Pope Francis has said that Catholics who are homosexual, confused about their sexuality or convinced they were born in the wrong body deserve the same attentive pastoral care as anyone else.
Flying back to Rome after visiting Georgia and Azerbaijan, the Pope was asked, given his earlier criticism of “gender theory” and “ideological colonisation”, how he would provide pastoral care to a person who felt his sexuality did not correspond to his or her biology.
Francis said that as a priest, a bishop and even as Pope he had “accompanied people with homosexual tendencies and even homosexual activity. I accompanied them; I helped them draw closer to the Lord, although some couldn’t. But I never abandoned them.
“People must be accompanied like Jesus would accompany them,” he said. “When a person who has this situation arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say: ‘Go away because you are homosexual.’ No.”
The Pope said what he was condemning was “indoctrination of gender theory”, teaching small children that no matter their biological sex, they can choose their gender. He said a Spanish father told him that he had asked his son what he wanted to be when he grew up and the boy replied: “A girl.” The father realised the child was taught in school that gender is a choice. “This is against nature,” the Pope said.
“It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option and even to have a sex change, but it is another thing to teach this in schools in order to change mentalities,” the Pope said. “This I call ideological colonisation.”
Francis also told the story of a Spanish husband and wife. The husband was born a girl, but always felt like a boy. When she was in her 20s, she told her mother she wanted a sex change operation, but the mother begged her not to do it as long as she was alive. When her mother died, she had the surgery, the Pope said.
A Spanish bishop, “a good bishop”, made time “to accompany this [now] man”, who later married, the Pope said. They asked to come to the Vatican “and I received them and they were very happy”. In the town where the man lived, he said, a new priest, “when he would see him, would shout at him from the sidewalk, ‘You will go to hell!’ But when he’d meet his old priest, he would say to him, ‘How long has it been since you’ve confessed? Come on, confess so you can take Communion.’ ” The Pope said: “Life is life and you must take things as they come.”
Francis waives five-year wait on start of Fr Hamel’s Cause
Pope Francis has confirmed that he intervened to open up the beatification process for Fr Jacques Hamel, the French priest murdered by ISIS terrorists in July.
He told reporters on his flight back to Rome that he had spoken to Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, about setting aside the usual five-year waiting period to allow the collection of eyewitness testimony regarding the murder.
“It is very important not to lose the testimonies,” the Pope said. “With time, someone may die, another forgets something.”
On Sunday Archbishop Dominique Lebrun said that the Diocese of Rouen, where Fr Hamel lived and worked, had begun an inquiry into the priest’s beatification thanks to the Pope’s intervention. The archbishop was speaking at a Mass to mark the reopening of the church where Fr Hamel was killed.
During the press conference, the Pope was also asked what US Catholics should do in an election where both candidates held positions contrary to Church teaching. Francis replied that voters should pray and follow their conscience.
Stay united, Baku Catholics told
Catholics cannot “economise” when it comes to spending time in prayer with God and in service to other people, Pope Francis told Catholics at a Mass in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Officials said about 300 people – more than half the number of Catholics in the country – were at the Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Francis told them: “Stay united always, living humbly in charity and joy.”
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund