In a private August 5 meeting with Jesuits during his visit to Portugal, Francis spoke to the roughly 130 Jesuits and answered several questions…
Asked about Catholic homosexuals who lead overall virtuous lives but believe their relationships aren’t sinful, Pope Francis spoke about the need for the Church to be welcoming and to be more flexible when it comes to so-called “sins of the flesh”.
He insisted, as he has done repeatedly, including several times in Portugal, that in the Gospels, “There is no discussion about the call being addressed to everyone. Jesus is very clear about this: Everyone.”
“Everyone has their own space in the Church,” and as pastors, “We help people live so that they can occupy that place with maturity, and this applies to all kinds of people,” he said.
Noting that there is a priest in the Diocese of Rome who works with the LGBTQ+ community, the pope said the issue of homosexuality in modern society “is very strong, and the sensitivity in this regard changes according to historical circumstances”.
Pope Francis said that one thing he does not like is that “we look at the so-called ‘sins of the flesh’ with a magnifying glass, just as we have done for so long for the sixth commandment”.
“If you exploited workers, if you lied or cheated, it didn’t matter, and instead sins below the waist were relevant,” he said.
When it comes to the individuals involved, “The most appropriate pastoral attitude for each person must be applied,” he said.
Francis insisted that as pastors, “We must not be superficial and naive, forcing people into things and behaviours for which they are not yet mature, or are not capable. It takes a lot of sensitivity and creativity to accompany people spiritually and pastorally”.
The rest of this cringeworthy interview is unpacked here.
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