Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In light of the controversy and resulting misunderstandings that have arisen from Pope Francis’s recent comments about homosexual persons and “civil unions” drawn from a recently released documentary about the Pope, I present some clarifications.
- Marriage, according to the clear teaching of Christ in the Scriptures, is between one man and one woman ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring (Mt 19: 4-6). This teaching has been consistently upheld by Pope Francis.There has been no change in the Catholic Church’s teaching, based 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.” (CCC 2357)
- In affirming these truths, the Church understands the trial that same-sex attraction can cause and seeks ways to support, guide, and encourage persons with this situation to live according to Christ’s teachings. They should always be treated with kindness and respect, avoiding unjust discrimination. We can never, however, condone sinful acts.
- Pope Francis’ remarks may appear to propose a “middle ground” that would grant the legal protection of those with same-sex attraction who have formed a life together. This is a pastoral proposal, given on a practical level (a prudential judgement), which does not change the Church’s teaching. Such “unions” are not equivalent to marriage and he is not encouraging sinful behavior.
Please continue to pray for our Holy Father, especially during Mass when his name is mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer. Pray for the strength and courage needed to faithfully serve as the Vicar of Christ on earth. May the Lord in His goodness, grant you His peace of mind and heart.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
James Seán Wall
Bishop of Gallup