CBCP clarifies Pope’s stand on same-sex unions
MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis remains consistent with the Catholic perspective on marriage and family, while refusing “to reject those who are unable to enter into marriage and build family because of circumstances in their lives,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Monday.
“Take note he is saying this as a pastor, without compromising anything about the Church’s understanding of marriage and family. It is just that he consistently refuses to reject those who are unable to enter into marriage and build family because of circumstances in their lives,” Caloocan Bishop Virgilio David, acting CBCP president, said in the CBCP’s official statement titled “Where Pope Francis is coming from.”
David said: “The Pope speaks mainly as a shepherd who is willing to leave behind the 99 in search of the one lost sheep. Just because they stray doesn’t mean they don’t belong to the fold anymore. He is like a loving parent who just would not give up on any of his children. Just because they behave differently, or they live their lives in a manner that he does not approve of, does not mean they are not his children anymore.”
In a documentary on the Pope titled “Francesco,” which premiered last Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, Francis endorsed same-sex civil union—the first such pronouncement in Church history by the Vicar of Christ, Francis’ other title as Pope and as representative of Jesus.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” he said.
“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” he added.
‘Join parish anyway’
David said the Pope did not ask a homosexual to follow the church law first before joining the parish community.
“When he read the letter of the man who was raising three children with his homosexual partner, and who expressed his longing to be part of a parish community but was afraid because he knew his kind of life was not approved of in the Church, Pope Francis said, ‘Go and join the parish anyway,’” the bishop said.
“And yet he did not tell him outright that he approved of his homosexual relationship and his effort to come up with a semblance of family by adopting three children and trying to raise them into decent human beings,” he added.
David said Jesus himself was “misunderstood… and judged” for associating with people of questionable reputation in Jewish society or those “regarded as ‘sinners’ in orthodox Jewish society.”
“He didn’t openly say he approved of the religion of the Samaritans or the politics of the Romans. He just treated them with the same kindness and compassion that he extended to any human being; and he was judged for it,” David said.
The prelate said the Pope remained consistent with the motto “Miserando atque eligendo” or “wretched but chosen.”
“This Pope has been consistent with the radicality of Jesus of Nazareth whom he calls the human face of the Merciful God. It is easier to save the good and the law-abiding; it is something else to choose to save even sinners and lawbreakers with no other motive than the fact that they too are children of God and have been entrusted to his care,” David said.
“He (Pope Francis) is not out to destroy our morals and orthodoxy. He just wants to do as Jesus himself did. He valued being kind and compassionate more than being right and righteous,” the CBCP leader said.
David said Jesus “refused to judge the woman who had been caught in adultery without saying that what she did was right.”
“He didn’t think that condemning people or judging them was the right thing to do in order to work for their conversion. He didn’t bring them to conversion by judging them but by loving them, caring for them, and being compassionate to them.”
“He was never of the opinion that people who did bad things were to be treated as bad people. He hated the sin but continued to love the sinner,” David said.
Francis said he was still against gay marriage but encouraged civil union laws in behalf of same-sex couples.
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