LGBTQ activists and their allies in the secular media are arguing – incorrectly – that comments by Pope Francis about how the Roman Catholic Church is to deal with homosexuals reflect a change in the church's teaching. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Francis spoke out against laws in some countries that criminalize homosexual acts, stating that "being homosexual isn't a crime"; but he himself referred to the issue in terms of "sin."
AFN spoke with Austin Ruse of the Center for Family & Human Rights about the pope's explanation. Ruse explains that's always been the stance of the Catholic Church.
"The church has never, as far as I know, taught that homosexual acts ought to be criminalized," he says. "[But] I was very pleased that he made it very clear that homosexual acts remain a sin. There's tremendous pressure on him from influential American priests for the Catholic teaching on homosexual acts to change."
According to AP, Francis said bishops in particular need to undergo "a process of change" to recognize the dignity of everyone. And he implored those bishops to apply "tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us."
The pope also quoted from the Catholic Catechism, which says: "gay people must be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against." According to Ruse, that is a nuanced teaching.
"Homosexuals should be treated 'justly'; they should not be subjected to – and this is what it says in the catechism – 'unjust' discrimination, implying that there are some kinds of just discrimination," he adds.
Ruse says this is where homosexual activists and allies have been misrepresenting the pope's statement: "But the confusing part of this is that it will imply, and many people will infer, that this is an acceptance of homosexual behavior – and it's not."
Since he made his comments, Francis has stated he was referring to official Catholic moral teaching, which says that "every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin."