September 19th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays
By Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) - Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.
In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.
Moreover, if the church fails to find a "new balance" between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will "fall like a house of cards."
The interview, released by Jesuit magazines in several different languages and 16 countries on Thursday, offers perhaps the most expansive and in-depth view of Francis' vision for the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope's comments don't break with Catholic doctrine or policy, but instead show a shift in approach, moving from censure to engagement.
Elected in March with the expectation that he would try to reform the Vatican, an institution that many observers say is riven by corruption and turf wars, Francis said his first mission is to change the church's "attitude."
"The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things," the pope said, "in small-minded rules."
"The people of God want pastors," Francis continued, "not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."
MORE ON CNN: New interview shows why the pope is so beloved
The interview was conducted by the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal based in Rome, over three meetings this August at Francis' apartment in Rome.
The pope approved the transcript in Italian, according to America magazine, a Jesuit journal based in New York that initiated the interview and supervised its translation into English.
Advance copies of the interview were provided to several news organizations, including CNN.
Jesuits from around the world submitted questions to Spadaro. Francis answered them with the frankness that has become a hallmark of his young papacy.
To begin the interview, Spadoro bluntly asks, "Who is Jorge Mario Bergolio?" - Francis's name before he was elected pope.
"I am a sinner," the pope answers. "This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”
The pope didn't mention any particular sins, and Catholic theology holds that all humans are sinners, a consequence of Adam and Eve's original transgression. Still, a pope describing himself foremost as "sinner" is striking.
MORE ON CNN: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis
Offering new glimpses of his personal life, Francis said he prays at the dentist's office and felt trapped in the Vatican's traditional papal apartments. (He moved to a smaller one in a nearby building.) He has a taste for tragic artists and Italian films and keeps the will of his beloved grandmother in his prayerbook.
But it was the pope's vision for the church's future - painted in broad strokes - that's sure to rile or inspire Catholics, depending on which side of the church they sit.
Here are some highlights:
In July, Francis said, emphatically, that the "door is closed," on women's ordination, a statement that disappointed many Catholic liberals.
But that doesn't mean the church should consider women secondary or inferior, Francis said. "The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions," he told Spadora.
Francis also called on Catholics to think hard about the function of women in the church.
"Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed," the pope said. "The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role."
When Francis was a bishop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he received letters from gays and lesbians who said they were "socially wounded" by the church, he said.
"But the church does not want to do this," Francis said in the interview.
The pope then recalled his comments in July, when he told the media aboard a flight to Rome, "Who am I to judge" gay people?
MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'
"By saying this, I said what the catechism says," the pope told Spadaro. The catechism, the Catholic Church's book of official doctrine, condemns homosexual acts, but says gays and lesbians "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."
"Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person."
Francis said that someone once asked him if he "approved" of homosexuality.
"I replied with another question," he said. "`Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being."
Abortion, gay marriage and contraception
Some American Catholics grumble that Francis has been largely silent on signature Catholic political issues.
"I’m a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn’t, at least that I’m aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion, and many people have noticed that," Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, said earlier this month.
Francis said that he's aware of the criticism, but he is not going to change.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," he told his Jesuit interviewer. "I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that."
But the pope said the church's teachings on those issue are clear, and he clearly believes in those teachings, so what else is there to say?
"It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," Francis said.
False prophets and quick decisions
Only false prophets claim to have all the answers, Francis said.
"The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt," he said. "You must leave room for the Lord."
But church leaders, including himself, haven't always practiced humility, the pope admitted.
Many of the bad decisions he made while leading Catholics in Argentina came about because of his "authoritarianism and quick manner of making decisions," the pope said.
That won't happen again, Francis said, as he begins to steer the church in a new direction.
He didn't offer an exact course, but he said change will come. Sooner or later.
"Many think that changes and reforms can take place in a short time," he said. "I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. And this is the time of discernment."
About this blog
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.
Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays ... but it can interfere with little boys ...
Now, if only he would stop believing in talking snakes...
In the middle of the 100s AD, out along the south coast of the Black Sea, Glycon was the son of the God Apollo, who: came to Earth through a miraculous birth, was the Earthly manifestation of divinity, came to earth in fulfillment of divine prophecy, gave his chief believer the power of prophecy, gave believers the power to speak in tongues, performed miracles, healed the sick, and raised the dead.
That may be your beliief, but the whole point is believe in God, Allah, what ever you prefer to call the Almighty.
Now, if we can all truely live like we believe and not kill as commanded and make the world a better place to live in, life could be happier.
Twisted teachings and follower of Illuminati who are waiting for Apollo or the devil himself to come in the person of Anti-Christ.
You better repent and read the bible, otherwise you will suffer eternal damnation.
I'm not Catholic but his statement "I was reprimanded for that" for not speaking more about abortion, contraception and gay marriage is very interesting. Is that what he meant or has something been lost in translation? The Pope is the supreme leader of the Catholic church, it would seem that only God could reprimand him. I
figure of speech, perhaps.
Ha, ha. CNN did not give the Pope much press until he came out on the gay issue. Predictable.
I thot the Pope is anfallible... now he's a sinner?!
I think you don't know much about papal infallibility.
They asked about who he was beforehand. LIke all of us, he is a sinner. I think it shows humility and strength. This is a true and compassionate leader. He is making me come back to the Catholic Church.
The principle of infallibility is grossly misunderstood by many in the Church, and most outside of it.
It does not apply to all statements and activity of the pope, but is instead restricted to the rare occassions that it is expressly appealed to in proclamations by the pope. In fact, it's my understanding that it has only been employed several times in the last few decades.
At the end of the day, while Pope Francis may be the principal Bishop of the world's catholics, his position does not shield him from being human with all the weaknesses that is inherent with being human. Notwithstanding criticism to the contrary, the Church has never denied this, and never will.
This pope seems to have a clue, unlike his predecessors. Glad to see he is attempting to usher in the 21st century, it's refreshing.
It would be refreshing if he stopped hiding child molester priests.
could he, like, get some new threads, too?
I'd like to get in on the garage sale when he does.
Remove the oath of celibacy, allow priests to marry, and allow them a stipend that enables them to raise a small family comfortably. The problem of child molestation will go away.
This position has been the common and popular narrative repeated by the much of the media and critics ( usually one and the same ), and offered as the 'silver bullet' solution to this issue. In effect, end celibacy, allow marriage, and the ability to have children ,. . . and child molestation will surely end. The problem is much more complex, and the solution always brought up in the popular narrative does not logically follow.The source of the problem is not one related to celibacy. In fact, there is a significant amount of abuse, going unreported , within families. Furthermore, not to excuse this crime, but to be clear about it, studies have shown that the percentage of priests who who have perpetrated such crimes, is not greater than the portion of other groups or general population. God help us all.
Nothing revolutionary here, just a Pope making a desperate attempt to retain what's left of the congregation. Churches are emptying across the western world. We are just too well educated to believe the lies and accept their intolerance of gays and women. Too little, too late.
Good luck with that
and I am a monkey by descent.
God Bless the Holy Father of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.
Zoroaster was born of a virgin and “immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason.” He was baptized in a river. In his youth he astounded wise men with his wisdom. He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. He began his ministry at age 30. Zoroaster baptized with water, fire and “holy wind.” He cast out demons and restored the sight to a blind man. He taught about heaven and hell, and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse. He had a sacred cup or grail. He was slain. His religion had a eucharist. He was the “Word made flesh.” Zoroaster’s followers expected a “second coming” in the virgin-born Saoshynt or Savior, who is to come in 2341 AD and begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age. Predates Jesus.
I love how atheists throw up these historical arguments, as if the Church hasn't been aware of them since the first century.
But we *have* been aware of them. There are 2000 years' worth of answers to the "new" claims about other faiths expressing similar ideas to Christianity. Some of the most enlightening come from the early Christians themselves, who knew and saw Jesus; remember thousands of people heard him teach and saw him do amazing things over the 3 years of his active ministry. It wasn't just history to them; it was current events.
Those people were aware of previous (and in some cases concurrent) faiths with beliefs in virgin births and such. They saw the events of Jesus' life and death as fulfilling the old stories, which were clearly legendary and had no evidence from actual history, but which they believed God brought into the human mind to inspire mankind in preparation for the real thing. Essentially, to them, the old beliefs of these other faiths were legendary prefigurements of the historical reality of Jesus.
It's the same reasoning that led them to embrace, rather than run from, pagan ceremonial dates and names, why Christmas falls on Saturnalia, why the Vatican is still named after an Etruscan goddess, and Easter (in our Germanic language) after a Norse one. The Church is not, nor has it ever been, afraid of other faiths or cultures. The Church, at its best, embraces and transforms cultures and faiths.
That's why many of us expect so much from Pope Francis - he's clearly trying to get back to the transformative nature of the Catholicism, and we're ready to follow his lead.
‘Some of the most enlightening come from the early Christians themselves, who knew and saw Jesus; remember thousands of people heard him teach and saw him do amazing things over the 3 years of his active ministry. It wasn't just history to them; it was current events.’
No, the claims made in the bible are that such things happened. Huge, huge difference.
‘It's the same reasoning that led them to embrace, rather than run from, pagan ceremonial dates and names, why Christmas falls on Saturnalia, why the Vatican is still named after an Etruscan goddess, and Easter (in our Germanic language) after a Norse one. The Church is not, nor has it ever been, afraid of other faiths or cultures. The Church, at its best, embraces and transforms cultures and faiths.’
That’s has to be the most twisting of revisionist history I have seen tried in a long time.
The reason the church slapped its own festivals over the top of existing ones is because its easier to convert a conquered people if you can tell them they don’t need to change any of their festivals.
‘Embrace’? are you kidding me?
The Catholic Church to the world: "these things are doctrine. They are incontrovertible and unarguable will of god and must be obeyed!"
The Catholic Church behind closed doors: "oh no, these issues are affecting our membership levels and our cash flow!"
The Catholic Church to the world: "hey, we're the church of respect, compassion, and sensitivity ... of course you can do those things. We never said you couldn't!"
Rather be a part of the RCC than the fire and brimstone "born again" nut jobs out to "save" the world. They steal money and brainwash you far worse than any religion on the planet.
Jesus is nothing more than legend. An amalgam of the myths that came before him.
And Apple Bush is really HeavenSent
but whoever she is, she's right.
Sometimes, but you can always tell when AB is in Fake HS mode. It's sort of a BB inside joke, and he always admits it.
Yeah, and the original HeavenSent has been banned from the blogs for a while now. Me, I'm sort of tired of the parodies, but I guess some people still enjoy them. I'm not fond of hharri's(etc.) name-stealing parodies either.
Bill, you don't understand. There is the real HeavenSent (not me) and the Fake HeavenSent (me). I am NOT HeavenSent, I am Fake HeavenSent. Do you get it?
Yes, I get it. Your a name thief who steals someone else's handle to post as a poe and distort the dialogue. You also are incapable of sticking to your own name to stand by positions you hold so you sabotage other's with false flag opportunism.
And you're a pedophile priest apologist, a proven liar and a hypocrite.
Your fake outrage and piety is hilarious.
I certainly do not!
BD and you always cry about Ad Hominem attacks, such hypocrisy. Try and be a good Christian, I know how difficult it must be for a sinner like you, but try.
Jesus died on the cross for your sins and He rose again from the dead. It is your choice to accept His gift of salvation or not. No matter what you believe you cannot change the fact that Jesus was born on earth and became a living sacrifice. There are so many writers who wrote about Him, so many changed lives , so many miracles time after time. Even a few decades of His resurrection, the world was turned upside down because of HIs teachings. The greatest human government at that time was even threatened of His teachings that's why there were so Christian martyrs that gave up their lives and did not renounce their faith. You can believe whatever you want but you cannot stop Jesus from coming back to earth. When He comes you better get ready as that time because ...
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
You cannot change this reality.
Please don't use the word 'reality' when discussing anything related to your faith. Reality implies something tangible, that can be proven. This is just what you believe. The 'reality' is.....you can't prove what you believe anymore than I can prove that what you believe is a huge fairy tale. That's the reality.
You are highly mistaken. When you become a follower of Christ you will see His manifestations in your life. My brother was a professional chemical engineer. He was a Christian at that time and was having lunch in the cafeteria. Then all of sudden one worker was shrieking and speaking in a different voice. Some other workers pulled my brother and asking him to cast out demons may be just to mock him or what. My brother was initially scared and said let me pray by myself first. After the prayer, he asked the lady, who are you? The lady became scared of him and said we are many, we are legions. My brother said that in the Name that is ABOVE ALL NAME, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, you demons come out. Then with the screamed in a loud voice and then became unconscious for a moment. After a minute or so she regained consciousness and asked what had happened to me. My brother came home crying and sharing this to us. His co-workers testified to it and some became Christians. That was the turning point, my brother abandoned his full-time secular career and is now a full-time pastor with no regular income, following the calling of His Lord and Savior and more miracles are still happening. This is just one thing out of so many things I witnessed. How much more our experiences in life wherein God miraculously stopped the vomiting of my 2 kids after a prayer. There are more and more but the most important of all is the moment we accepted Christ as our Lord, that's the best tangible experience we ever had.
If you really want to understand the catholic church, and the spirit behind it, visit be4thefire.com. Check out the Vatican exposed link, and all other videos as your heart desires. Remember, the same spirit that built the Vatican is working through this Pope. Watch the videos, and decide for yourself if the Pope is spreading false doctrine that will lead people into Hell. Perhaps you'll get a sense of just how close we are to the second coming.
This Pope has to bring all people together in time. He has the mission to guide the false religion of the Tribulation when the Abomination of Desolation sits in Isreal. This is just the beginning. Just remember he said a few days ago that you dont even have to believe in God to go to Heaven. Imagine that. His doctrine has a few flaws from the Word of God. Just saying.
Except that's not what he said.
Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
That is not in line with the Word of God.
So BD, do you think the gay lobby in the Vatican got to him and told him to butt out, so to speak?
I am against the catholic church's doctrine 100%. However you are missing what the Pope meant. In the bible, God said that he will forgive those that are ignorant. Asi do not forget what Jesus said in Luke 23;34. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"
So if someone does not believe in God, however, that person is a good person who does good things according to their own conscience, God will not deprive that person from heaven because of their ignorance. God will realize that the person who was ignorant of His existence, still lived a good life with a good heart, and will allow that person to go to heaven.
My Lord, Jesus himself said in John 14:2-6 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
We are sinners so we are in Adam. We know the wages of sin is death. So being in Adam is being destined for death. If we are reborn in Christ we are no longer in Adam. See John above. It is really simple. God is not the author of confusion. He is the God of Love.
No mention of Jesus Christ in this article. I hope he does in the interviews. The Church exists to serve Jesus, not the other way around.
God is Jesus. They are two parts of what is known as the Holy Trinity.
the catholic church serves MAMMON, not jesus.
The Church exists to facilitate a conduit between the mortal and the divine.
For far too long, the Church has served one end of that conduit at the expense of the other. They're paying for it with significantly reduced followers in Europe and North America, and lawsuits that are paying out millions because of their child-molesting priests.
Pope Francis is the first leader in a very long time who has acknowledged that the conduit is broken, and he is working hard to make things right again with his parishioners.
As a person who rejects all forms of human-interpreted divinity, I find the Pope's tone refreshing, and frankly I find your criticism of his efforts to right the wrongs a bit disrespectful. If you think "it's all about Jesus", then you've missed the point of the message.
You know, the one first spoken by Jesus.
you would fit righ in las vegas
You Just gotta Love this Pope !!!
It is so important for All Religions and in particular The Church to start catching up with the real world !!!
The Man is Just Flat Out such a refreshing change for the better !!!
All I can say is Wow.....did someone pour a little drop of enlightenment into the papal wine cup....we need to send a bottle of that to the other big 2 .....maybe a cask ......
If you rad all the articles about pope Francis you will note they uniformly state that he does not counter Catholic teaching or dogma. Where his genius lies is that he has the ability to put Catholic thought into the secular discourse in a way that you can hear it in a way you have not before.
If you are a Christian be careful and be watchful. Not all charismatic and loved by the masses is a true measure of a follower of Jesus, as Lucifer can even disguise himself as angel of light. I believe the key of measure of being a Christian is glorifying the Name of Jesus and believes in the basic teachings that the most important thing is to believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead to give us eternal salvation. As Christians we need to follow the footsteps of the Lord that no matter the world will hate us we will not compromise the truth. As Christians we need to be watchful. We are living at the very edge of time... Jesus is drawing a line between His true followers and the ones that are not His. He is coming very soon and we need to be ready.
Shouldn't you be out on a ledge somewhere?
This message is for all who believe that religion and belief in God is nothing more than believing in a fairy tale...just remember that all fairy tales have a happy ending. It will be the same for those of us who believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, too. This pope is a refreshing change for a denomination that needs it!!
so gullible-you believe he rose from the dead because his four buddies said so? silly-if hundreds witnessed it, many many more would have written about it-VAST majority of the world thinks its silly-you only believe because your parents said so
All fairy tales are fake. Fiction. Made up. As in, only real to the person that chooses to believe it is real. While the Pope seems to be pushing this church in the right direction, the fundamental framework of religion is based in fantasy. End the end, it all means nothing.
'just remember that all fairy tales have a happy ending.'
Have you read any of the original, not prettied up for modern consumption, fairy tales?
The pied piper doesnt hand back the kids, he leads them to a river and drowns them all as punishment.
The original red riding hood has her being eaten by the wolf, there is no saving by a woodsman, after first accidently eating her own grandmother served as dinner.
The little mermaid killed herself when she was rejected.
The queen in snow white is punished by being made to dance herself to death in red hot iron shoes.
Sleeping Beauty is actually r aped while asleep, and has twins, in the original and one of her kids sucks the thorn from her finger, waking her up.
Goldilocks is either killed by the bears or breaks her neck jumping from the window.
The oldest version of cinderella has her killing her stepmother.
Early versions of Frog Prince has him turn back to human only after he was burnt or decapitated.
So they are kind of like religion in that regards, full of nasty little details that are glossed over by today's society and prettied up for mass consumption.