Pope Francis: “Who am I to judge?”

Pope FrancisPope Francis has raised a few eyebrows with the way he has acted since becoming the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church.

In March, Pope Francis chose to wash the feet of 12 inmates at a juvenile detention facility in Rome, including 2 women. This outraged many traditional Catholics because they felt the Holy Thursday ritual of washing and kissing feet should be done to men, in accordance with Jesus washing the feet of the 12 Apostles.

His latest comments have come as a surprise to traditional Catholics yet again. On a plane ride back from his first foreign papal trip to Brazil, Pope Francis made remarks about the sexual orientation of priests within the Catholic Church. He said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

This is certainly a different tone compared to that of the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, who spoke about homosexuality as an “instrinsic moral evil.”

Rachel Donadio of the New York Times writes that a big reason Pope Francis has been in the news for his washing of women’s feet and comments on homosexuality is that the Catholic Church is making it a point to stay “vibrant and relevant” to issues facing Catholics today. In the past, Pope’s have been more outspoken, quiet, and dismissive in response to controversial issues facing the Catholic Church such as the role of women in the Church and homosexuality.

But Pope Francis is clearly not going to shy away. It will be interesting to see what controversial issue the Pope speaks about next.

You can read Rachel Donadio’s full article for the New York Times here.

  7 comments for “Pope Francis: “Who am I to judge?”

  1. August 7, 2013 at 8:46 am

    To say the least, the Catholic Church needs to conduct some “soul searching” on how to clean up their past and deal with it correctly.

  2. junior
    August 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    This is what thePope said – in context.

    There is so much being written about the gay lobby. I haven’t met anyone in the Vatican yet who has “gay” written on their identity cards. There is a distinction between being gay, being this way inclined and lobbying. Lobbies are not good. If a gay person is in eager search of God, who am I to judge them? The Catholic Church teaches that gay people should not be discriminated against; they should be made to feel welcome. Being gay is not the problem, lobbying is the problem and this goes for any type of lobby, business lobbies, political lobbies and Masonic lobbies.”

    Taken in context, it’s clear that the single line quoted in every story (to use the BBC’s translation, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?”) is, when printed by itself, highly misleading. Pope Francis did not dismiss, much less justify, homosexual activity; he spoke of men with homosexual desires who have already been ordained and are “in eager search of God”—men, moreover, who are not engaged in lobbying on behalf of their disordered affections. To the extent that his remarks can be generalized to the entire homosexual population, they are a call for those whose particular temptation is same-sex attraction to seek God, by (among other things) avoiding sexual sin.


  3. junior
    August 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    And to say that many “traditional Catholics” are upset about the Pope washing the feet of women is patently ridiculous. I consider myself a traditional Catholic and I know hundreds of “traditional” Catholics – NONE of them are upset about that and think it perfectly normal.

  4. Randall
    August 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Wasn’t the full quote “Who am I to judge when school board member Ken “Pray Away Gay” Williams has already judged.”

  5. Ltpar
    August 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    While not being a Catholic, I have to admit liking the way Pope Francis is starting off his tour of duty. On the matter of simplifying the Pope’s comments about Gays, I thought junior laid it out very nicely in his comments. The Pope obviously believes it is not his role to judge Priests who may be gay, but what about the act itself, which is a sin? For those men of God who find themself in that situation and who are resisting the urges, the Pope’s lack of judgement is on solid ground. At the same time, what about those Priests who fall short and sin over and over again, stooping to young boys? In the past, the Catholic heirarchy has not only turned a blind eye to such action, but helped cover it up. The question to be seen is what will the new Pope do with those repeat viiolators?

  6. Robert Lauten
    August 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Questions for Catholics:
    Which Pope is the Vicar of Christ, (from Latin Vicarius Christi), “earthly representative of God or Christ”? Is the Vicar of Christ, – Pope Francis, or Pope Benedict XVI, or both, or all Popes, or has no Pope ever been the Vicar of Christ, the “earthly representative of God or Christ”.

  7. junior
    August 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    The sitting Pope is the Vicar of Christ – from the Vatican Catechism website:

    882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.”402 “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”

    As near as I can tell there is no precise definition by the Catholic Church of the term “Vicar of Christ.”

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