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Did the Pope just ‘blow a hole into Catholic moral theology’?

Did the Pope just ‘blow a hole into Catholic moral theology’?

When I read numerous reports at the weekend that Pope Francis had told a gay man, Juan Carlos Cruz, above, that ‘God made you that way and loves you as you are’ I immediately thought there would be trouble ahead. Big trouble.

It wasn’t long in coming. The American Conservative‘s Rod Dreher wrote:

If the Pope means that homosexuality is a matter of moral indifference, then Catholics have a very serious theological problem on their hands with this Pope, who has just blown a hole into Catholic moral theology with regard to sexuality.

According to the Los Angeles Times and a myriad of other media Francis told the Chilean victim of priestly sexual abuse:

‘Juan Carlos, I don’t care about you being gay. God made you that way and loves you as you are and I don’t mind. The Pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are.’

A spokesman at the Vatican on Sunday declined to confirm or deny Francis’ comments, stating:

We don’t normally comment on the Pope’s private conversations.

Referring to a passage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which says that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”,  Dreher asked:

As a theological matter, can God affirmatively will someone to be gay? To be ‘intrinsically disordered’ in his sexual desire?

He added:

Perhaps the Pope is saying that God, in His infinite wisdom and with his permissive will, allowed Juan Carlos to be born with homosexual desire. There is no question that God loves all His creatures, including all of us sinners, but if the Pope has been accurately quoted here, then he is telling Juan Carlos that God affirms his homosexuality (God ‘loves you like that’).

If the Pope means that God loves Juan Carlos despite these sinful passions, that’s undeniably true, according to Catholic theology. If the Pope is saying that God  affirms the goodness of homosexual desire, that is not remotely compatible with what the Catholic Church teaches, and with what Scripture makes clear.

He went onto to say:

If Juan Carlos Cruz has distorted or misunderstood what Francis said to him, then Francis has a grave obligation to clarify the public record. This is hugely important.

If he follows his usual pattern, Francis will decline to do that, and allow the public sense of what the Church teaches to change, while maintaining plausible papal deniability. We’ll see.

He concluded:

If the Pope has said that homosexuality is morally neutral and/or willed by God, then that is a massive thing … On the single issue dividing Christian churches in our time more than any other, the Pope will have taken the side of the modernists and progressives, against 2,000 years of consistent Christian teaching based on the clear meaning of Holy Scripture.

A conservative Evangelical pastor friend of mine told me some time back that whatever his differences with the Roman church, he was grateful to be able to count on Rome being a solid rock on pressing questions of moral theology. Under Francis, he told me, he has come to believe that Rome cannot be counted on to hold the line. The rock is crumbling under repeated blows from the Bergoglian wrecking ball.

Hat tip: AgentCormac

19 responses to “Did the Pope just ‘blow a hole into Catholic moral theology’?”

  1. L.Long says:

    Arguing what an imaginary gawd said is even a bigger indication of their innate st00pidity!!!

  2. Angela_K says:

    What a pleasure it is to watch the religious infighting!
    The Pope just needs to get his message out to the rest of his hateful cult to leave Lesbians and Gays alone.

  3. SRH says:

    If Mr Dreher seriously believes that there are “2,000 years of consistent Christian teaching based on the clear meaning of Holy Scripture” then he knows nothing at all about religious history. As in any other ideology, Christianity is riddled with passionate disputes and inconsistencies about all of its teachings, from the nature of God to what women should wear in church. Homosexuality and its ethics are no different.

    As to the comment from L Long: Christians are no more or less intelligent than anyone else. They are just deluded in their beliefs, a state that is common to all of us.

  4. AgentCormac says:

    ‘…he was grateful to be able to count on Rome being a solid rock on pressing questions of moral theology.’

    What nonsense! With its deplorable history of child abuse, its inexplicable demand that servants of the church remain celibate and its constant prying into the sexual activities of its followers, the RCC is in no position whatsoever to lecture anyone on what is and is not ‘moral’.

  5. Vanity Unfair says:

    I suppose that another possible interpretation is that like illness or infirmity, homeosexuality is a God-given (God-inflicted) gift so that other God-sufferers can show their Godliness by tolerating, praying for or even helping those so afflicted along their journey to salvation.
    The Pope, being top man and (in the right circumstances) infallible, would understand that and expect the faithful to work it out.
    I am now going to make a pot of tea to wash the nasty taste from my mouth.

  6. L.Long says:

    Sure SRH but then they continue to demonstrate their total innate st00pidity anyway!
    Of course if one of them knows how to drive they may be bright enough to do so! So what! My 8 yr old can do that now!

  7. L.Long says:

    Also the pope said being gay was OK, and the pope is correct it is perfectly OK with gawd! After all S/He/IT is the creator. And there aint much in the buyBull that is against it. Leviticus does not count because the OT was nulled by jesus and jesus says nothing against it.

  8. Robster says:

    Outside the Catholic bubble, does it really matter, as in really matter, to anyone what an old bloke in a silly hat, who as a mature man, believes there’s a magic sky fairy watching everything he does, has an opinion that matters in the regard of human sexuality? The old fool can’t have sex or even a surreptitious tug without pangs of guilt. Ignore completely, he simply doesn’t matter. Really.

  9. SRH says:

    L Long: “but then they continue to demonstrate their total innate st00pidity anyway” is a statement of your own opinion, not based on reality. If you wish to educate or debate, a first principle is not to belittle others.

  10. David Anderson says:

    SRH says:

    “L Long: “but then they continue to demonstrate their total innate st00pidity anyway” is a statement of your own opinion, not based on reality.”

    Not sure of the colour of the sky where SRH lives but in this reality one has only to look at this site to see their “innate stOOpidity.

    “If you wish to educate or debate, a first principle is not to belittle others.”

    Fuck me, not used to trying to debate or educate the sheeple are you?

  11. SRH says:

    “sheeple”? Who do you think you are? If you look at the lives of the most brilliant such as Einstein or Feynman, you will notice that they did not consider themselves as anything other than ordinary and that the public were to be treated as intelligent. I’ve noticed this widespread tendency in the atheist community towards self-aggrandisement and a sense of innate superiority over anyone who has religious beliefs. It’s nothing to be admired. Richard Dawkins, for all his scientific accomplishment in evolutionary biology, is a prime example.

  12. StephenJP says:

    SRH, I’m calling you out on that. Show us where Dawkins displays “self-aggrandisement and a sense of innate superiority over anyone who has religious beliefs”, as opposed to being properly critical of religion and its practical implications. The occasional ill-considered tweet doesn’t count.

  13. SRH says:

    StephenJP: Mr Dawkins is a great scientist in his own field. He wrote a fairly good book in The God Delusion. But he too often strays beyond his expertise in thinking that his views on other topics are worth more than anyone else’s. For example, his controversial idea about ending the jury system, about which he seems to understand almost nothing:
    https://www.scribd.com/document/248092734/Trial-by-Jury-Richard-Dawkins
    A response from a QC:
    https://ffgqc.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/professor-dawkinss-jury-delusion/

    Or his general sense of knowing more than others:

    “I’m an atheist, so I tend to agree with most of the ideas that Dawkins and Maher and their ilk are promoting. But boy, do they ever go about it the wrong way. Look at the T-shirt Dawkins is sporting so proudly in his Twitter picture: “RELIGION,” it proclaims, “Together we can find the cure.” That’s… uncomfortable, to say the least. If you replace “religion” with pretty much any other descriptor of difference — “homosexuality,” “blackness,” “feminism,” etc. — then the slogan starts to take on some pretty nasty aspects. And even with “RELIGION” in the firing line, there’s something obnoxious and dehumanizing about characterizing your ideological foes as suffering from some sort of mental affliction.”
    http://flavorwire.com/539189/the-problem-with-richard-dawkins-and-bill-mahers-militant-atheism

  14. David Anderson says:

    SRH:

    Yawn.

  15. SRH says:

    David Anderson: … which is fairly typical of the abysmal quality of debate here. If you have a comment, make it and be prepared to back it up with substance. Your emotional response is not so important.

  16. Daz says:

    “I’ve noticed this widespread tendency in the atheist community towards self-aggrandisement and a sense of innate superiority over anyone who has religious beliefs.”

    Have to say, I do agree with this to some extent. I’ve heard/read the words of far too many people who seem to think that answering one question, “Is there a god,” in the negative automatically makes them some kind of intellectual giant, to be able to dismiss it out of hand.

    Here’s a thought. If a person is religious until, say, the age of twenty and then becomes an atheist, and this somehow makes them more intelligent than people who remain religious, does this make me, who was never religious and can clearly remember consciously disbelieving at the age of six, some kind of genius? (I assure you I’m not, but that’s where the logic implied by this attitude would seem to point.)

  17. David Anderson says:

    SRH:

    After many years on this and other atheist websites I have experienced religious people claiming their old and tired arguments be treated with respect and debate. They, on the other hand rarely reciprocate. I do not go to religious sites to preach atheism, neither do I talk to walls.

  18. SRH says:

    I’m an atheist. I’ve little interest in the long-disproven arguments by theists about their particular deity. But I am very disturbed by the tendency for many atheists to proclaim their own intellectual superiority and not to examine themselves. I see much of that tendency on this site which is in many ways just as much an echo chamber of self-congratulation as are churches, mosques and temples.

  19. StephenJP says:

    SRH: sorry not to respond earlier.

    I don’t actually find much wrong with Dawkins’ arguments, either in his 1997 article, or in the later version of 2012 (which is what the QC was replying to). They seem to me to be reasonable objections, such as might be raised by any laypeople (the main occupants of any jury), especially those who knew a bit of evolutionary biology.

    As for the rather silly T-shirt, for me that falls into the same category as “ill-considered tweets”.