✣Being gay does not matter, Pope tells abuse survivor
Juan Carlos Cruz, one of three Chilean abuse survivors who met Pope Francis last month, gave an interview to the Spanish newspaper El País in which he said the Pontiff told him: “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The Pope loves you like this, you have to be happy with who you are.” A Vatican spokesman declined to confirm or deny the remarks as they were part of the Pope’s private conversations.
What the vaticanisti are saying
The headline on Drudge Report, an influential US news aggregation site, was: “Pope shock: OK to be gay. ‘God made you like this.’”
Vatican correspondents stressed that the comments, even if quoted accurately, represented no change to Church teaching. Robert Mickens of La Croix told the Daily Telegraph that it was “not a shift in theological teaching or dogma”, but rather a “pastoral response to an individual”. The Pope, he said, “always likes to deal with the individual”.
Many outlets cited the Pope’s remark in 2013 – that “if someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” Christopher Lamb, Rome correspondent for the Tablet, said the new comments went “beyond ‘who am I to judge?’ to ‘you are loved by God’.”
The Jesuit author Fr James Martin told the Los Angeles Times that the remarks were a “big deal”. “I cannot remember the Pope making a comment about gay people being born that way,” he said. “Pope Francis has repeated what all reputable biologists and psychologists say – you don’t choose your sexual orientation.”
Dominican Fr Thomas Petri criticised Fr Martin for promoting the Pope’s apparent remarks. He pointed out that they had not been confirmed and could “easily be interpreted as contrary to natural law and moral teaching”. By promoting the quote, Fr Petri said on Twitter, Fr Martin was making the Pope a “source of division”. “A priest should know better,” he wrote.
The Catechism says that the “psychological genesis” of homosexuality “remains largely unexplained”.
✣Italy’s coming clash: the populists and the Church
Italy’s populist parties – the left-wing Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Lega (“League”) – agreed on a pact to form a government. While their plans still need approval from Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, the two parties are now on the brink of power, ending months of political deadlock following an indecisive election in March.
Why was it under-reported
the agreement was announced last Friday, as excitement about the Royal Wedding reached its peak. The Vatican commentator John Allen, writing at Crux, noted that despite running to 18,000 words the pact did not mention the Church or the Vatican once.
Politics in Italy, he said, used to be “almost indistinguishable” from the affairs of the Church. Under Pope Francis, he argued, that has changed. Neither the Pontiff nor Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the bishops’ confererence president, have intervened in the political crisis since the election, Allen noted.
What will happen next?
The marriage between the two parties is likely to be stormy. A plan to speed up deportations of illegal immigrants is the most probable cause of conflict with the Church hierarchy. Yet in other areas their policies have much in common with the vision of Pope Francis: a tax cut for families, more funds for welfare, a universal guaranteed income and greater efforts to reach out to Russia, “an ever more important economic and commercial partner”. The Economist worries about how the country will pay for it all; the policies, it said, could send Italy “off the rails”.
✣The week ahead
Ten chapels commissioned by the Vatican will be unveiled in Venice on Saturday. It is the first time the Vatican has taken part in the Venice Biennale’s International Architecture Exhibition. The chapels – designed by architects including Norman Foster and Andrew Berman – aim to turn a small wooded plot on an island in the Venetian lagoon into a pilgrimage site.
The comedian Jimmy Cricket (pictured) will join a Right to Life walk in Clitheroe, Lancashire, on Monday. Others attending the eight-mile sponsored walk are the crossbench peer Lord Alton and Archbishop Patrick Kelly.
A joint team of North and South Korean martial artists will be giving Pope Francis a Taekwondo demonstration next week. The Korean martial art involves spinning kicks, jumps, and head-height kicks. The demonstration – part of a growing collaboration between athletes from North and South – will occur between Friday and Sunday next week, according to Asia News.