live the same lonely lives they do is going to convince the modern world it is.

    July 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    hey, have you guys been to christian casual encounters! have one-night stands for jesus!

    Christian Casual Encounters – watch more funny videos

    July 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    This Pope wants to give us his substance but not his essence.

    Jack D. Ripper – I do not avoid women, Mandrake...but I do deny them my essence.
    (Dr. Strangelove)

    July 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bat Guano

      Sounds like a deviated prevert.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  4. Norm W

    CNN – why do you keep denying me my 4th Amendment rights by refusing to post my comments. I did not use any profanity or anything. I abided by your TOS but still you don't post, why? Everything I said was the truth and you know it. Like I said, even the Pope has a Day of Judgment.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      CNN wants to search you or seize evidence against you? That's outrageous, Norm.

      July 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        And the pancake breakfast after is free too.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yet here your post has appeared.

      You have likely used a word fragment that is caught by the naughty word filter.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • Norm W

        Of course that went through, but, nothing from my original post (in great detail) was in this post. So my original thoughts still were not posted. Is that too difficult to understand?

        July 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        As I said, it has nothing to do with your ideas.

        Your post no doubt contained a 'naughty word' like "constitution" which is flagged by the naughty word fragment tit. Worlds like "circumstances" and "vague" are equally naughty according to the filter.

        They can't be used unless you trick the word filter with redundant html tags.

        There is a long list of these word fragments (and CNN does delete the list after it is posted).

        July 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      The 4th amendment has nothing to do with a privately run internet forum. Thank you for playing.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  5. CommonSensed

    Not to worry. Catholic Sharia Law still in place. Don't forget to put money in the offering plate on your way out.

    Thanks a bunch.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • 6th Sense

      FYI if you're that poor you don't need to put anything in the collection it is a donation not a shakedown.

      July 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        This goes here:

        And the pancake breakfast after is free too.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  6. Bill

    Only a discussion of gay issues could elicit such confusing and polarizing comments...

    July 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Lee

      How deep of you Bill, and not overly simplistic at all.

      Do you apply this well-founded logic when you believe in a sky fairy that grants you eternal life after you die and commit to a lifetime of blind worship? Well, do you?
      Is a zombie that rose out of his grave after 3 days? Is he going to take your little soul and let it flows in the cosmos/heavens for all eternity because you believe whatever a couple of Jews wrote down 6,000 years ago without question?

      July 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • AE

        Jesus wasn't a zombie.

        Zombies are the living dead.

        Jesus was alive. One of the first things he said to his disciples: "Do you have any fish to eat?"

        July 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • Lee

          "Jesus was alive. "

          Correct...he WAS alive and then he was executed. He then forcibly resurrected himself after 3 days.
          Like a zombie is resurrected after it dies.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • AE

          Jesus is kind of similar to a zombie.... but not really if you look into it.

          Zombies are the undead. They sort of look like the person they used to be.... but that is about it.

          Christ was raised to eternal life rather than simply back to mortality, meaning that he wouldn’t be able to die again (and therefore isn’t really a zombie).

          Read Romans 6:9

          July 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          if you see zombie jesus - shoot for the head!

          July 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
      • AE

        Christians also don't believe in a sky fairy that grants you eternal life after you die and commit to a lifetime of blind worship.

        Jesus says the kingdom of God is within you.

        He said nothing about a sky fairy.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Lee

          "Jesus says the kingdom of God is within you." Do you even know what that means? He also said the kingdom of heaven was like a mustard seed...the smallest seed (at the time anyway) and grows into the one of the largest plants. Cute analogy, but what does it prove or even mean? Nothing, except random interpretation by Deacons who think they are historians.

          "He said nothing about a sky fairy." There is virtually no difference between the christian God (a supernatural caretaker) and an invisible sky fairy watching over tiny princesses.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • AE

          Deep within every human being lies the kingdom of God.

          In Luke 17:21 a Pharisee asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come –

          Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

          The mustard seed parable was a different story.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • AE

        We don't just believe whatever a couple of Jews wrote down 6,000 years ago without question.

        We have a living God available to us today.

        The Bible points to this God. But the Bible is not this God.

        We are free to ask questions.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
        • Lee

          "We have a living God available to us today."
          Interesting, most Christians believe God is infinite (no end or beginning), so the idea of him being alive (start date) implies he can die....so you're God is mere mortal, bound by the confines of how humans in the early 21st century define "time"?

          "The Bible points to this God. But the Bible is not this God."
          Right...this makes....no sense...at all. Jesus specifically references his "Father", the God of the old testament. He also was Jewish, meaning he believed and practiced their nonsensical culture.

          "We are free to ask questions." Ah, but you're not free from ignorance to actually ask the right questions.

          There, I debunked all your crap =P

          July 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • AE

          How many references to are there to God as "The Father" are there in the Old Testament?

          Not nearly as many as Jesus makes. At all.

          Jesus talks way more about God in the now and in the future than he does of God of the past.

          I don't think you debunked me... you don't know Jesus Christ. You know about him. But to know him is completely different.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • ReligionIsBS

          Lee, for the win! Game. Set. Match.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • AE

          Lee seems to think we worship a God of the past...
          ...no.

          Jesus is named "Immanuel". Which means God is with us.

          Not God was with us. Or God will be with us.

          God is with us.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • ReligionIsBS

          AE, you can write down all the biblical nonsense you want, it doesn change the fact that your god was plagerized from former egyptian sun gods.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Lee

          "Jesus is named "Immanuel". Which means God is with us."
          Um... Jesus' real name is: Yeshua. There is no Arabic nor Jewish letter for 'J'.
          It was literally changed because Greek translators didn't abide by strict rules during translations (they just started translating from different languages rather than the original Hebrew causing the misspelling of some words). The meanings were later attributed to the name Jesus (they were made up by people).

          Come on, these are the basics, people!

          July 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • AE

          "Immanuel (or Emmanuel or Imanu'el, Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל meaning "God is with us") is a symbolic name which appears in chapters 7 and 8 of the Book of Isaiah as part of a prophecy assuring king Ahaz of Judah of God's protection against enemy kings; it is quoted in the Gospel of Matthew as a sign verifying the divine status of Jesus."

          What I was trying to say is Jesus is named "Immanuel".

          Like he is named "Prince of Peace" and "The Good Shepherd".

          July 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • AE

          – ReligionIsBS

          What parts are you talking about that are plagiarized?

          Can you include some references so I can check your claims.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

          July 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Have you fact-checked the bible? Apart from a few people and a few more places, nothing checks out.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • AE

          They always disappear when I ask for sources to back up their claims... 😦

          July 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, There are plenty of similar stories from that region which pre-date the bible. I don't think there is any doubt that the biblical stories, such as the flood, are very similar to the older stories.I can't be bothered to research if actual plagiarism was involved but the writers of the bible surely knew of other ancient myths in the region.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • AE

          That's what I mean. Nobody can back up their claims.

          Most claims I see exist on bizarre atheist websites. When I look at the actual "Egyptian Sun" god myths – none of them say what the bizarre atheist websites claim.

          It is like they just made it up.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • Gisela

        How dare you refer to OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST as a zombie?
        Remember the historical Jesus? Even Josephus talked about him. But you wouldn't know who Josephus was, would you?
        Jesus came to us to teach us about unconditional LOVE. The Pope today came an inch closer to that, but we still have a long long way to go.
        Tell me, can you love your enemies like Jesus asked us to do?

        July 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • ReligionIsBS

          LOL. What a moron. You do know that the josephus writings were proven to be forgeries, right? Funny how none of the 32 known journalists at that time in that area never wrote about him. Probably because he didnt exist. And leave it to a christian to be gullible enough to beleive that getting killed was all part of the plan!

          July 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • sam

          OUTRAGE!!!!

          July 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Alias

      In my experience, it takes a discussion involving religion to generate such confusion and hate.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  7. Thought Purification

    Pope: who am I to judge them?

    does Frances know he is a Pope and he is supposed to take tough stance against abortion, LGBT (to please millions of orthodox)!!!

    July 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Bippy the new lesser to medium level judging squirrel god

      You people cannot even say EXACTLY when life begins, (and don't say "at conception"). You can't define "life begins" in terms of cell biology and DNA replication percentile process, so please be quiet, and stop talking about something you know nothing about.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        You may not realize it Bip but you're attacking someone from your side of the argument. Which actually makes me think you make a good point.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Bippy the new lesser to medium level judging squirrel god

    Just read the things this man said before he was pope. Nothing has changed, or will change.
    Until, or unless the Vatican calls off it's male (of course) attack dog who is stalking the nuns, they can take a flying leap.
    The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, (the US Pedophile Protection Society) is still in place, STILL opposing laws to assist victims, still protecting their own. The Vatican is STILL rotten to the core. We still don't know what was in the report that caused Benny to quit. The Curia is still there, hiring Italian boys.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Alias

      Hold on there Bippy –
      You actually want people who believe in the bible to absorb that much reality all at once?
      And actually start acting morally?
      You should be on wikipedia under 'optimist'!

      July 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Norm W

      I posted something like that and CNN wouldn't even put it up here on the blog. Censorship? Sounds like it to me.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        It's probably the automatic word filter which would not post if, for example you had the word const.itution or ent.itled because it contains t.it

        July 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  9. Authorituh

    Humorous indeed.

    July 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  10. Ted

    That the church shifts its stance at all (which it has done and is still doing) is more proof that its dogma and the god stories it is trying to sell you are 100% man-made. Time to leave the ancient fictions known as Christianity behind.

    July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Didn't even read the tiitle of the article did you Ted?

      July 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • Authorituh

        As if the article states anything of importance. It's all fiction anyway, Billy.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Ted

        Didn't comprehend my post, did you Bill? You must be really fucking stupid. Let me guess, you're a Catholic...

        July 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Colin

          That would be true.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        I always love it when a hater degenerates into name calling and bigotry.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Alias

          Of course you do. You're catholic.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • John

          You can't really be surprised Bill....it's the mark of the new militant atheism.....attack, condemn, judge, and be hypocritical toward all those they disagree with.....as evidenced by the fact that they (of admittedly no faith beyond themselves) are even here on the "Belief" blog always trying to justifiy their lack of belief...... and seem bent on convincing everyone that they are [smarter, more rational, more moral, better critical thinkers, etc.....] than those of faith but it's obvious that they are really trying to convince are themselves....which makes it feel wonderful basking in their hate and disdain

          July 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Bippy the new lesser to medium level judging squirrel god

          Oh right. And all you "believe or you're going to hell" people are not being judgmental, doing the same crap, and haven't been for a thousand years ? Oh please. When you people do it, it's called "evangelization". When atheists do it, its "militant atheism". Turn about s fair play. Too bad. So sad.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • John

          Bippy – if it sounded like ANY of the atheists posting on this blog in ANY story ever made their response or comment out of love or compassion then maybe your words wouldn't ring so hollow....right now the every militant atheist just sound mean, bitter, hypocritical, and full of hate....I agree with you that many people that have claimed to (and may actually be because I can't judge them) be Christian haven't sounded or acted much like Christ in my eyes (including myself sometimes) and for that I apologize.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          john
          "right now the every militant atheist just sound mean, bitter, hypocritical, and full of hate"

          Incorrect. First I am not a militant atheist, whatever that is, but I am also not hypocritical, nor filled with hate, and am not bitter.

          Are you trying to lump everyone in together, judging all for the actions of a few?

          July 30, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Ted

      I always love it when Christians get back some of the hate that they have been inflicting on others for centuries.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • John

        Actually I like it too, Ted.....it let's people who aren't sure what atheism is about see the results of the philosophy

        July 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • rh

          There isn't any "philosophy", John. An atheist doesn't believe in any gods. What is philosophical about that? And why do get offended when someone shows the same level of enmity that has been shown them? Doesn't feel very good, does it?

          July 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Dippy

          John, it's "lets," not "let's." Get with it, man.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        I've been around a while but there aren't many things I've been doing for centuries. I guess ted believes in visiting the sins of the father onto the son.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          And yet you're happy to take credit for what you believe the church has done well for centuries, e.g. create western society (your opinion not mine).

          July 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Joan

          Bill, too funny. Your god would be the one still blaming us for the "sins" of "Adam" and "Eve".

          You Catholics are such hypocritical pigs. Go back to rolling in your own excrement already, since you seem to revel in that.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Uh yeah Joan. I think the irony escaped you on that one.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Russ

        We already know where your head's at, John. We just look down.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  11. Norma Bonvechio

    But the Church is still afraid to let women be priests that will happen when Hell freezes over. Always wanted to live long enough to see a woman become a priests what a dreamer I am....

    July 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why do you think fear has anything to do with it?

      July 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Authorituh

        No one thinks it's because of fear. We all KNOW it's because of fear. They don't want to lose power. So sorry about the factual, logical answer.

        : )

        July 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          If you capitalize KNOW, does that mean you REALLY KNOW it?

          July 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Colin

          Seems a common CHRISTIAN tactic too, Bill 😉

          July 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Doesn't validate a claim either way Colin.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • Joan

          Just makes BILL DEACON look even more STUPID.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I HAVE no IDEA what you MEAN joan

          July 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Alias

      Lets be fair now, It was a woman that convinced Adam to eat that forbidden fruit. Considering all the trouble that one woman caused, are we really ready to put one in charge of anything?

      July 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • Merrillee

        What a load of roadapples.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • AE

      I sometimes visit a church in my city that had a lesbian pastor. The message is not much different from most of the other churches I've been to.

      It was at a church, though. Not The Church.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        I was at a nursing home this weekend. A female preacher was there, giving a service for the elderly who wanted to attend. i thought it was nice and everyone who wanted to got to hear the Gospel. She wasn't a priest.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Alias

          Wouldn't that be blasphemy?

          July 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Russ

          Shoulda stayed there, Bill...

          July 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I was taking communion to a parishioner who is dying of brain cancer. He needed me more than she did.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • AE

          May peace be with that man.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          It is. He is bearing a tremendous witness to those of us who know him. Thank you for you wishes.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          As long as she is ot in church she can preach the god spell all she wants. She just has to stay quiet in church.

          July 30, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      It is not fear, it is in their man-made instruction manual that they claim god had something to do with.
      Corinthians 14:34-35.34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

      What good is a clergy if they aren't supposed to speak?

      July 30, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  12. Angel Moronic

    Ha, Pope knows how to manipulate words ... no surprise there !

    July 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    isn't the Bible the word of god?!?! No mere mortal, even the pope can change the word of god can he?

    July 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Correct

      July 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Alias

      If the bible is the word of god, then god has a multiple personality disorder.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Colin

      Supposedly, yes, and yet it keeps on a-changin...and exists in myriad, contradictory versions. And any one of those versions also is self-contradictory.

      Christianity is entirely myth, at least in regard to the claimed divinity of its multi persona deities. Stolen myth, at that. Bits and pieces "borrowed" from several earlier superstitions. What a crock...

      July 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • AE

      The Bible points to a living God.

      But many human things, like books, change. Language is a big one.

      100 years ago the word "g.ay" had a different meaning than it does today.

      If you learn about the context in which the word was written, you can find a deeper understanding.

      We can still uncover the same truths about ourselves, as Jesus did 2,000 years ago. Even though we may not live in an agricultural community like he did.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
      • ReligionIsBS

        Your god sounds like an idiot if he didnt know that language would be a barrier for his message.

        July 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  14. Al

    Absoluelty amazing. Four hours after the Pope makes a comment, someone comes along to tell us what the Pope really said. It's like someone trying to explain a verse in the Bible. Fortunately in this situation the author/speaker is still alive. If you want clarification, just ask.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Some of us understood him the first time

      July 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  15. Tutuvabene

    The priesthood has to be celebate anyway, so it doesn't matter whether a priest is straight or gay, which sounds like what Francis is saying. An intimate relationship with someone else is still forbidden.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      For unmarried persons, yes.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • Alias

        Catholic priests have not been allowed to mary for something like 1,000 years.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Latin Catholic priests cannot marry; most Eastern Catholic priests can. Both are part of the church.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • Authorituh

        Celibacy. More unnatural than the man on man action the catholic money laundering corporation seems to hate so much.

        July 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Colin

          and participate in...

          July 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  16. Chris

    Priests can lust after men and/or women but, as long as they maintain celibacy it's OK. The sin in gays are gay "coupling" and not being happy with what God gave you. Being gay is still sinful.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Do you honestly believe that being gay is wrong?

      July 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      you poor, simple individual ...

      July 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Merrillee

      According to doctrine, just the act of being born is sinful.
      Therefore, I reject the silly doctrine that would make an innocent baby a sinner, and I reject the doctrine that makes gender preference somehow sinful. Control your own life, and stop trying to impose your view via religion.

      July 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Answer

        They won't allow themselves the luxury of letting go with their control.. it gives them the justifications through their religion to do whatever they want. Asking them to stop with their controlling ways is akin to killing them.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      ANY fornication, be it hetero or ho/mo, is a sin.
      Going against that which is natural also displeases God – since He made certain people naturally attracted to their same gender, it stands to reason that they should be granted the same respite as straight folk – IE: marriage.
      As Paul pointed out, it is better to be celibate your entire life, but go ahead and get married if you can't control your loins.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  17. Rhaj - Haja Raza

    So... if I understand, the other day, Catholics are told to be open to (or to accept) the Atheists, and now the Gay (and LBT I assume) : we are all human.

    But on the other hand, they are told to "evangelize"...

    that's fair enough... if they accept that the Atheist can also "unevangelize"..

    July 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What the heck is "unevangelize" supposed to mean?

      July 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • Rhaj - Haja Raza

        undo evangelization 🙂
        Can we?

        July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I still have no idea what you are trying to say.

        July 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  18. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Ah, the old love the sinner, hate the sin gambit.

    In other words, attendance is down so we will coddle anyone we need to to make more money.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Agreed, but minus the commentary on "hate the sin". Of course it remains implied, but not stating it in the same breath is significant don't you think?

      July 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Russ

        @ GOP: flip the scenario, then.
        if he were talking about Ariel Castro, wouldn't you be pretty adamant that he retain the "hate the sin" part?

        'love' that insists on ignoring justice is not love.
        real love costs (and it would cost a lot to really show love to Ariel Castro right now).
        in that regard, Honey Badger's 'gambit' must have both sides (mercy & justice) to be love.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Converse Back At You

          Desperation still won't bring your straw man to life, Russ. Keep on grasping.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • Alias

          I don't know if Castro is a fair example.
          By my understanding, he committed rape, so he has to pay the father of each of those girls $20 and marry them.
          Unless you want to call it fornication, in which case you should love and forgive all four of them while you stone them to death.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Russ,

          "if he were talking about Ariel Castro, wouldn't you be pretty adamant that he retain the "hate the sin" part?

          I'm pretty sure the Pope would preach forgiveness regarding Castro.

          Punishment for crimes against members of our society is the instrument of a secular inst!tution. It should have nothing to do with faith.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • Russ

          @ converse: it's not a straw man to point out that when we all agree something is immoral, we believe that thing should be hated.

          @ alias: thank you for demonstrating my point. your two examples give shallow alternatives – neither of which actually do what they claim to do. the first one is not justice, and the second one is not real mercy. but together, they do point to the cross – where we are clearly told:
          1) it's worse than we want to admit (i deserve that death)
          2) it's better than we ever dared to hope (he was willing to take my place)

          @ GOP: are you claiming that the Pope would believe all the prisons should be emptied? that would be the logical consequence of the position you are taking. i'd think we'd both agree that's not an accurate representation of the sort of forgiveness he is offering (spiritual, not temporal).

          while the cross of Christ is certainly powerful enough to bring forgiveness even for what Castro has done, at no point does the Bible claim it qualitatively & categorically removes *all* the practical consequences for our actions *in this life.*

          July 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It's what they've been saying for years and is exactly the same line the Mormons and others have been coming out with. No one is falling for it as it only sounds good to a few odd straight folk so wrapped up in religion they can't see the real world.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I agree that nothing in principle has changed. It is as the t!tle of the article says – "a shift in tone, not substance".

        July 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP & Saraswati: do you understand the claim you are making? you believe the substance of the Christian faith needs to change here. in its stead, you would offer... a rival religion? your own set of ethics as superior?

          how is that not the very same authoritarian move you for which you are expressing disdain?

          July 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Russ,

          our consensus morality has moved on. The majority of Americans no longer see gay marriage as morally wrong. I don't offer this as 'superior' by edict, our society, one that you and I are both part of, has moved on.

          July 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP: so majority makes right? i'm glad MLK & Wilberforce disagreed.

          July 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.