Understanding Pope Francis’s words, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about the gay lifestyle must be understood in context. This was Fr. Earl Fernandes’ point in this month’s column for The Catholic Telegraph. Last week we posted on Fr. Seger’s talk on same-sex attraction. As an afterthought, Fr. Seger recommended this article from Fr. Fernandes, Dean and Assistant Professor of Moral Theology here at the Athenaeum of Ohio. We have retained it for our readership.
Dear Father, I keep hearing that Pope Francis changed Church teaching on homosexuality with his question, “Who am I to judge?” Is that true?
Pope Francis did not change Church teaching [cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357-2359]. His comment- “Who am I to judge?”- must be understood in the context of the press conference he gave while returning from World Youth Day in Rio.
During the press conference, Brazilian journalist Patricia Zorzan asked Francis why he didn’t speak about abortion and same-sex marriage. He answered: “The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on which the Church has clear teaching!”
When she pressed further, he replied: “Yes, though it wasn’t necessary to speak of it, but rather of the positive things that open up the path to young people. Isn’t that right! Besides, young people know perfectly well what the Church’s position is.”
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