Who am I to judge?

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 9.56.47 AMI love the new pope.

I can’t believe I’m saying that, because I’ve never actually loved a pope before. Through my agnostic Jewish eyes, he’s always been just a man in a white robe and a gold cart. Pope Francis, however, seems different, and he’s opened my eyes. Not to Catholicism, per se, but to decency.

In case you haven’t heard, yesterday afternoon, while flying from Point A to Point B, the Pope walked through his plane to where the media members were stationed. Just to chat. This, in and of itself, was something of a miracle; something popes, apparently, just don’t do.

Pope Francis was asked about homosexuality—a very taboo subject for the church. Here’s what he said (in Spanish):

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Those five words–Who am I to judge?—are remarkably powerful; more powerful than many seem to understand. The church is still against homosexuality. It’s still a sin in the eyes of Catholicism; still an entity that should not be recognized in legal marriage. And yet, the great problem I’ve long had with many Catholics I know and the church is, to be precise, judgement. How many people have uttered the tired line, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” while actually hating both the sinner and the sin. What the Pope was saying (and what he said with great eloquence and compassion) was that he (the head of the church) has no right judging another.

And if the pope shouldn’t judge, well, who the fuck are you to do so?



4 thoughts on “Who am I to judge?”

  1. I think it’s very important to keep in perspective what “searching for the Lord” ultimately means. If a gay person is truly going to embrace Catholicism, that gay person has to repent from all previous gay actions and pledge to never commit any further gay actions in the future. That’s “searching for the Lord.” If this criteria is met, then Jorge (Francis) is willing to let this person’s sins be forgiven.

    His statement does nothing to change the Church’s current teaching: the physical manifestation of homosexual love is a sin while the physical manifestation of heterosexual love is not.

    This is a problem.

    It’s the same message I was given while growing up in the Church. You don’t hate the sinner; you hate the sin. So, while the rhetoric is warm and inviting to homosexuals everywhere, he doubled down on the idea that if homosexuals truly want to be accepted by the Church and not sin, then they have to resist every urge that ultimately makes them a homosexual.

    It’s further evidence of a truly screwed up world when a man can say, “I won’t judge you as long as you’re looking to deny who you are,” and people praise him for it. This isn’t really progress.

      1. He mentions the catechism in this story. He said, “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well.” Okay, so he endorses the catechism. What’s the catechism’s stance on homosexuality?

        “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. **Under no circumstances can they be approved.**”

        Where did I get that? From the Vatican.


        So, unless Jorge is willing to change the catechism, his remarks are not especially helpful.

        I’m not reading his mind. I’m reading the Church’s official position. You should, too.

  2. Pope is from the Jesuit order and they are considered the ‘cool priests’. Having attended a Jesuit college, Pope Francis is a reflection of his Jesuit training. For the most part, they are much different from the local priests in terms of thinking and education. From my experience, Fairfield University is not much different than University of Delaware.

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