Pope Francis has again indicated an openness to homosexual activity, as he has refused to affirm the Catholic teaching on chastity and celibacy for homosexuals.
Full details of the pontiff’s recent conversation with Portuguese Jesuits were released August 28. They include Pope Francis’s thoughts on homosexuality, condemnation of a “reactionary” attitude amongst American Catholics, criticism of “indietrists” and “clericalism,” and praise of the Synod on Synodality.
As part of his customary activities while on foreign trips, Pope Francis met with Jesuits from the Portuguese province while in Lisbon for World Youth Day at the start of August. The full transcript has been released by Jesuit-run La Civilta Cattolica in in Italian, English and Spanish.
As often is the case in such meetings, Pope Francis fielded questions on topics pertaining to Catholic morality and doctrine, refusing on this occasion to issue a clear answer on the topic of homosexuality. One Jesuit referenced his own work with university students, who are “very committed to the Church, to the center, very friendly with the Jesuits, and who identify as homosexuals.”
The priest stated that such students “feel that they are an active part of the Church, but they often do not see in doctrine their way of living affectivity, and they do not see the call to chastity as a personal call to celibacy, but rather as an imposition.” He queried whether the practice of homosexual activity in this instance would be wrong:
Since they are virtuous in other areas of their lives, and know the doctrine, can we say that they are all in error, because they do not feel, in conscience, that their relationships are sinful? And how can we act pastorally so that these people feel, in their way of life, called by God to a healthy affective life that produces fruit? Should we recognize that their relationships can open up and give seeds of true Christian love, such as the good they can accomplish, the response they can give to the Lord?
Pope Francis refused to directly answer that such activity would be sinful, instead stating that “I believe there is no discussion about the call being addressed to everyone. Jesus is very clear about this: everyone.”
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