More papal madness from another in-flight interview: Four “Catholic” reports
Pope Francis on another plane answering questions…what could go wrong?
[Hat-tip to Connecticut Catholic Corner]
1. National un-Catholic Reporter: Francis: Christians must apologize to gay people for marginalizing them
Joshua J. McElwee | Jun. 26, 2016
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO ROME The Catholic church and other Christian communities must apologize to gay people and to many groups they have let down or offended throughout history, Pope Francis has said.
In a press conference Sunday on the flight back to Rome after his weekend trip to Armenia, the pontiff said bluntly: “The church must say it’s sorry for not having comported itself well many times, many times.”
“I believe that the church not only must say it’s sorry … to this person that is gay that it has offended,” said the pope. “But it must say it’s sorry to the poor, also, to mistreated women, to children forced to work.”
“When I say the church: Christians,” Francis clarified. “The church is healthy. We are the sinners.”
The pope was responding to a question about remarks German Cardinal Reinhard Marx made last week that the Catholic church should apologize to the gay community for marginalizing them.
“I will repeat the same thing I said on the first trip,” Francis said today, referencing the press conference he held on a return flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013. “I will also repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that [gay people] should not be discriminated against, that they have to be respected, pastorally accompanied.”
“The matter is a person that has that condition [and] that has good will because they search for God,” said the pontiff.
“Who are we to judge them?” he asked, reframing his famous phrase from 2013 into the plural. “We must accompany well — what the Catechism says. The Catechism is clear.”
Francis also said that the culture in which he grew up in Argentina many years ago was a “closed Catholic culture,” giving the example of how it was looked down upon to even enter the home of a couple who had been married civilly after one of the partners had previously divorced.
“The culture has changed — and thank God!” the pope exclaimed. “Christians; we must say we are sorry many times; not only on this.”
“This is the life of the church,” said the pontiff. “We are all saints because we all have the Holy Spirit inside us. But we are also all sinners.”
The pope’s words about apologizing to those the church has let down were part of a nearly hour-long press conference that focused on a wide array of issues.
Topics included: Francis’ decision to create a commission to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons in the Catholic church, whether the pope might consider removing the excommunication of Protestant reformation leader Martin Luther, and his decision to continue to label the World War I-era killings of 1.5 Armenians as a genocide.
On women deacons, the pontiff was asked whether he had yet acted to create a commission to study the matter. As NCR first reported, Francis said he would create such a group during a meeting in May with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the umbrella organization of global Catholic women religious.
Francis first criticized the media coverage that decision received, mimicking headlines the next day that read: “The church opens the door to women deacons.”
“Really?” the pope asked aloud. “I was a bit angry with the media because this is not saying the truth of the thing to the people.”
Francis said the women religious had asked him only to study the matter. “Nothing more was asked,” he said.
The pope said that after the meeting he asked both Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Sr. Carmen Sammut, the UISG president, to make a list of people he might consider for the group.
The cardinal and sister responded with names and “now, it is still on my desk to make this commission,” said the pontiff.
“I believe we have studied this theme a lot in the 1980s and it will not be difficult to put light on this topic,” he continued, mentioning a study the International Theological Commission did some decades ago.
500th Anniversary of Reformation
Francis was asked about Martin Luther, and the possibility of removing his excommunication, in relation to the pope’s upcoming October trip to Sweden for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
“I believe the intentions of Martin Luther were not wrong,” the pontiff responded. “He was a reformer.”
“Maybe some methods were not the right ones,” the pope continued. “But in that time … the church was not really a model to imitate. There was corruption in the church. There was worldliness; there was attachment to money, power.”
“We have to put it into the story of that time,” he cautioned. “It is a story that is not easy to understand; not easy.”
After 500 years, Francis said, it’s time to “take up again the path of meeting each other,” adding that Lutherans and Catholics must pray and work together.
“This is a very long path,” the pontiff said. “One time I said I know when the day of full unity will come: the day after the coming of the Son of Man.”
“You do not know,” he continued. “The Holy Spirit will give the grace. In the meantime: pray, love each other, and work together, most of all for the poor and for the people that suffer.”
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2. KofC-partnered Crux: Pope backs apology to gays, but says it’s not just them
John L. Allen Jr. – June 26, 2016
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE – Pope Francis on Sunday essentially backed a cardinal’s suggestion that Christians owe LGBT persons an apology for past mistreatment or neglect, but suggested apologies are probably in order to other constituencies as well, including the poor, exploited women and divorced families.
Francis was speaking in response to a question that linked the call for an LGBT apology to the recent massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
The pontiff said gay persons must not be discriminated against, conceding that there are “some traditions and cultures that have a different mentality,” and said apologies are in order whenever there are “people we could have defended and we didn’t.”
The suggestion for a mea culpa came from German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who in a recent speech in Ireland said that both Church and society have treated gay persons poorly and that the Church should say it’s sorry.
On other matters, Pope Francis said on Sunday:
Despite a senior Vatican official’s recent suggestion that retired Pope Benedict XVI might be part of an “expanded papacy,” in fact “there’s only one pope,” while praising his predecessor’s “courage” and “intelligence.”
On the recent Brexit result, while not directly criticizing the U.K.’s decision to withdraw from the EU, Francis did insist that “brotherhood is better than being enemies or distant” and that “bridges are better than walls.”
The pope denied that his recent agreement to create a study commission on women deacons means the Church has “opened the door” to the idea, and said that more important than the “functions” women hold is the Church’s determination to hear their voice.
He said that he felt that he used the term “genocide” to describe massacres of Armenians by Turks in 1915 because it’s the term widely used in Argentina, and since he’s used it before, it would be “very strange” not to have done so in Armenia.
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3. EEEEWTN neo-Catholic News Agency: Pope Francis says Church must accompany gays, not discriminate
By Elise Harris
Aboard the papal plane, Jun 26, 2016 / In a wide-ranging inflight press conference on his way back from Armenia on Sunday, Pope Francis responded to a question on recent comments made by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who said the Church must apologize to homosexual persons for having “marginalized” them.
Francis agreed that the Church ought to apologize in cases of discrimination against individuals struggling with same-sex attraction, and referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which emphasizes the need to accompany and respect these persons.
“I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally,” the Pope said June 26 on board his return flight from Armenia to Rome.
The problem is “a person that has a condition,” he said, but, echoing his comment on the way back from Rio de Janiero in 2013, noted that that if the person “has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge?”
“We must accompany them well…this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism.”
Pope Francis spoke to some 70 journalists aboard his flight from Armenia, which he visited June 24-26.
In the course of the hour-long conversation with journalists, Francis touched on topics including Brexit, female deacons, Christian unity, and the role of the Pope emeritus.
He was asked his opinion on comments made by Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising on Thursday at a conference in Dublin titled “The Role of Church in a Pluralist Society: Good Riddance or Good Influence?”
During the conference, held at Trinity College, the cardinal said that “the history of homosexuals in our societies is very bad because we’ve done a lot to marginalize (them).”
As a Church and as a society, “we’ve also (got) to say ‘sorry, sorry,’” the cardinal said.
The question, in addition to asking for the Pope’s opinion on the cardinal’s comments, also asked for his thoughts on accusations following the Orlando shooting that Christians were partly to blame for the hatred that led to the incident.
He noted how in certain countries there is a “different mentality” to this problem, and said the Church “must not only ask forgiveness to the gay person who is offended. But she must ask forgiveness to the poor too, to women who are exploited, to children who are exploited for labor. She must ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons.”
He emphasized that “Christians must ask forgiveness for having not accompanied so many choices, so many families … Christians must ask forgiveness for many things, not just these. Forgiveness, not just apologies,” he said, noting that while there are a lot of Christians, pastors included, who are not holy, there are “many saints” who are not seen, because true holiness is “hidden.”
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4. USCCCP neo-Catholic News Service: Christians should apologize for helping to marginalize gays, pope says
By Cindy Wooden
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM ARMENIA — Catholics and other Christians not only must apologise to the gay community, they must ask forgiveness of God for ways they have discriminated against gay people or fostered hostility toward them, Pope Francis said.
“I think the Church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women” and anyone whom the Church did not defend when it could, he told reporters at a press conference on the way back from Armenia yesterday.
Pope Francis was asked to comment on remarks reportedly made a few days previously by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, that the Catholic Church must apologise to gay people for contributing to their marginalisation.
At the mention of the massacre in early June at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Pope Francis closed his eyes as if in pain and shook his head in dismay.
“The Church must say it is sorry for not having behaved as it should many times, many times – when I say ‘the Church,’ I mean we Christians because the Church is holy; we are the sinners,” the Pope said. “We Christians must say we are sorry.”
Changing what he had said in the past to the plural “we,” Pope Francis said that when a gay person “has good will and is seeking God, who are we to judge him?”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear, he said. “They must not be discriminated against. They must be respected, pastorally accompanied.”
The Pope said people have a right to complain about gay pride demonstrations that purposefully offend the faith or sensitivities of others, but that is not what Cardinal Marx was talking about, he said.
Pope Francis said when he was growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, part of a “closed Catholic culture”, good Catholics would not even enter the house of a person who was divorced. “The culture has changed, and thanks be to God!”
“We Christians have much to apologize for and not just in this area,” he said, referring again to its treatment of gay people. “Ask forgiveness and not just say we’re sorry. Forgive us, Lord.”
Too often, he said, priests act as lords rather than fathers, “a priest who clubs people rather than embraces them and is good, consoles.”
Pope Francis insisted there are many good priests in the world and “many Mother Teresas,” but people often do not see them because “holiness is modest.”
Like any other community of human beings, the Catholic Church is made up of “good people and bad people,” he said. “The grain and the weeds – Jesus says the kingdom is that way. We should not be scandalized by that,” but pray that God makes the wheat grow more and the weeds less.
Pope Francis also was asked about his agreeing to a request by the women’s International Union of Superiors General to set up a commission to study the historic role of female deacons with a view toward considering the possibility of instituting such a ministry today.
Both Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the sisters’ group, and Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have sent him lists of names of people to serve on the commission, the Pope said. But he has not yet chosen the members.
As he did at the meeting with the superiors, Pope Francis told the reporters that his understanding was that women deacons in the early Church assisted bishops with the baptism and anointing of women, but did not have a role like Catholic deacons do today. He downplayed the issues: “They said: ‘The Church opens the door to deaconesses.’ Really? I was a bit annoyed because this is not telling the truth of things.”
The Pope also joked about a president who once said that the best way to bury someone’s request for action was to name a commission to study it.
Turning serious, though, Pope Francis insisted the role of women in the Catholic Church goes well beyond any offices they hold and he said about 18 months ago he had named a commission of female theologians to discuss women’s contributions to the life of the Church.
“Women think differently than we men do,” he said, “and we cannot make good, sound decisions without listening to the women.”
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