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In anniversary interviews, Pope Francis recalls ‘three things’ he said about LGBTQ+ issues

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In anniversary interviews, Pope Francis recalls ‘three things’ he said about LGBTQ+ issues

Four interviews with Pope Francis were published this month as the church marked the tenth anniversary of his election. In all of them, the Pope comments on his approach to LGBTQ+ issues during his papacy.

In an interview with infobae, the pope was asked if he would give communion to a gay person, and Francis responded with what he considered the “three things” he said about homosexuality while he was pope: his “Who am I to judge?” from 2013 remark, his in-flight comments in 2018 that parents should love their gay children, and his latest condemnation of LGBTQ+ criminalization earlier this year. Explaining his approach, the Pope said in part:

“The great answer was given by Jesus: all of them. Everything. All in. When the fine ones did not want to go to the banquet: go there to the crossroads and call everyone. Good, bad, old, young, boys: all of them. Everything. And everyone decides their positions before the Lord with the power they have. . .today many magnifiers are placed on this problem. I think we need to get to the essence of the Gospel: Jesus calls everyone and everyone resolves their relationship with God as they can or as they want. Sometimes [one] wants and cannot, but the Lord is always waiting.”

Francis also spoke about the same three points in an interview with RSI.

In an interview with The nation, the pope was asked if he was preparing a document on gender, which he denied, saying no one had asked for such an instruction. The interview goes like this (via Google Translate):

“[Francis:] I always distinguish between what is pastoral care for people of different sexual orientation and what is gender ideology. They are two different things. Gender ideology is currently one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations. It transcends the sexual. Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences, and the wealth of men and women and of all humanity is the tension of differences. It grows through the tension of difference. The question of gender blurs the differences and creates an equal world, all dull, the same. And this contradicts the human vocation.

“[La Nacion:] Did you know that in Argentina, the last time I was there, you have to fill out a form that says male, female, or non-binary?

“[Francis:] The futuristic experience I had many years ago about this was when I read a novel I always recommend, Master of the World, by [Monsignor Robert Hugh] Benson, written in 1907. Looks very modern, a. A little heavy in the middle, some chapters, but it’s very beautiful. It creates a future where differences disappear and everything is the same, everything is uniform, a single master of the whole world. A futuristic prophet. And there I found the real tendency to shorten differences. The richness that humanity has is its differences, cultural…

[La Nacion:] But in the end I didn’t get it, did they ask you to write something about gender?

“[Francis:] No no no. That’s what I’m talking about. I speak because there are few naive people who believe that this is the way of progress and do not distinguish what respect for sexual diversity or different sexual options is from what is already an anthropology of gender, which is extremely dangerous because it cancels out differences and that it annuls humanity, the richness of humanity, the personality type, cultural and social, the differences and the tension between differences.”

Pope Francis addressed the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples in an interview with profile, in addition to emphasizing the three points about homosexuality mentioned above. His comments included the following:

“I think the civil union should exist, it’s already been in France for years and I took it from there because it’s a way to give a certain social space to same-sex unions, marriage is something else and it has a different configuration, but this is my position. . .

“My position on homosexuality is in these three. Here before the general audience come people who are from homosexual groups, they are among the people and present themselves as such, I salute everyone. All are God’s children and each seeks God and finds him as he can. God separates only the proud, other sinners are all in line.”

Earlier this week, Connections 2.0 featured readers’ and Catholic LGBTQ+ leaders’ assessments of Pope Francis on issues of gender and sexuality. Although they ranged from an “A+” to an “F,” most respondents settled somewhere around a “B,” which acknowledges the great progress made without overlooking Francis’ weaknesses.

These anniversary interviews show, in the pope’s own words, what many of those who responded to our survey said: his track record on LGBTQ+ issues over the past decade has been mixed. On the issue of homosexuality, Francis is increasingly moving toward a more pastoral approach that increasingly has a human rights dimension. The “three things” he emphasized in interviews make this clear. Yet his remarks to The nation on gender are yet another example that the Pope’s approach to contemporary understandings of gender, as well as transgender and non-binary identities, lacks sufficient information. However, his lack of understanding is dramatically different from his positive actions towards trans people.

Catholics need more from Pope Francis than abstract warnings about “gender ideology.” Indeed, the pope’s engagement with gender should be marked by a similar grounding in contemporary ideas and scholarship that was a hallmark of Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si. This pope has repeatedly shown himself to be a leader who is willing to learn. Now he must begin to apply this willingness to be a student of how gender is understood and functions today.

Previous publications

March 15, 2023: From ‘A’ to ‘D-‘: How Catholic LGBTQ+ Leaders Rate Pope Francis Ten Years On, Part II

March 14, 2023: From ‘A’ to ‘D-‘: How Catholic LGBTQ+ Leaders Rate Pope Francis Ten Years On, Part I

March 13, 2023: The results are in: Here’s how Catholics rated Pope Francis on LGBTQ+ issues

March 11, 2023: Sister Jeanine Gramic: After ten years, this pope still gives me hope

Robert Shine (he/him), Ministry of New Roads, 16 March 2023

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