Pope Francis told a group of parents of LGBTQ children last week that God “loves your children as they are” and that the Catholic Church feels the same “because they are children of God.”
The event took place in the Vatican after the pope greeted a larger crowd of people. These parents, part of a group that helps LGBTQ Christians, gave the pope a booklet they wrote describing their concerns with the treatment of LGBTQ people within the Church, and after listening to them, the pope responded with his message.
What’s more important is what the pope didn’t say. Because we’ve been through this before, and the Catholic Church is no friend to LGBTQ people. Despite that, Pope Francis has been getting relatively positive coverage regarding LGBTQ people ever since he said of them in 2013, “Who am I to judge?” That year, he was bizarrely named “Person of the Year” by The Advocate, an LGBTQ publication.
Here’s the reality of the Catholic Church’s relationship with LGBTQ people: Like evangelicals, they believe it’s not a sin to be gay, but it’s absolutely a sin to act on it. That means the only type of gay or lesbian people they approve of are ones who remain celibate and never get married.
Treating them with respect and dignity, as Pope Francis does, is honestly the bare minimum he could do.
After all, this is the same guy who said in his pre-pope days that same-sex adoption was a form of discrimination against children. In 2010, he also urged religious leaders to pray against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina because it would “seriously damage the family.”
This is the same guy who stands behind the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says homosexual acts are “intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law” and believes homosexual “tendencies” are “objectively disordered.”
This is the same guy who rejects the very idea of being transgender and says the notion that people can change their genders on a whim — which is not how being trans works — is “ideological colonization.” A document released by the Vatican last year even denounced the concept of gender fluidity.
Pope Francis can says God loves gay people without being a hypocrite. But the media should never let that be the end of the story. God’s love toward LGBTQ people, according to Catholic doctrine, is conditional. If God “loves your children as they are,” then according to Catholic doctrine, God’s love expires the moment they choose to get married or even act on their normal sexual desires.
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