Pope Francis made an unexpected gift of his time and did a little Q & A with the lucky group of journalists accompanying him home on the papal flight from World Youth Day in Rio this morning, and inevitably, the question of homosexuality came up.
The Pope reiterated the Church's teaching on homosexuality, clearly stated and lovingly (one hopes in all cases) implemented:
"If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society."
Did you catch that? The Pope isn't judging gay people. The Pope isn't judging any of the rest of us poor, sinning schmucks either, people who are trying - and failing - day after day to live a Christlike life and do His will in our lives.
Did the Holy Father invite people to practice homosexuality? By no means. Did he infer that gay 'marriages' would soon be performed in Catholic parishes around the globe? Nope. He simply stated the eternal Christian truth which is preached for all people and for all time: if you are searching for the Lord in earnest, you will find him. And you will be welcomed.
Too many Christians have been branded by a media eager to demonize and divide as 'intolerant' or 'bigoted' because of their rejection of homosexuality. But the rejection of homosexuality must never be confused with the rejection of homosexual persons. No person is unwelcome to Christ, or to His Church. We are all of us sinners, found wanting, and in need of His mercy.
Does this mean the Church will ever stop calling people to repentance? Definitely not.
Will the same Church ever embrace sinful behaviors in her children in order to assuage their misguided notions of happiness? Never.
The Church does not dictate morality; she reveals what is inherently true, good, and beautiful.
Homosexual behavior is not deemed 'sinful' because the Church says so; the Church says so because the behavior is inherently damaging to the human person. As is all sin. The teachings of Jesus Christ are not arbitrary, but are rather deeply informed with the most intimate knowledge of the human person. He knows what makes us tick, because He made us. And neither He nor his Bride are ever, ever going to recommend a behavior that is harmful to us.
That's why the Church will never change Her teachings on contraception. She'll never jump on board with Planned Parenthood and endorse the concept of 'therapeutic abortions.' And there are never going to be a special set of readings for use at 'same sex wedding' Masses.
Because He loves us too much.
And because homosexual behavior, for all the noise being made by Hollywood and the media, is fundamentally damaging to the human person.
The Pope was not speaking some sort of secret code and green lighting gay 'marriage' with his statement to the press today. Though it will surely be misconstrued in many circles as such. He was simply reiterating the words of Christ, spoken 2,000 years ago, and spoken still today.
Come to me, you who are burdened, I will give you rest. Forget what you've done, where you've been, what you've seen...and come to me. And be at peace. I made you. I alone know what can fulfill the desires of your heart. Do not seek the world's happiness; the world did not make you, and cannot know what you are made for. Only I can tell you that.