Featured Image
Pope Francis meets with LGBT-activist Fr. James Martin in Rome, Sept. 30, 2019.Twitter/Screenshot

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — In his most recent remarks on homosexuality, Pope Francis appears to teach situational ethics, positing that circumstances may remove altogether the guilt of grave sin for homosexual acts. 

The comments came in response to questions sent to the Pope by fellow Jesuit Fr. James Martin, notorious for his heretical push for acceptance of homosexual unions and lifestyles within the Church. Following an interview the Pope gave to the Associated Press, which was published in several articles last week, in which the pontiff called for the decriminalization of sodomy throughout the world and branded faithful Catholic bishops defending such laws as being in need of “conversion,” Fr. Martin asked the Pope to “clarify” his comment that “Being gay is a sin.” 

“There seems to have been some confusion about your comment, ‘Being gay is a sin,’ which, of course, is not part of church teaching.” Martin wrote. “My feeling was that you were simply repeating what others might say hypothetically. So, do you think that simply being gay is a sin?”  

Pope Francis replied with a handwritten note. In the letter, he insisted that the criminalization of homosexual acts “is neither good nor just,” doubling down on what he had said in the AP interview, which was the first time a pope has ever called for the decriminalization of sodomy. “I wanted to clarify that it is not a crime, in order to stress that criminalization is neither good nor just… And I would tell whoever wants to criminalize homosexuality that they are wrong,” the Pope declared to Martin. 

Then the pontiff seemed to affirm Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are indeed a sin, just as “every sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.” However, the Pope then stated that “one must also consider the circumstances, which may decrease or eliminate fault.” As the Pope continued, he seemed to distance himself from affirming the universal objective sinfulness of such acts, saying, “As you can see, I was repeating something in general. I should have said ‘It is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of marriage.’ This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sin, but we know well that Catholic morality not only takes into consideration the matter, but also evaluates freedom and intention; and this, for every kind of sin.” 

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, contrary to what Pope Francis claimed, that circumstances can never wholly remove the guilt of grave sin for an action that is known to be gravely sinful and is yet chosen anyway. He also teaches that human choice is always free because the will cannot be forced.

If someone is externally forced to commit a bodily act, as when a woman is raped, that act is not chosen by the one who is forced. Human law acknowledges as much. So, anything that is actually chosen is freely chosen because the will is inherently free, which means that any gravely sinful action that is chosen is freely chosen. It is from this that the guilt of grave sin arises: from a gravely sinful object that is known to be such and is yet chosen.  

This teaching was reiterated and elevated to the level of definitive papal magisterium by Pope John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor, when he taught that there are certain actions which always and everywhere are gravely sinful when chosen by man, prior to and independent of any consideration of circumstances or intention. The proposal that the sinfulness of human actions can never be judged based simply upon the sinfulness of the object chosen and prior to a consideration of circumstances was expressly condemned by John Paul II as a heresy that undermines the universal prohibitions that God Himself has revealed to man in the Ten Commandments. 

Since homosexual acts, together with every sexual act outside of marriage, are objectively gravely sinful, and are known to be such by the Catholic who knows what the Church teaches, these acts cannot be chosen without incurring the guilt of mortal sin. This judgment in no way requires any consideration of circumstances or motive. As the Church has definitively taught, these acts are gravely sinful always and everywhere because of their object. When a person knowingly chooses such an object, they necessarily incur the guilt of grave sin. 

Therefore, not all moral judgments rest upon an action’s circumstances. The Church has definitively taught this, in spite of what Fr. James Martin or Pope Francis might say to the contrary. 

The Pope’s comments come amid a clear attempt within the Church’s hierarchy to regularize sodomy. Last week saw Fr. James Martin defend homosexual Pete Buttigieg’s same-sex union as a “marriage” — comments that drew fire from Bishop Joseph Strickland, who called same-sex unions “living a fiction.”  

San Diego’s Cardinal Robert McElroy then issued a lengthy letter calling for Holy Communion to be given to those who engage in homosexual acts, deriding the Church’s clear teaching on the grave sinfulness of these acts. McElroy’s letter is but the latest explicit endorsement of sodomy on the part of the cardinal, who in many ways supports and aggressively pushes for acceptance of homosexual actions and lifestyles within the Church. 

READ: LGBT agenda full speed ahead thanks to Pope Francis’ recent remarks on homosexuality