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.
Can you believe that ass Bill Deacon accused me of stealing names?
No, it is Bill. Are you deaf?
The False Pope has arrived! he's changing the church and leading the sheep into hell with him, next watch out for the Anticrist whom he will endorsed.
The church has been changing constantly since its inception, much like our society as a whole.
Deal with it.
The sky is falling! I'm really serious this time!
Believe that you have that wrong. Don't believe that he will be endorsing anyone rather you might be seeing the Obama's and Putin's endorsing him. Remember, the AntiChrist will be loved by all the world. People will be amazed of this person who will rise from the city of seven hills. He will be in power for three and a half years prior to forging a great Peace Plan for the Middle East just before it's destruction. Then will appear to have a mortal head wound just prior to another 3 and a half years of tribulation. Believe the Mark of the Beast that we all will be required will be the Papal Seal. It's just starting!
If anyone needs publicity just come out that you are gay, or support gay rights and instantly you will get press. CNN jumped all over this. News and pop culture are become very predictable these days.
I agree BOB!
I'm with ya there Bob.
Get out of here.
Come out a a bigot and get your press also
Biggots Unite! Wait they already have...It's call church!
Francis said his first mission is to change the church's "att.itude."
"The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things," the pope said, "in small-minded rules."
I have to say that I like this guy. He is making a good start.
He's a criminal.. as the cardinals and bishops for denying children help through cover ups..
As if we need this nasty old pedo to admit that he is a sinner.
The pope didn't mention any particular sins,
He told the truth, because every catholic is born with Original sin.
Why should anyone be surprised?
My mother just popped me out, I took a breath of air
but I have already sinned ?
Being a sinner basically means that we miss the mark of perfection, not just that we did something wrong.
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.
FYI – the original sin is in your DNA, so yes, you were born with it. Read Genesis.
I've read Genesis and it is blatant nonsense.
This Pope needs to pray before anything. He is going against all that I stand for in the bible. Please don't take my word look at 1 Corinthians Chapter 6. I was the worst sinner but now have change, this is coming from somebody that was in total darkness and did very bad things. But now God has change me and raise a family and been married for almost 30 years. (was a gang member, street fightter, Rob people, beat and mistreat others and many more bad stuff that I'm not proud of it so I will not say. But one step from going to San Quentin like some of my friends. And that is all I will say...... But now God yes God is my God.
Hey buddy! Glad that worked out for you. Unfortunate that you got in the game late, but it's all good. Personally, I've been worshiping Zeus for the past 15 years. And so far, everything's been peachy. I've got a six-figure job, BMW, and a hot wife that makes me breakfast every morning. So, just throwing that out there just in case things ever start to get bad for you again.
When you don't repent from your sins and start believing Jesus, you are just a misery on your death bed and in your eternal destination and for sure you will see zeus or satan.
'was a gang member, street fightter, Rob people, beat and mistreat others and many more bad stuff that I'm not proud of it so I will not say'
You know what? I never was. Never been in trouble with the law. I dont do drugs, heck I have never even smoked a cigarette, I dont drink, nothing. Also never felt the need to cry out to some deity to come save me either.
Congrats on your great fortune so far. Hopefully, it will continue.
I have noticed the last couple months that if I use the name of the founder of a certain church that drifted into Utah, and I say anything remotely disparaging of him, that my comments are deleted. All my other comment remain, but those mentioning this one man.. always gets deleted. Does CNN religion editors feel a need to protect this mans name... or do we have a host of this mans followers who report abuse anytime his name is mentioned?
keep fighting the good fight ... that's the most laughable religion of them all!
Does this guy own stock in Turner Broadcasting? He sure gets a lot of free CNN news space.
Religion is the oldest scam. The pope does not speak for god. There is no god, at least there is no evidence of any god. If you disagree with this statement then feel free to prove god's existence. The burden of proof is on the believers. The bible is a book of fairy tales written by men thousands of years ago when most people believed the Earth was flat and was at the center of the universe. If people were not brainwashed from an early age into believing in this nonsense then no one would believe this crap.
Popes are often power hungry not moral or divinely adept like Jesus. To all ye faithless and soulless dolts abound lest we not forget the founders of Science & Math from Einstein to Planck to Leibniz to Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi to Copernicus to Galileo to Newton to Edison, not to mention the discoverer of genetics & DNA (Mendel to Watson), just to name a few; were unequivocally Divinely fixated though very open minded unlike the exclusively pious. Without these people Science and convenient atheism would be impossible ironically but I have a hunch atheism is wrong having been one most of my childhood and teens, to later find God in my 20s onward you could say, through isolation, elegance of Science & discourse, reflection, and realization not church or peer pressure as most distrust of religion derives.
you found god in your 20's? Did you find santa and the tooth fairy too? were they under your bed the whole time? wow, what an amusing life you are having. 🙂
Einstein was an atheist but it doesn't really matter, there is no evidence of any god. I see you provided zero evidence of god so I rest my case.
Too bad you never "found" a book about how to write a proper sentence.
Peter you're the man!
First let's hear your "concrete" evidence for the non-existence of god.
The burden of proof is on the believers. They are the ones that claim god's existence. Do you want me to prove the non existence of the tooth fairy, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny as well? The default position is that none of these things exist.
what is your concrete evidence of the non-existence of unicorns, the tooth fairy, easter bunny, santa, a 400 mile wide pink teapot orbiting the moon .... seriously?!?!
you make the great claim that there is a god. prove it!
atheists don't have to prove a thing.
No one can or has to prove the existence of God. That is just as impossible as proving the non-existence of God.
"There is no god, at least there is no evidence of any god. If you disagree with this statement then feel free to prove god's existence. The burden of proof is on the believers."
There is a god, at least there is no evidence of no god. If you disagree with this statement then feel free to prove god's non-existence. The burden of proof is on the non-believers.
Don't make logical fallacies. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
The one making the extraordinary claim, in this case the existence of god, is the one that must prove this claim with extraordinary evidence.
Absence of evidence is enough for me to not believe.
I've heard all this before. It's getting boring.
I could just as equally challenge you to prove that God does NOT exist. You can't.
I cannot "prove" to you that God exists – I can only show you the Way for you to "prove" it to yourself – as I learned when I was 41 years old (17 years ago).
God has chosen to reveal Himself through the eyes of Faith – for His own good reasons – many of which I now understand – but you would reject since you are currently determined to choose to follow your Intellect over Obedience.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." [Hebrews 11:7]
If you would choose to Obey, God will give you more than enough Evidence not only for His Existence, but for His Love and Power. And you would find that your Intellect will be opened to true Understanding. There have been many great minds – and are still many today – who believe in God – and Jesus – and the Holy Spirit. It's not a matter of Intellect, however, but of the Will – choosing to Obey and to Believe.
"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." [John 7:17]
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." [John 6:29]
But, if you choose to continue in Rebellion – then as the Scripture says: "The Light shines in the Darkness – but the Darkness has not Comprehended it". [John 1:5]
May you find Him before your time here is done.
Why is the burden of proof on the believer. Why doesn't the non believer have the burden to prove that god does not exist? Actually neither have the burden of proof because neither side can be proved. That's why they call it faith. And in fact whether you know it or not you too have faith. You see, my side tries to prove there is a God, your side tries to prove there isn't. At some point we realize we can't prove our point of view so we have to take a leap of faith. I take the leap that there is god, you take the leap that there is not. Proof has nothing to do with any of this.
The fact that you spend so much effort trying to disprove and assert the non-existence of a God (spirit or energy) that can change lives, leaves me with the conclusion that God does exist. How else can you explain the simple existence of wind? Trying to understand that type of energy and letting it guide you is called faith? I think your problem of understanding is that you are imagining a God of human form and human sensibilities.
leaves me with the conclusion that God does exist. How else can you explain the simple existence of wind? leaves me with the "conclusion that God does exist. How else can you explain the simple existence of wind?"
"Simply put, wind is the motion of air molecules. Two concepts are central to understanding what causes wind: air and air pressure... Wind is driven by what is called the pressure gradient force. Changes in air pressure over a specified horizontal distance cause air molecules from the region of relatively high air pressure to rush toward the area of low pressure. Such horizontal pressure differences of all scales generate the wind we experience."
It's weird... I don't see any mention of a god.
Even the wind you cannot tell where it comes from and where it Is going. You will try explain things to deny a creator. Everything you see on earth is with cause and effect. If a simple artwork in the gallery proves somebody created how could you not believe that the system in your body is well architected and designed. Your nervous system alone is trillion times more complicated than an artwork. God's fingerprint is everywhere in His creations. Everywhere how He distanced the planets and stars, everything is perfect. If you will argue it is done by random and its chance happening based on probability , it is probably you drop a single needle pin in the Milky Way galaxy and you can find it in one second. The creations that you can see in nature are all created by the Almighty Creator.
CP in FL – I do understand why you might not feel God exists. Many Christians who believe and know the Lord don't act like it nor do they even back up the Lord when trouble comes. My suggestion as a Christian is that you ask the Lord to prove himself to you. Expect him and he will show up. However, most people who say they don't believe in God really don't want him to show and he is honorable and wants you to live your life the way you want to. If when you day there really is a day of judgement then you have made your choice. As a Christian I just did not want to gamble like so I found out for myself. The Lord has done miracles for me by my faith so I know him. My daughter has been saved by a miracle of God. I respect your opinion and hope you have a great life protected from evil (yes there is an enemy which you don't need to believe in as well).
Oh, stop with the "we are all sinners" stuff. That is just a ploy to make people feel inferior and get them to donate to the church.
Donating to the church does not make you a non-sinner. If they said that, then that's one thing. But no one is saying for you to donate to the church and your sins will go away!... So your case just failed.
2 + 2 ≠ 5
It never has, it doesn't now, and it never will. YOU come along and say that 2 + 2 = 5. I say it does not. You say it does, I say it equals 4. You say it doesn't – I say 2 + 2 ≠ 5. You say it does, I say it doesn't. The argument/war goes on for years.
NOW you come along and say "Let's COMPROMISE!"
Ya know what? 2 + 2 ≠ 5
And ya know what else? Your "compromise" of 2 + 2 = 4½ doesn't work, either.
2 + 2 ≠ 5 It doesn't, and I don't have to RESPECT your belief that it does. You're wrong, I'm SAYING you're wrong, I'm telling you to your FACE you're wrong, and if you teach it to your children, it should be considered child abuse. You're wrong, you should be shamed for believing it, and I'm willing to do it. I'm calling you an idiot and you are if you believe it.
2 + 2 ≠ 5
you seem to have a lot of hate, you should really pay attention to the part of the bible of judge not unless you are judged, as well as love thy neighbor. then maybe you wont be filled with so much hate and live a happier healthier life.
I like your argument to prove a point with math. But i don't know what point you are trying to make. Are you saying that riasing your children in a church or believing in God should be child abuse, because there are no material facts? Or are you saying that you are 100 percent against issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc.
Obviously with a mathmatetical and logical brain, it might be difficult to believe in the unknown. However, that is where Faith comes in, and that is the beautiful thing about religion... whether it be God, Allah, Yaweh or Mother Nature. Having that higher belief system helps dramatically with stress.
Mathematician know "if you do not agree that 1+2=3, then it defies logic to convince you that 3=3.”
"You're wrong, I'm SAYING you're wrong, I'm telling you to your FACE you're wrong,"
You are? It looks to me like you're just ranting anonymously on a message board about something that has nothing to do with the actual content of the article (or virtually nothing).
"and if you teach it to your children, it should be considered child abuse."
That's just an asinine statement. I'm glad people like you aren't the ones making laws for the rest of us telling us how to raise our own kids.
"You're wrong, "
According to who? You? Why should that matter to me? I don't know you at all, but you sound stupid and angry.
"you should be shamed for believing it,"
I'm not ashamed for believing in God. Why should I be. I'm not hurting anyone else with my personal beliefs. For instance, I'm not a vocal bigot, like you are. Wasn't raised that way and will never be that way.
" and I'm willing to do it."
"On the web, anonymously." How brave of you.
" I'm calling you an idiot and you are if you believe it."
Well, you're calling someone an idiot with a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and a strong background in physics who works on launch vehicles and satellites.
Likewise, I'll call you a hate-filled and foolish bigot for your silly rant.
The power of religion truly amazes.. Clearly, being a person with a "Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and a strong background in physics who works on launch vehicles and satellites," you are a very intelligent person. So how do you believe this crap? Even the slightest thread of common sense shows that religion is a man-made creation that was created and used to control people for thousands of years. It terrifies me that even some of the smartest people fall for it. Truly a shame.
Adam and Eve never existed therefore original sin doesn't exist. Relax Mr. Pope and just enjoy the ride.
@Johnny 5: +1
Yeah, cause it's all about enjoying the ride, isn't it? I take it your ride is a fun packed slippery slope down into hell.
Forgive me for I am a sinner and a nitpicker. A moral foundation or any foundation wouldn't fall like a house of cards as the pope answered. And for one to say, "I am a sinner," could not be misconstrued as a literary genre. Maybe something was lost in translation as if the folks at "La Civilta Cattolica" used Google Translate to translate the pope's interview into English. Yeah. I guess I like to strain out gnats and swallow a camel.
Oh great, the Catholic Church is headed to be the next Pillar of Salt.
Everyone who ever lived has sinned, except for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But there is a difference in a repentant sinner and one who is still in rebellion against and hostile toward God. If a person is willingly participating in any sin even though they've been told of that sin, they are in fact, hostile toward God. The great Apostle Paul wrote that in the book of Romans, chapter 8, "the mind set on the flesh (i.e., the sinful nature) is hostile toward God and not even able to submit itself." (By submit, it means in humility, confess our sin, repent before God and ask forgiveness being willing to go a new way.)
If you really believe that crap please seek help for your delusions.
I commend you CP in FL for publicly announcing you are spiritually bankrupt. It's good to know you prefer to live somewhere hot.
You are full of --
pOPE IS RIGHT OD IS THE JUDGE BUT WE MUST REPENT FROM OUR SINS IN ODER TO HAVE EERNAL LIFE AND LIVE A RIGHTOUS LIFE IN THIS WORLD! GOD LOVES AND FORGIVES US ALL BUT WE MUST ALL SUBMIT TO HIM, GOD CREATED MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN AND WOMEN AND HE DIDNT COME BACK TO EARTH TO MAKE AN UPDATES ON THAT. AS A CHRISTIAN WE ALL MUST LOVE AND FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER BUT IT DOESNT MEAN I HAVE TO JUMP UP AND DOWN FOR IMMORALITY!
People who post in ALL CAPS are definitely going to hell...
Why are you shouting?
You are right about loving one another. But loving another person is accepting them for who they are, it is trying to ensure the best for that person. Jesus wants all of us to help each other grow toward God, not toward the flesh. Jesus would turn the tables (as he did when they gambled in the house of God) if he heard what you said.
Being Christian means taking care of your brothers and sisters to ensure their spiritual well-being as Christ wanted.
Love puts another person ahead of you, and want for that person the best you can. You can love someone in the flesh, and most of us do exactly that. Christian Love is completely focused on the spiritual part of a person. Helping them grown to do what is right naturally and have the conviction to stand their ground when all others think they are wrong.
This Pope is clearly more interested in being liked than in furthering the kingdom of God. He straddles the fence with his wishy-washy, poorly defined vision so that no one will get mad at him. What a sad disgrace.