“Judge just judgment” (John 7:24)

Francis on Homosexuals who seek God: “Who Am I to Judge that Person?”

A Commentary

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Mr. Battista Ricca with Mr. Jorge Bergoglio

A veritable firestorm broke out on July 29, 2013, when the press reported “Pope” Francis’ words in response to a question by a journalist on the “Mgr.” Battista Ricca case during a unique press conference “His Holiness” had granted to journalists on his flight back from Rio de Janeiro after World Youth Day (see our report on the interview here). In particular, the media frenzy centered around the following part of Francis’ response: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?”

Not unexpectedly, the secular press, homosexual lobbying groups, and pro-homosexual Novus Ordo news outlets immediately zeroed in on this juicy quote and used it in their favor. And just as unsurprisingly, the “conservative” and semi-traditional Novus Ordo bloggers, commentators and news organs immediately switched into damage control mode and determined that Francis had been quoted “out of context” or “misunderstood” or “misrepresented”.

In other words, it was business as usual after Francis had opened his mouth. Although he was decidedly clear with regard to maintaining a firm “no” to women’s ordination (a topic he addressed in the very same press conference), Jorge Bergoglio somehow couldn’t manage to be clear with regard to homosexual clerics in the Vatican and in the Church. Especially after having been the head of an archdiocese for 15 years, Bergoglio must have known what effects wishy-washy statements can have in the media, in particular with regard to an issue considered so controversial and “hot” as homosexual clergy in the “Catholic” Church, and on which many are quite confused already. Francis simply decided to confuse things a bit more.

But let’s examine what he actually said, in context. In order not to be accused of using a biased or bad translation of Francis’ words, we are reproducing here the translation from the Italian given by one very popular Novus Ordo presbyter who is as biased in favor of Francis as it could possibly get: the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf (known as “Father Z”). What follows is Zuhlsdorf’s translation of both the original question asked and Bergoglio’s entire answer, in full context:

QUESTION: I would like to ask permission to pose a rather delicate question.  Another image that went around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his personal life.  I would like to know, your Holiness, what will be done about this question.  How should one deal with this question and how does your Holiness wish to deal with the whole question of the gay lobby?

FRANCIS: Regarding the matter of Monsignor Ricca, I did what Canon Law required and did the required investigation.  And from the investigation, we did not find anything corresponding to the accusations against him.  We found none of that.  That is the answer.  But I would like to add one more thing to this: I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this case and also in this case, one  looks for the “sins of youth,” for example, is it not thus?, And then these things are published.  These things are not crimes.  The crimes are something else: child abuse is a crime.  But sins, if a person, or secular priest or a nun, has committed a sin and then that person experienced conversion, the Lord forgives and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives.  When we go to confession and we truly say “I have sinned in this matter,” the Lord forgets and we do not have the right to not forget because we run the risk that the Lord will not forget our sins, eh?  This is a danger.  This is what is important: a theology of sin.  So many times I think of St. Peter: he committed one of the worst sins denying Christ.  And with this sin they made him Pope.  We must think about fact [sic] often.

But returning to your question more concretely: in this case [Ricca] I did the required investigation and we found nothing.  That is the first question.  Then you spoke of the gay lobby.  Agh… so much is written about the gay lobby.  I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word gay.  They say there are some gay people here.  I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good.  They are bad.  If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this point beautifully but says, wait a moment, how does it say, it says, these persons must never be marginalized and “they must be integrated into society.”

The problem is not that one has this tendency; no, we must be brothers, this is the first matter.  There is another problem, another one: the problem is to form a lobby of those who have this tendency, a lobby of the greedy people, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies.  This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for doing this question. Thank you very much!

(“How to Get Francis Wrong on Homosexuality”, Fr. Z’s Blog, July 30, 2013)

Ah, where to begin. There is a lot that could be said here, but let’s cover only the most important things.

First, Bergoglio is trying to minimize the problem of homosexual clergy by reducing it to a matter of “sins of the youth”. There is really nothing in the Ricca case nor in the issue of the ‘gay lobby’ that would allow one to make it a matter of “sins of the youth”. This is something Francis pulled out of thin air. Besides, such a statement is totally out of place when referring to a vice that is unnatural and cries to Heaven for vengeance; but more on that later.

Secondly, Francis does not distinguish — how convenient of him — between sins that are private and sins that are public. Private sins, that is, sins that are not publicly known, remain exactly that, and they are dealt with exclusively in the confessional. In the Ricca case, however, we are speaking about a matter that is publicly known. Public sins must be publicly repented of and atoned for, so that no scandal may ensue or any prior scandal is redressed.

Which brings us to point number three. Because the Ricca case involves not only a cleric but a rather high-ranking cleric who works directly in the Vatican, one even who enjoys the highest confidence of the “Pope”, there is now also the matter of scandal, which Francis – again, quite conveniently – fails to address. This isn’t just a matter of “the Lord forgives”. Catholic moral theology is quite emphatic concerning the distinction between public and private sins, scandal, and the obligation to repair harm done, especially if the sinner in question is a cleric. Apparently, this is all too much for sloppy Francis, whose grasp of theology is so poor and whose lack of orthodoxy is so bad that he sends people needing an exorcism to a Lutheran layman (see here).

Next, Bergoglio makes the point that “these things are not crimes”, referring to acts of sodomy. That may be the case in Italy, in modern Vatican City, or in other countries of the Western world, but it wasn’t always this way. Sodomy used to be outlawed in many countries, and for good reason. Besides, whether or not sodomy is a crime is usually decided by majority vote in democratic countries, hardly an objective standard for determining what should and shouldn’t be criminal. So, this is really not something Francis can bring up to bolster his dismissive argument. It is, essentially, irrelevant to anything.

Fifthly, we come to the really juicy part. Let’s quote Francis again: “I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?”

For a supposed Vicar of Jesus Christ to make such a comment is beyond irresponsible and foolish, not to mention harmful and scandalous. Francis plays right into the wrong-headed but widespread idea that some people are homosexual in their identity, in their nature, as part of “who they are”. This is exactly what modern-day liberals want you to believe, that just as people are biologically either male or female, so they are also biologically either heterosexual or homosexual.

Nonsense! If a Catholic accepts this idea, he has already crossed the line. Let’s quickly review the relevant facts:

  • Homosexuality is a person’s sexual attraction to a person of the same sex
  • The act of sodomy is the ultimate end to which such attraction is directed
  • The attraction is, in and of itself, gravely disordered (“perverted”) because the ultimate purpose of sexual attraction is reproduction, which, of its nature, can only be brought about by male and female
  • Homosexual attraction is, in and of itself, not a sin because sin exists in the will, and the will can resist the attraction
  • As long as the attraction is not accepted, entertained, or acted upon in any way, but rather resisted, there is no sin — this is true for attraction to any moral evil, incl. murder, theft, calumny, blasphemy, etc.
  • Just as with attraction to any other sin, a Catholic must resist any temptation in this regard and avoid the occasions of sin
  • This implies that people with same-sex attraction must not needlessly be closely around other people of the same sex, and on that score alone it is clear that no one can be ordained to the priesthood with such a disorder, since he would closely be around other men and needlessly put himself into occasions of sin
  • Identifying oneself as a “homosexual” on account of experiencing such attraction typically constitutes a sin because it presupposes, at least in most cases, that one has already accepted, entertained, or acted upon the attraction
  • The Novus Ordo teaching about “integrating,” “not discriminating against” and “not marginalizing” homosexuals, therefore, constitutes a tacit acceptance of homosexuality because it presupposes that people have a right to consider themselves homosexual in their identity
  • Any Catholic who experiences a temptation in this regard, that is, who experiences sexual attraction to a member of the same sex, has the obligation of resisting it and should not make it public, just like he would not make public any other temptations or attractions to sin that he may have
  • Finally, no Catholic can identify himself, as part of who he is, with the attraction or temptation to any particular sin

This summary above should not come as a surprise to anyone, as it is merely the corollary of true Catholic moral theology and sound philosophy. The Novus Ordo Church, on the other hand, has totally muddied the waters on this topic and has conceded to the secular world the very premises which necessarily lead to a defeat of the Catholic position.

The so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church (which we prefer to call the Catechism of the Conciliar Cult), which Francis references, provides a great example of how the New Church has bought into the idea of there being such a thing as a “homosexual person“. Curiously, the Catechism condemns only the act of sodomy as a sin (see par. 2357-2359) and is silent on the morality surrounding the “inclination” (other than saying it is objectively disordered). This has led many in the Novus Ordo to accept the absurd idea that homosexuality is okay as long as there is no actual sexual act – that homos can hug, live together, etc., as long as they do not engage in sodomy. This is outrageous!

By constantly emphasizing that although sodomy is sinful, the homosexual inclination itself is not, and by being silent on the obligation to resist even so much as entertaining or accepting the inclination, the Vatican II Church subverts the true Catholic condemnation of homosexuality and thus ultimately furthers the agenda of the homosexual culture. Failing to say what needs to be said can be just as bad as saying something false.

But let us finally examine Bergoglio’s explosive rhetorical question: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?”

It is a good thing that Francis is starting to ask, “Who am I…?”, considering that he is neither a Catholic nor a Pope. Although it’s remarkable that he didn’t ask, “Who am I to judge?”, when it came to judging that the Franciscans of the Immaculate should no longer be permitted to have the Traditional Mass; when he judged that those who had prayed thousands of Rosaries for him were part of a dangerous “Pelagian current”; when he judged that it would be good on Maundy Thursday to wash the feet of teenage prisoners, incl. a Muslim female; and when, as “archbishop” of Buenos Aires, he reportedly permitted a homosexual “couple” to adopt a child!

No, at none of those times did it occur to him to ask himself, “Who am I to make such a judgment?”

Now, to address Francis’ question directly, it would have to be said that it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Just what is he talking about? What does he mean? He talks about “not judging” that homosexual person, but judge what about that person? In what regard?

Should he — as “Pope” — refuse to judge whether such a person be fit for ecclesiastical office? That would be a most grave negligence of his bounden duty, were he actually the Pope. Besides, whether he say yea or nay, it would be a judgment either way, so he couldn’t hide behind “I can’t judge.”

What else could Francis have meant by his comment of “not judging” such a person? Judge his intentions maybe? Frankly, intentions have very little to do with it. What difference would they make to the objective situation? None. Even with the best of intentions, such a man still couldn’t be a priest; he still couldn’t hold ecclesiastical office; he still couldn’t serve as a cleric in the Vatican. Even the Novus Ordo Church itself has decreed as much (see Nov. 4, 2005 decree by Congregation for “Catholic” Education here).

Regardless, just about the only thing this wicked world recognizes as really sinful is “judging”, and Francis has done every secularist, every liberal, every anti-Catholic a tremendous favor, while – as usual – rendering those who wish to be real Catholics a great disservice. Christ our Lord did not, of course, forbid all judging – that would be imposssible anyway, as judgment is the second act of the intellect and therefore part of human nature as created by God. Rather, our Blessed Lord forbade rash judgment; that is, reaching an unfavorable conclusion about our neighbor that is based on insufficient evidence, because this does not fulfill the requirements of justice: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment”, Christ taught (John 7:24).

It is no wonder that Francis addressed this whole issue the way he did. He is much more concerned about the problem of “lobbying” rather than the problem of clerics with same-sex attraction – in the Vatican, no less. A quick reminder may be in order here to underscore the seriousness of the problem, a problem that Francis has tried to dismiss by cavalier references to “sins of the youth” and “God forgives” talk: Same-sex attraction by nature leads to sodomy, which is a sin that is so wicked that it is one among only four that “cry to heaven for vengeance”; a sin so foul that even demons are disgusted by it! When there is evidence that your very own clergy are engaging or have previously engaged in this sort of unnatural depravity, or are prone to it, you don’t dismiss that by nonchalantly reminding people that “we’re all sinners.”

But then again, we must keep in mind that the person we are dealing with here is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, a man who believes that for a priest to “force” morality on someone’s private life constitutes “spiritual harassment”! In a 2010 book he co-authored with another non-Catholic, Jewish rabbi Abraham Skorka, Bergoglio wrote:

“Religion has a right to give an opinion [!] as long as it is in service to the people. If someone asks my advice, I have the right to give it to them. The religious minster [sic], at times, draws attention to certain points of private or public life because he is the parishioners’ guide. However, he does not have the right to force anything on anyone’s private life. If God, in creation, ran the risk of making us free, who am I to get involved? We condemn spiritual harassment that takes place when a minister imposes directives, conduct, and demands in such a way that it takes away the freedom of the other person. God left the freedom to sin in our hands. One has to speak very clearly about values, limits, commandments, but spiritual and pastoral harassment is not allowed.”

(Bergoglio and Skorka, On Heaven and Earth, Ch. 16 – see our blog post here)

Did you notice? This “who am I to judge” business is a familiar theme in Bergoglio’s “theology”. “Who am I to get involved?” he asks in all seriousness in the context of teaching people morality. We can see now that his dismissive comments regarding homosexual clergy were not at all out of the ordinary for him. They’re part of his program.

Who speaks like this? Definitely not a true shepherd, but, rather, a hireling. Our Lord warned us: “But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep” (John 10:12-13).

The “who am I to judge” comments were a perfect gift for the media and all who oppose Catholic morality; and though no doubt they are being spun and exaggerated to an extent, this is largely Bergoglio’s own fault, who himself acknowledged (in the book quoted above) that “[o]ne has to speak very clearly” about these matters, and without whose dismissive answer there would have been nothing to report.

So, Francis asks rhetorically, “Who am I to judge?” Holy Scripture may help in answering this question: “But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor 2:15). So, who is Francis to judge? Well… obviously not the spiritual man! Thanks for making it clear, Mr. Bergoglio.

It hasn’t even been 5 months yet, and barely a day goes by when Francis doesn’t say or do something heretical, outrageous, scandalous, foolish, or impious. It’s hard to imagine the damage he might do in 5 years. But not only sedevacantists are noticing this — people who believe Francis to be a true Pope, too, are starting to see the writing on the wall; some are even losing their patience with him, most notably perhaps the blogger Mundabor, as shown in the following interesting blog posts:

On the other hand, Mr. Zuhlsdorf is still trying to “read Francis through Benedict”, come hell or high water. Michael “I’d rather not cover that” Voris is still in denial, hoping his audience doesn’t find out the facts about what kind of person Francis really is (beach ball, anyone?), because if they do, they’ll also see that the image of Francis Voris has been portraying on his Vortex Snoretex broadcast is so badly distorted that one must simply call it a lie. But unlike the many other news items about Francis that he swept under the rug, Voris wasn’t quite able to ignore the “who am I to judge” story (see his Snoretex episode, “The Messy Papacy”, here), though, quite predictably, he joined the “Francis has been misrepresented by the media” chorus. And misrepresenting Francis is something he’d know a lot about.

It seems like the Church of Darkness is reaching its full measure with Anti-Pope Francis. We must pray that people will finally wake up and abandon the False Modernist Church in Rome, which seeks to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect (cf. Mt 24:24). He who has eyes to see, let him see (cf. Mk 7:16)!