Pope Francis and homosexuality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has repeatedly spoken about the need for the Catholic Church to welcome and love all people regardless of sexual orientation. Speaking about gay people in 2013, he said, "the key is for the church to welcome, not exclude and show mercy, not condemnation."[1] He said, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" "The problem," he continued, "is not having this orientation. We must be brothers."[2][3] The pope has reiterated the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality, including its position on marriage. He has also been outspoken on the need to be compassionate towards LGBT people, and was named the Person of the Year by the LGBT magazine The Advocate. In 2019, Pope Francis reiterated that Catholic teaching states that homosexual tendencies "are not a sin."[4]

Archbishop of Buenos Aires[edit]

Before he became pope and while serving as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio reportedly privately urged his fellow Argentine bishops in 2010 to signal the Church's public support for civil unions, as a compromise response to calls for same-sex marriage.[5] Fellow bishops rejected the idea.[5] Other sources both support and deny this account.[6][7] At that time Argentina already permitted civil unions, and was debating a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

Publicly, Bergoglio strongly opposed the bill,[8][9] warning it could lead to a situation that could "seriously harm the family" and deprive children of the developmental supports of both their father and mother.[8][10][11] After L'Osservatore Romano reported this, several priests expressed their support for the law and one was defrocked.[12] Observers believe that the church's opposition and Bergoglio's language worked in favor of the law's passage and that in response, Catholic officials adopted a more conciliatory tone in later debates on social issues such as parental surrogacy.[13]

In a 2010 book written with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Bergoglio also spoke of same-sex marriage as "a weakening of the institution of marriage, an institution that has existed for thousands of years and is 'forged according to nature and anthropology.'"[14]

On the need to welcome LGBT people[edit]

As pope, Francis has repeatedly spoken about the need for the church to welcome and love all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Speaking about gay people in 2013, he said that "the key is for the church to welcome, not exclude and show mercy, not condemnation."[1] In July of that year, he said "If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying…: 'no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society.'"[15][2][3]

Several LGBT groups welcomed the comments, noting that this was the first time a pope had used the word "gay" in public, and had also accepted the existence of gay people as a recognizable part of the Catholic Church community.[16] In October 2016, Francis said that "When a person (who is gay) arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, 'Go away because you are homosexual.'"[17]

According to two gay rights activists, Marcelo Márquez and Andrés Albertsen, Bergoglio expressed support for the spiritual needs of "homosexual people" and willingness to support "measured actions" on their behalf in private conversations with them.[18]

In April 2018 Pope Francis met with Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse by Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.[19] Cruz discussed with Francis in detail how his sexual orientation was used by Latin American media and news outlets to discredit his report of abuse and label him as a pervert and liar.[20] In a private conversation between the two Francis reportedly said to Cruz, who identifies as homosexual, in regards to his sexuality, "You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say."[21][22][23][24]

These remarks have been seen as an encouraging change of tone from the papacy, so much so that the American LGBT magazine The Advocate named Pope Francis their Person of the Year for 2013.[25][26]

On 27 August 2018 Pope Francis press statement declares, that homosexuality is not an illness.[27][28][29]

Defending Catholic teaching on sexual orientation[edit]

When speaking to Spanish journalist Jordi Evole on April 1, 2019, Pope Francis noted how Catholic teaching states that that homosexual "tendencies are not sin. If you have a tendency to anger, it’s not a sin. Now, if you are angry and hurt people, the sin is there.”[4] When Evolve asked if it was a "rarity" to parents to have a homosexual child, the Pope stated “In theory no … But I’m talking about a person who is developing, and parents start to see strange things … Please consult, and go to a professional, and there you will see what it is and may not be homosexual, that is due to something else.”[4]

Televised meeting with Stephen K. Amos[edit]

On April 19, 2019, Pope Francis appeared on the last episode of the BBC2 three-episode miniseries Pilgrimage: The Road To Rome, which featured eight celebrities as they traveled a section of the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome. On this episode, he met with gay, black comedian Stephen K. Amos-who was one of the show's participants- and told him that with regards to his sexual orientation, “it doesn’t matter who you are or how you live your life, you do not lose your dignity.”[30]

LGBT families and children[edit]

On 26 August 2018, while in Ireland, Pope Francis said that homosexual people existed in the whole history of humankind. He also said Catholic parents should talk with their homosexual children, that they shouldn't be "thrown out" of the family, and clarified his belief that homosexuality is not an illness.[31][32][full citation needed]

Francis has also spoken of the importance of education in the context of the difficulties now facing children, indicating that the Church had a challenge in not being welcoming enough of children brought up in a multiplicity of household arrangements, specifically including the children of gay couples.[33] He mentioned as an example a case of a child with a mother living in a lesbian relationship:

"I remember the case of a very sad little girl who finally confided to her teacher the reason for her state of mind: 'my mother's fiancée doesn't like me'.... How can we proclaim Christ to these boys and girls? How can we proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing? We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."[34][35]

After Italian tabloids suggested his comments indicated a shift towards accepting civil unions for gay couples, the Director of the Holy See Press Office said the pope was talking only about the difficulties of children in non-traditional families, not making a declaration on the debate in Italy concerning gay unions.[36][37][38]

Teaching on marriage[edit]

Francis has taught that "Marriage is between a man and a woman. Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care. It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures, of which I wouldn't know how to list the different ways. One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety."[39] Some interpreted this as suggesting that the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of non-marital civil unions, but the Vatican later clarified that was not Francis' intention.[40][41]

In February 2015, Francis encouraged people in Slovakia, who were considering limiting marriage to opposite sex couples, to "continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society."[42][43] At the start of 2014, Bishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta reported that in a private conversation held with Pope Francis in December 2013, the pope said that gay marriage was "an anthropological regression."[14]

The New York Times considers that Bergoglio may have supported gay unions in Argentina only as a negotiated compromise, but that his context as a Pope is very different.[5] In 2015, Pope Francis declared that "the family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage" and suggested that same-sex marriage "disfigures God's plan for creation."[44][45]

Amoris Laetitia[edit]

Francis presided over the 2014 Synod on the Family, the first assembly of the Synod to explicitly examine the issue of pastoral care for people in same-sex civil unions and marriages.[46][47] The synod's working document called for less judgment towards people that are gay and more understanding towards same-sex couples in civil unions or marriages, as well as an equal welcome for children of such couples (including conferring baptism), while still rejecting the validity of same-sex marriage itself.[48][49] However, the final report failed to contain the proposed language as it did not receive the necessary two-thirds support of attending bishops.'[50]

In the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, issued in 2016, Francis encouraged better understanding from all members of the church on the acceptance of gay people, without suggesting any specific doctrinal changes. Instead, he reiterated the need for every person to be respected regardless of their sexual orientation, and to be free from threats of aggression and violence. He avoided any recognition of unions between same sex couples, but rather maintained that these were not equal to heterosexual unions. Some parts of the media interpreted his remarks as more moderate on the issue of homosexuality than that taken by church leaders in previous years.[51]

Transgender issues[edit]

On 2 October 2016, Pope Francis spoke in favor of pastoral care for and including transgender Catholics in the church, stating priests should "accompany them spiritually" and that they should never be turned away, even if they have undergone gender transition and sex-reassignment operations.[52] He spoke out against "Gender Theory"—the idea that gender identity is not definite and can change—being taught in schools.[53][54] He referred to it as "ideological colonization" and said it was a threat to traditional marriage and is destructive to children.[53][54] New Ways Ministry and DignityUSA, two dissenting LGBT Catholic advocacy groups, both spoke out against Pope Francis's statements regarding gender identity, calling it "dangerous ignorance" of the issue.[55]

Francis once held an audience with a Spanish transgender man, who had transitioned from female to male, and his wife.[56]

Gay clergy[edit]

In the 2018 book The Strength of a Vocation, Pope Francis is quoted as saying that gay clergy "is a very serious issue" that "influences the life of the church" and is therefore something he is concerned about."[57] He further goes on to say "In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life."[57]


During his 2015 visit to the United States, Francis held a private meeting with Kim Davis, a county clerk from Kentucky who had gained international attention after defying a federal court order requiring that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[58][59][60][61][62] The Vatican press office shortly after issued a statement saying that the pope was unaware of her situation and the meeting was not to be considered an endorsement.[63][64] The only audience given by Francis while in Washington was with an Argentine former student, Yayo Grassi, who is openly gay, and his same-sex partner of 19 years.[64][65][66]

Francis has suggested that he believed a "gay lobby" existed within the Vatican itself, in remarks during a meeting held in private with Catholic religious from Latin America in 2013. He was reported to have promised to see what could be done to address the issue.[67] In October 2015, priest and Vatican theologian Priest Krzysztof Charamsa was stripped of his posts after announcing he was in a homosexual relationship.[68][69]

In relation to reports that a Vatican official whom he had recently promoted had had a homosexual relationship, the pope drew a distinction between sins, which can be forgiven if repented of, and crimes, such as sexual abuse of minors.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b "Pope Francis: Church Cannot Be 'Obsessed' With Gays, Abortion Ban" in Fox News Latino, 19 September 2013
  2. ^ a b c Lizzie Davis, "Pope Francis signals openness towards gay priests", in The Guardian, 29 July 2013
  3. ^ a b c "Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?". BBC News. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Inés San Martín (April 1, 2019). "Pope Francis says homosexual tendencies are 'not a sin'". Crux Now. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Romero, Simon; Schmall, Emily (19 March 2013). "On Gay Unions, a Pragmatist Before He Was a Pope". New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Claims that Pope supported gay civil unions disputed". Catholic News Agency. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  7. ^ Allen, Jr., John L. (12 April 2013). "Hard questions about Francis in Argentina and a lesson from Chile". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b Pentin, Edward (8 July 2010). "Cardinal Bergoglio Hits Out at Same-Sex Marriage". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Clashing Pope Francis, Argentine president meet in Vatican". CBC News. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  10. ^ Feder, J. Lester (13 March 2013). "Pope Francis Brings Lessons of Argentina's Marriage Fight To Rome". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  11. ^ McClam, Erin (13 March 2013). "Meet the new pope: Francis is humble leader who takes the bus to work". NBC News.
  12. ^ "El cura suspendido: "A la Iglesia le preocupa más la cama de los argentinos que su mesa" (in Spanish). Perfil. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  13. ^ De Vedia, Mariano (16 July 2010). "La carta de Bergoglio, un error estratégico" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  14. ^ a b Edward Pentin, "Pope Repeats that Same-Sex 'Marriage' is 'Anthropological Regression'" in National Catholic Register, 3 January 2014
  15. ^ "Press Conference of Pope Francis during the return flight". Holy See. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  16. ^ McGarry, Patsy (6 August 2013). "Irish gay group praises Pope Francis's airborne comments". Irish Times. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Pope Francis says transsexuals and gay people should be embraced by the Catholic Church".
  18. ^ Romo, Rafael, and Rodriguez, Jose Manuel, "Behind closed doors, pope supported civil unions in Argentina, activist says", CNN, 21 March 2013, Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  19. ^ "Pope Francis reportedly tells gay man: "God made you like this and he loves you"". CBS News. 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  20. ^ Reynolds, Daniel (2018-05-20). "Pope to Gay Man: 'God Made You Like This'". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  21. ^ Gallagher, Delia (2018-05-21). "Pope Francis tells gay man: 'God made you like that'". CNN. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  22. ^ "Pope Francis tells gay man: 'God made you like this' | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  23. ^ Emma Sarran Webster (2018-05-21). "Pope Francis Reportedly Told a Gay Man "God Made You Like This"". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  24. ^ "LGBT community cheers Pope Francis' 'God made you like this' remark". America Magazine. 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  25. ^ Grindley, Lucas (16 December 2013). "The Advocate's Person of the Year 2013". The Advocate Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  26. ^ Squires, Nick (10 March 2014). "Pope says Catholic Church should not dismiss gay marriage". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  27. ^ Spiegel.de: Vatikan zieht umstrittene Äußerung zu homosexuellen Kindern zurück
  28. ^ Tagesspiegel.de:Vatikan ändert Papst-Zitate zu homosexuellen Neigungen von Kindern
  29. ^ Deutschlandfunk.de: Vatikan relativiert Papst-Äußerungen zu Homosexualität, abgerufen am 28. August 2018
  30. ^ https://cruxnow.com/church-in-uk-and-ireland/2019/04/19/pope-francis-tells-gay-man-you-do-not-lose-your-dignity-on-bbc-show/
  31. ^ "Don't throw gay children out of home, Pope Francis urges Catholic parents". 28 August 2018.
  32. ^ Jon Sharman, 28 August 2018: "Vatican clarifies Pope Francis comments on psychiatric help for gay children" in The Independent
  33. ^ "Vatican denies pope is open to recognition of gay civil unions". Reuters. 5 January 2014.
  34. ^ Full text of the report, p. 14 Archived 9 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Jimmy Akin, "What did Pope Francis say about the children of homosexual couples? 8 things to know and share" in National Catholic Register, 4 January 2014
  36. ^ 5 January 2014, Vatican denies pope is open to recognition of gay civil unions, Reuters
  37. ^ Pullella, Philip (5 January 2014). "Vatican denies pope is open to recognition of gay civil unions – World News". NBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. ^ Kington, Tom (5 January 2014). "Vatican says pope's comments on gay couples don't mark policy change". Los Angeles Times.
  39. ^ "Transcript: Pope Francis' March 5 interview with Corriere della Sera". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  40. ^ Catholic News Service, 5 March 2014 at the Library of Congress Web Archives (archived 2015-01-09)
  41. ^ Thomas Reese, "Vatican spokesman clarifies pope on civil unions" in National Catholic Reporter, 6 March 2004
  42. ^ J Lester Feder. "Pope Endorses Referendum Denying Marriage And Adoption Rights To Same-Sex Couples". Buzzfeed.
    As quoted by Ring, Trudy (5 February 2015). "Pope Has Kind Words for Backers of Anti-Equality Measures in Slovakia". The Advocate.
  43. ^ Blumberg, Antonia (6 February 2015). "Pope Francis Backs Slovakia's Referendum Against Same-Sex Marriage, Adoption Rights". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  44. ^ Tufft, Ben (18 January 2015). "Pope Francis warns that same-sex marriage 'threatens the family' and 'disfigures God's plan for creation'". The Independent. London.
  45. ^ Richinick, Michele (16 January 2015). "Pope Francis suggests gay marriage threatens traditional families". MSNBC.
  46. ^ "Preparatory Document: Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization, III Extraordinary General Assembly, 5 November 2013". www.vatican.va.
  47. ^ "Vatican launches world survey on modern family life". BBC News. 5 November 2013.
  48. ^ Vatican: Church should be less judgemental of gays, 26 June 2014
  49. ^ "Vatican softens tone toward gays and lesbians".
  50. ^ "Catholic synod: Pope Francis setback on gay policy". BBC News. 18 October 2014.
  51. ^ Sinclair, Harriet (8 April 2016). "Eagerly anticipated document from Pope Francis outlines church's views on gay marriage and abortion".
  52. ^ Cindy Wooden (2 October 2016). "Gay & Transgender People Deserve Pastoral Care, Pope Says". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  53. ^ a b Nicole Winfield (2 October 2016). "Pope Francis Urges Pastoral Care For Gay & Transgender People, Draws Line Between Ministry and Indoctrination". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  54. ^ a b John Newsome (4 October 2016). "Pope warns of 'ideological colonization' in transgender teachings". CNN. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  55. ^ Mike McPhate (3 August 2016). "Pope Francis Remarks Disappoint Gay and Transgender Groups". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  56. ^ "Pope Francis Says Jesus Would Not Abandon Transgender People". The Advocate. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  57. ^ a b "Gay people should not join Catholic clergy, Pope Francis says". Agence France-Presse reported in The Guardian. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  58. ^ Payne, Ed; Burke, Daniel (2 October 2015). "Pope's meeting with Kim Davis not an endorsement, Vatican says". CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  59. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (30 September 2015). "Kim Davis, Kentucky County Clerk, Met Pope Francis". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  60. ^ Eversley, Melanie; Bacon, John (30 September 2015). "Vatican confirms pope met with Kim Davis". USA Today. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  61. ^ Chappell, Bill (30 September 2015). "Kim Davis And Pope Francis Had A Private Meeting in D.C." NPR. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  62. ^ Green, Emma (30 September 2015). "Why Did Pope Francis Meet With Kim Davis, the Gay-Marriage-Protesting Clerk From Kentucky?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  63. ^ Holy See Press Office issues statement on Pope's meeting with Kim Davis, Vatican Radio (2 October 2015).
  64. ^ a b Yardley, Jim; Goodstein, Laurie (2 October 2015). "Pope Francis' Meeting Wasn't an Endorsement of Kim Davis's Views, Vatican Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  65. ^ Burke, Daniel (2 October 2015). "Pope held private meeting with same-sex couple in U.S." CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  66. ^ Green, Emma (2 October 2015). "Before Kim Davis, the Pope Hung Out With a Gay Couple". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  67. ^ "Pope Francis 'confirms Vatican gay lobby and corruption'". BBC News. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  68. ^ Wyatt, Caroline Gay priest decries 'inhuman' treatment of homosexual Catholics, 23 October 2015; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34654581
  69. ^ Philipson, Alice (28 October 2015). "Church Makes Life Hell For Homosexuals Says Priest". The Telegraph.