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.
I am an athiest and have very little respect for organized religion as a whole but it is refreshing to see the leader of one of the "main religions" actually act with the dignity and "piousness" that you would expect from a religious leader and embrace the times we live in... as opposed to the times of 2,000 years ago. Granted, his actions are "good for business" in the long run but that's a long term benefit to a short term "coming to Jesus" (pun intended) with the age we live in that the Catholic Church has been way, way behind on.
Oh, I don't know about all that. They were the original gubmint Official Church.
Here is the deal, it is not God's job to keep up with you, your job is to try to keep up with God. You are not the soul reason you are here, you were put here for a reason and God is the only one who really knows why. I am sure you do not like that, most people don't want to think that they will actually have to answer for what they have or have not done.
I think you'd be surprised how prevalent his mindset is among Christians. It is always the loudest and most sensationalist remarks that get media attention. However, I agree the church generally has had a propensity to focus on one or two "sins" and overlook the most important teachings of Christ (not the least of which is that we're all sinners). Lately I'm appalled at how politics has invaded the church to the extent that many, many are deceived into not knowing where one begins and the other ends. I'm not Catholic, but I like this guy.
I don't care so much about what people believe (or say they believe) as what they actually do. To me, a kind believer is better than a mean atheist, and a kind atheist is better than a mean believer. What they believe or don't believe doesn't make them admirable, it's what they do.
I don't want to abolish religion. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub...
I guess it is okay to infringe on someone else rights. As long as your rights are not infringed you will be okay, and we shall bow to you and respect and conform to you. Hail, Grover Norquist!
Grow a sense of humor.
If you speak such a thing you meant it. There nothing humorous about a person saying what they really feel and want to do with others. I did not see anything like haha or lol or just kidding. It was straigh to the point, therefore if you find it humorous there must be something really wrong with you. I am sure that you and everyone else would have jumped on someone that would say "I want to flush all atheists in a toilet and burn them in a cross when they come out of the other side" Do you see what I meand it sounds horrible. Do you think I was kidding or serious? I think you would take that serious.
Oh, please. The whole idea of thinking something means you've done it is a construct of religion meant to control people.
Getting angry = murder
No, it's not the same thing. One is an emotion, the other is a criminal act.
Pitching a tent over a pretty waitress = adultery
No. One is a hormonal response, the other a word used to describe the breaking of a promise of sexual fidelity between consenting adults. (Consenting adults agreeing to other types of partnerships is not an issue for me, YMMV.)
To all the misguided "believers" out there, your salvation is at hand:
Tis mind boggling that your religions can be brought down to earth in less than ten seconds. With this in mind should not the moderators of this blog and their buddy Stevie P be looking for new jobs?
Again for the new members:
Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
We shall conform to your propaganda and bow to you, because we want to be aimlessly running around in circle thinking that we are going somewhere with you.
Is to an Easter! We had spiral sliced ham and deviled eggs! Can't tell me I didn't sit there and listen to my relatives around the dinner table.
You post ths in every religeous article's comment section. Give it a rest.
You should check out the gospel of Thomas, Phillip and the truth (three separate gospels that were tossed out by Constantine). I'm not religious, but they give a new interpretation of the words of Jesus. Their gospels make a lot more sense in a realist sense.
You are nearly 100% correct. The only error you committed was listing Buddhism as a religion. Buddhism is not a religion. Buddhism is a philosophy. A religion requires a deity. Buddhism has no deity. Other than that, your comment is excellent.
Buddha say, "I am not human, Jack."
A lot of people nowadays feel that the idea of worshipping this being called "God" is an ignorant, blind and narcissistic belief in a book called the Bible. While Christians do believe to a somewhat large degree in the context of the bible, what we take from it most is the message, specifically the message in the New Testament (Christians). What I find a bit odd is that atheists and many Christians make one critical mistake- believing they OWN knowledge. The bible says a lot of things, as do science books, and yet they differ in that the bible contains not only context but also insight, where science contains facts and questions. A Christian who says they believe something because the bible says it, is in my mind not a true Christian. The bible is not only an historical source (contains historical event as well as “myths” and parables), it is also a work of moral "knowledge". This knowledge does not belong to the one who READS the bible, just as it didn't belong to the one who WROTE it. Science attempts to explain the rational through the obtainment of knowledge. Scientists who do not believe in a concept of a higher being do not because they too believe that the knowledge that they deduced, found, obtained is now theirs. But knowledge is just knowledge- not truth. Being able to see knowledge does not mean you are the one responsible for the NATURE and CREATION of that knowledge- that is the role we assign to God. If we WERE purely rational creatures we could explain our irrationalities in a universally rational way- but we can't. And so logic would say that we are not rational even if the universe appears to be rational. Therefore the universe of which we, and our irrationalities, must by definition not be truly rational. A rudimentary example is the mere existence of "contradictory" sciences such as physics and philosophy. If the world were completely rational, such seemingly contradictory studies would not exist.
We continue to evolve rationally and the current gods will eventually be excluded from our minds.
always there has to be haters and detractors. Yeesh, go away already. And Brent really!!!! Pastor Rick Warren is suffereing greatly and you want to use this as a way to rub salt in the wound. Wow!!!!! Shame on you!
Time will tell if Pope Francis can lead us in another direction. Certainly this Catholic has been waiting a long time for another viewpoint. I'm so sick of the whole prolife movement which is such a joke. No contraceptives, no abortion fine. But no financial help to people in need if they decide to keep a child they can ill afford to have? Walk the talk and then maybe i'll listen to these hyprocrital US Bishops.
I was raised Catholic, but left many years ago. I was devout, taught in parochial school, went to 12 years of it myself. First Fridays, the Stations, all the services (I was in the choir too). I left because of the very things you state. My whole family is still very involved in their churches, which is fine with everyone.
I'm so glad to hear that more Catholic women are getting loud about having an equal role in the church. Perhaps this is a sign that the RCC might speed things up a little more than their usual one new idea accepted per century pace. 😉
Small minded rules are the result if small minds, small conservative minds.
"People want priests that are pastors, not bureaucrats". I know a lot of churches that need to listen to this one.
The Pedophiles agree!!!
Leave the gay community alone
Religion, the church and the pope are obsolete remnants of archaic philosophy, if one can call it that. Time to dismantle this joke and ban it to the junkyard.
And in observance of the FSM holy day of Talk Like a Pirate Day, ARRRRG!!!
So what is the hope you offer?
None needed. Why do you need a false hope?
Better than a false hope based on a lie.
you cant replace something with nothing. that is what is wrong with atheism.
Not a catholic, not particularly religious, but i really respect this pope so far!
and still the unrepetent sinner burns in hell. Isn't it better to have someone point out to you that the path you're running on is heading towards a cliff? Is the official response is, we don't want to upset the interrupt the runner that is enjoying his run?
You only think there is a cliff because you think your book tells you that.
What does your "book" say awaits or is that still an unknown.
I don't have a supposed "book of answers", my best guess at this point is that nothing happens after death, if that is what you are asking.
My assumption is that everyone of average intelligence forms a belief regarding the afterlife. There is no scientific data concerning anything beyond our known physical world or what I like to call the created things. I believe that which is in agreement with Christ (Jesus) based on a personal experience validated by and through what is written as interpreted by the Holy Spirit. In short key points of the Bible were personally experienced to be true thus I find it credible.
I have no validation whatsoever on any other belief (or non belief if you want to call it that) concerning the after life. I doubt I would have remained agnostic because I had a sense there was something all along. Scientifically and logically nothingness does not exist (an empty set is not a non physical property) so it remains reasonable to assume after life credible.
Why are you unreasonable?
If you only seek to condemn, then you force away the people in most need of the Church. I thought that Francis' metaphor of the Church as a triage sinner is apt; it has to respond and be there for those most in need.
The Pope is of the devil himself, so you can hardly expect him to say otherwise...
You can't harrass a person because of their lifestyle but you can still pray for them, because the Bible is crystal clear that if we lead an immoral life but refuse to change then we cannot be accepted into Heaven. The same is true for me, for you, for media pudits, actors, rock stars, senior citizens and everyone else who's ever lived – by hard example in my own life I've learned that God does not play favorites, as the Bible also states. If we sin and refuse to repent of the sin we cannot be entered into Heaven – as the Bible states and that is why Jesus said that over and over ("Go and sin no more") – but we still don't get it...
Same-gender attraction is a "lifestyle choice" the same way being left-handed is.
o GOD HATES LEFT HANDED PEOPLE
You have a choice not to act on your wicked left-handedness and live a godly life!
"A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
– Ecclesiastes 10:2
"The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted."
– Psalm 118 vv15,16
Ban left handed marriage! BAN IT!
I just hope that you're also praying for the divorced, for people who have had relations before/outside of marriage (almost everyone), people who eat more than they should, etc. Because if you aren't doing so, you're a COMPLETE HYPOCRITE just like everyone else who holds gays to a higher standard than they hold themselves and their friends to.
At this point they would be alienating half their priests and cardinals if they didn't accept gays.
Spot on. Dont know about the half part, but a large number of g @ys got into the church and did their thing with young boys thats why the church got into trouble. But Shhh you cant say that its against PC thinkiing.
The thinking of bigots like this:
If a man molests a little girl, he is a pedophile, not straight.
If a man molests a little boy, he is gay.
If a man molests a little boy and a little girl, he is gay.
If a man molests 20 girls and 1 boy, he is a gay.
In other words, there's no logic there whatsoever, just pure hatred and an illogical attempt to justify it.
Your comment represents what is terrible about this world and the people. To assume 50% of priests are gay, with what data? While there has been problems with priests and young boys, to make a generic negative comment is just sad. You are why people hate Americans. How about you show some positivity and good vs. stupid unfounded and useless comments such as this.
Simply put, the Pope is of the devil and is not even saved (the Catholic religion is not of God). So anything he says is of the devil as well. So is it really any surprise that he supports the very thing that God hates? (which is exactly what Lucifer would do)…
Leviticus 18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination...
The scriptures don't lie. God said what he means and he means what he says. Fail to abide by that truth and you'll end up in the lake…
Yawn yet it does not state for you to assault, prevent, or ridicule those who are gay. Fail.
Gays and lesbians are the "enemies of God". Whosoever therefore is an friend of God's enemies is an enemy of God. Meaning, if you're a friend of gays – the very thing that God hates – then you are an enemy of God (meaning, you are bound for the lake). And there are plenty of scriptures which confirm this:
James 4:5 …know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
1 Corinthians 10:21 – Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils. Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
2 Corinthians 6:14 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
I guess you fail to realize that abomination and hate are two different things. Pick up a dictionary once in a while troll.
FREEDOM… Your worldly dictionaries and worldly definitions mean nothing. Only God's definition matters…
Learn the facts of reality not your fantasy.
FREEDOM... There is no greater fact than the Word of God. All else is the fantasy...
Quote some more Leviticus so we can laugh harder.
"Leviticus 18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind" So it's okay to lie to women but not to men?
Dumb as a box of rocks. You obviously can't understand what you read.
I think you might be surprised who ends up in there. 8th Circle, 6th Bolgia for you and your facts.
Definition from the dictionary – contradicts what you are saying
man·kind noun singular but singular or plural in construction
: all people thought of as one group
Full Definition of MANKIND
: the human race : the totality of human beings
: men especially as distinguished from women
Man's definition is of the devil. Only God's definition matters...
Yo what lake you talkin about? Some lakes are hella nice I'd be down to chill in some water
Simply put you and those who think like you are a brood of divisive little weasels.
I'm starting to really like this guy
Really??? Cherry picking with Lev again????? So old hat. What about the other items in Lev – no shellfish, no mixed material, marrying your dead brother's wife (i think that's how it goes). There are things I'm sure you do that are prohibited in Lev and yet you don't have issues with them. And there in lies the problem – cherry picking. If you subscribe to Lev, you have to subscribe to ALL of Lev......which I'll assume you don't.
Whoever is without Sin cast the first stone... who said that?
Don't know.. but it has long been proved that Jesus for sure did not!
Although it's been widely attributed to the character of Jesus in the bible stories, no one really knows.
Frank, where have you been? The team could have used you the past twenty years. Better late, then never.
Only 5-10 million have left the church because of it's archaic policies, but you had me at hello! Go get em.
Thank GOD for Pope Francis! If you don't agree with him and his comments LEAVE THE CHURCH as you are NOT a true Christian!
I'm a saint of the Most High God, and I don't agree with him. Pope Francis is not even a part of the church because he's not even saved in the first place. Only a devil could make the kind of statements he makes. Here's what God says:
Leviticus 18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination...
Anyone who defends gays and lesbians when God calls them an abomination, is of the devil...
Just thefacts is a Xtian Pharisee no doubt!
Now if he can only turn down the hate speech from a couple of American Archbishops.
religion/god are abstract concepts so to say you know something is fact doesn't make sense
I suppose thats why it's call faith. But that is always a challenge for people who can't think outside of the Scientific Box.. It's such a puny way of thinking, and it always seems to be turned around as if believing in God is the small minded thought process.. Randomness x Randomness is even more randomness... Evolution is a little boy's tantrum who got his feelings hurt at church.. 🙂 Go look it up, it's there..