Nearly two and a half years after his famous “Who am I to judge?” comment regarding homosexual Christians, Pope Francis clarifies his comment in his new first book published as Pope, “The Name of God is Mercy,” along with addressing other topics relating to mercy and compassion.
“If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers,” the Holy Father said in an off-the-cuff 2013 interview. Earlier this month he added on to his statement, “before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity.”
The Pope continues this tone in “The Name of God is Mercy,” and while he suggests no doctrinal changes, he “urges that the church take a welcoming approach to all — embracing understanding, tolerance and com- passion,” according to the New York Times.
Currently, while the church is not open and affirming of the LGBT community, the tone of the church is changing, largely due to Francis’ message of love, according to Father Mario Quejadas of St. Walter in Roselle, Ill. and former pastor of St. Martin of Tours in Kankakee. Quejadas said that Pope Francis has changed the long- held perception that acts cannot be separated from the person.
“Studies have shown that for many years the gay community has not found a home in the church for many reasons, particularly the church teaching that homosexual acts are ‘intrinsically disordered,’” Quejadas said. “We [the church] have not been good in distinguishing this doctrine because our behavior as a community did not separate the act from the person.”
“All of us are sinners. If we seek to be Christ disciples, we are still sinners – loved sinners!” Quejadas added. “In Christ, mercy has a preeminent role and ministry. All of us are sinners. All are invited to find a home in His heart, sinners and saints. We are loved and forgiven first before we are changed. The Pope’s statement about the gay community is a breath of fresh air!”
The Holy Father’s new book can be found at Barnes and Noble, as well as other major retailers.
—Taylor Provost, News Editor