So why teach that their practices are mortally contrary to His will?
Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, “the true light that enlightens everyone” (Jn 1:9), people become “light in the Lord” and “children of light” (Eph 5:8) and are made holy by “obedience to the truth” (1 Pet 1:22). (St. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor §1)
Sometimes it seems as if Pope Francis is determined to purge all humor from the phrase “More Catholic than the Pope.” (Has the Pope fallen off the pro-life wagon?)
An article published by the Spanish language media, El Pais over the weekend (May 19) notes that:
Juan Carlos Cruz is still recovering from the shock. Three months ago, this victim of sexual abuses by the priest Fernando Karadima, starred in a dialectical clash with Pope Francis, who, in the midst of his Papal trip to Chile, accused him of hurling infamies against Bishop Juan Barros, a disciple of Karadima who, according to Cruz, was present when Karadima abused him. Then the Pope did a 180-degree turn; invited him for a week to his residence, Santa Marta; begged his pardon and believed him.
This article in El Pais is the source of a report making headlines throughout the world. Toward the end of the interview, contrasting himself and the other victims the Pope invited to Santa Marta, with the high clergy who had deceived the Pope, Mr. Cruz said “Those people are very malicious…. The Pope treated us like Kings in Santa Marta and the bishops like children. It was clear that he believed us.” Then El Pais asked if he and the Pope had talked “about your homosexuality, and how they made you suffer more because of it”. Cruz replied:
Yes, we talked. They told him I was a pervert, practically. Then I explained that I was not the reincarnation of Saint Luis Gonzaga [Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J.), but I am not a bad person, I try not to hurt anybody. He told me: “Juan Carlos, it doesn’t matter that you’re gay. God made you that way and that is the way he wants you to be, and I don’t mind. The Pope wants you this way too, and you have to be happy with who you are.1
There are many reasons to be careful of reaching firm conclusions based on the words Mr. Cruz ascribes to the Pope in this recollection. The situation was fraught with emotion on all sides. At times, people hear or recollect the sense of things that accords with their hopes. But it’s reasonable to assume that words spoken in affirmation of his own feelings, on a matter of such importance to his life and self-esteem, might be etched into Mr. Cruz’s memory, pondered in the aftermath, and eagerly repeated to anyone who would listen. Pope Francis, too, may have spoken to heal and comfort people whose tearful suffering he had come to appreciate first hand, especially because they convinced him of their unjust mistreatment. In such moments, feeling may override meticulous doctrinal judgment.
But as they appear in Mr. Cruz’s account, the words ascribed to the Pope are fraught with peril—for the Papacy, the Church and the victims of sexual abuse and deceit represented by Juan Carlos Cruz and his companions at Santa Marta. The statement that God makes homosexuals is scandalous, in the Canon Law sense of the term. In the Mosaic law, prescribed by God to Moses, God says to all men “You shall not lie with a male as with a female. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22). In his epistle to the Romans St. Paul is carefully more explicit in describing the sinful activity of males who go against their nature, when he writes of “men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”2
Roman Catholic teaching has never strayed out of bounds regarding the acts the Scripture condemns as contrary to God’s will for mankind. It is well-known that the Mosaic law says:
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
Critics today regard this as a harsh, even unjust penalty. They question the literal reading of the text, to suggest that it applies to activities undertaken as part of pagan rituals that involved turning away from God to practice idolatry. But the statement Mr. Cruz ascribes to Pope Francis makes God responsible for the homosexual’s condition. It raises the question ‘If God prescribed homosexuality as the condition of some individuals, how can it be sinful for them to follow His will?’ Would a just God reject and condemn His creatures because they behave in the way that He has made them to behave?
In light of this question, the statement that God made someone homosexual is likely to be a stumbling block in the path of people who seek to know God’s justice, as Abraham did when he asked: “Will not the Lord of all the earth do right?” Abraham raised that question about righteous people, found to be living among the Sodomites, who did not deserve to be included in their fatal destiny. But if homosexuals are doing what God made them to do, isn’t it similarly unjust to punish them as if their practice is hateful to God? For after completing His Creation, God look upon what he had done and pronounced it good.
The notion that homosexuality is God’s doing thus becomes a reason to question God’s justice; to resent His punishment and, therefore, turn away from His rule. In order to avoid the risk of scandalizing all believers, the Pope must deal with the contradiction of God’s consistent and perfect justice implied in his statement to Juan Carlos Cruz, as reported in El Pais. If the statement is inaccurate, make plain the inaccuracy. If the statement is intentional, make plain, in terms accessible to human understanding, the instruction that reconciles it with the truth of God’s Word, and the accepted teachings of the Church, consistently preserved since Jesus Christ walked the earth in the flesh.
Christ said: “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” As this is the vocation of the one he represents, how can it be right for the Vicar of Christ, to abandon that purpose now? How can it be right for him to give no instruction that dispels the dangerous temptation occasioned by his reported words? The feast of Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit enabled the tongues of the Apostles in miraculous ways. The one truly chosen by the Holy Spirit of Christ to represent all those who have presently acceded to the Apostolic ministry, will surely not fail of God’s instruction now. So, Let us Pray!
1 The Cruz’s precise recollection is important here, for reasons I will note in the text. Here is the Spanish text for those able to appreciate it: Sí, hablamos. A él le habían dicho prácticamente que yo era un perverso. Ahí le expliqué que yo no soy la reencarnación de San Luis Gonzaga pero no soy una mala persona, trato de no hacerle daño a nadie. Me dijo “Juan Carlos, que tú seas gay no importa. Dios te hizo así y te quiere así y a mí no me importa. El Papa te quiere así, tú tienes que estar feliz con quien tú eres” [Emphasis mine].
2 The Greek Word refers to roving or wandering, which, like the word for sin, implies disdain for the boundaries that define one’s belongings, hence actions that supersede one’s nature.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.