June 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – During an impromptu, July 29, 2013 press conference on his flight back from Brazil, Pope Francis uttered his famous statement, “Who am I to judge.” Since then, there has been continuing, frequent, worldwide use of that phrase to advance 'gay' rights, affirm behaviors violating Judeo/Christian moral teachings and persecute faithful Christians.
This article lists just 52 (eleven in the first report), of what are likely thousands more, specific instances of the alarming damage that the still-not-properly-clarified “Who am I to judge” statement has facilitated in the real world.
* If you are aware of additional instances not in this list, including classroom or event talks and handouts, homilies and items in bulletins or in other Church publications, news and other media headlines and reports, please email details to steve at lifesitenews.com and I will add them to the list.*
John Allen, then of the National Catholic Reporter, the leading liberal, dissident Catholic paper in the United States, wrote that Francis gave a “whopper” of an interview on the plane that day.
The moment they heard it, pro-life, pro-family and other leaders realized that the phrase, no matter the context and good intentions of Pope Francis, and given that he did not mention any of the grave dangers of active homosexuality, would be widely exploited by the Church’s enemies, both inside and outside the Church.
Certainly, from my over 35-years of experience in the culture wars, there was not the slightest doubt that there would be major negative fallout from the manner in which Francis made the statement, and how he minimized the gravity of the past homosexual behaviour of Monsignor Battista Ricca. The words “who am I to judge” were stated in Pope Francis’ response to a question about Ricca, who had been credibly accused of homosexual acts when he represented the Holy See in Uruguay from 1999 to 2001. Francis had nevertheless recently appointed Ricca to an important position in the Vatican.
The first article in the list below was published the day after the statements were made. It reports only a tiny sample of just eleven (these were only some English language ones) major media headlines that were published following the press conference, These headlines and reports, which all put a liberal interpretation on the Pope’s comments, were seen by millions.
This was exactly what I expected would happen. Numerous other headlines of a similar nature, in many nations and in numerous other languages, were published all around the world. The news media instantly understood the significance of what they had been given, intentionally or not, by Pope Francis.
The July 29 USA TODAY article wrote that “Pope Francis said Monday that he won't 'judge' gay priests, which Vatican analysts say may be the opening for a more conciliatory attitude toward gay members of the church.”
Homosexual groups were ecstatic about Francis’ remarks. In the USA Today report, “Alessandro Di Antonio, an officer with the National Union of Gay Italians in Rome” was said to have “welcomed” Francis' remarks. “It is such a great relief to hear a pope of all people talk about gay issues in a non-judgmental way like this.” He was clearly assuming the Church was now becoming “gay positive,” which of course it could never do without contradicting God Himself.
An Israeli newspaper's sub-headline read, “Pope digresses from document of predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI“.
These were typical of what media all around the world reported in response to this extraordinary comment from a Pope, a comment that was left open enough for them to suggest that the Church was changing its teaching on homosexuality, while at the same time the remark in its full context could be said to have affirmed the Church’s teachings.
However, the Ricci appointment was highly problematic in light of Pope John Paul II and Benedict’s strong pronouncements on the unsuitability of homosexuals for the priesthood, let alone their being appointed to significant posts in the Vatican.
The Holy Father's statement was also puzzling given that Catholics have always understood that a pope, more than anyone else in the Catholic Church, has the authority to make judgements on difficult moral issues. While even a pope cannot judge the state of a person's soul, he is nevertheless often required to “judge” difficult issues for the good of the Church and to prevent error and scandal.
As you can see from the items below, references to “Who am I to judge” as a justification for promoting anti-Catholic causes have continued from 2013 to today and have left a trail of wreckage damaging the Catholic faith and misguiding souls.
This phrase will likely continue to be used, indefinitely, to justify what can never be justified. It will only end when Francis or a subsequent pope makes a strong pronouncement clarifying the Church’s true teachings. In addition, there must be publicly expressed regret for the carelessness of the original response and the serious failure to adamantly and quickly correct the resulting widespread misrepresentation of Church teachings.
This was only the first of now many similar disorienting pronouncements by Pope Francis that are also being frequently quoted by enemies of authentic Christianity or Church dissidents to justify beliefs, behaviors and laws that have always been condemned by the Church.
These off-the-cuff papal statements have been adding more fuel to the fire of the great confusion in the Church that is endangering the faith and even the freedom of millions.
Examples of exploitation of “Who am I to judge” to justify the unjustifiable. Read and weep:
1) What Pope Francis could not mean regarding gay priests and what he actually said – LifeSiteNews (July 29, 2013)
A list of 11 articles that distort Pope Francis’ statement.
2) “What Pope Francis really meant with ‘Who am I to judge? – National Catholic Reporter (August 1, 2013)
Robert McClory argues that when Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge?,” he was signaling a reversal of Pope Benedict XVI’s ban of those with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” from the priesthood.
3) REAL Women attack on John Baird over anti-gay laws goes too far: editorial – Toronto Star (August 9, 2013)
In a Toronto Star editorial, former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s lobbying of Russia to drop their law prohibiting the propagation of homosexuality was said to have been in a similar spirit as Pope Francis’ query.
4) Illinois Catholic lawmakers cite Pope Francis in decision to back gay ‘marriage – LifeSiteNews (November 7, 2013)
The Chicago Tribune cited Pope Francis’s comments on homosexuality as one of the reasons why the Illinois legislature passed a same-sex “marriage” bill. House Speaker Michael Madigan asked “For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?”
5) Cordileone Still at Barricades – National Catholic Reporter (November 11, 2013)
Columnist Michael Sean Winters attempted to use Pope Francis’ line to criticize Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for defending the ability of photography studios to deny service to gay couples.
6) The Advocate's Person of the Year: Pope Francis – The Advocate (December 16, 2013)
US homosexualist magazine The Advocate named Pope Francis “person of the year” in 2013, largely due to him asking, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”
7) Pope Repeats that Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ is ‘Anthropological Regression – National Catholic Register (January 3, 2014)
According to Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Charles J. Scicluna, those promoting a bill in Malta that would extend the ability to adopt to homosexuals have quoted Pope Francis’ comment, “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
8) Catholic high school keeps lesbian drama coach about to ‘marry’ after dismissing gay vice-principal – LifeSiteNews (January 10, 2014)
When Mark Zmuda, the vice-principal at Eastside Catholic School in Seattle, resigned after it came out that he was married to another man, which violated his hiring contract, students organized demonstrations in support of him. One of their signs read, “If someone is gay…who am I to judge. Keep Mr. Z.”
9) Lesbian Couple Denied Communion At Mother’s Funeral By Catholic Priest; Carol Parker and Josie Martin ‘Shocked – Huffington Post (February 5, 2014)
When speaking to media about being denied communion at Carol Parker’s mother’s funeral because of their same-sex partnership, both Carol Parker and Josie Martin mentioned the Pope’s widely-misused phrase “Who am I to judge?” in their defence.
10) Who Am I to Judge?’ Pope Francis T-Shirt Celebrates Diversity and Promotes Archetypes Not Stereotypes – PR Newswire (February 27, 2014)
‘Archetypes’ reveals a t-shirt with the slogan “Who Am I to judge?” and with Pope Francis’ face. It was said to be “especially timely” because it coincided with the news that Ellen Page and Michael Sam are homosexual.
11) Kentucky AG claims decision not to defend marriage was ‘shaped partly’ by Pope Francis – LifeSiteNewsMarch 6, 2014
Kentucky Attorney General and Catholic Democrat Jack Conway informed Time magazine that his decision not to fight a federal judge’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex “marriages” was “shaped partly by statements from Pope Francis that encouraged openness toward gays,” including “Who am I to judge?”
12) Federal judge imposes first same-sex ‘marriage’ in one of Mexico’s most conservative states – LifeSiteNews (March 21, 2014)
Mexican newspaper Milenio cites “Whom am I to judge?” in explanation for a lack of protest against a “marriage” between two lesbians in León, Guanajuanto.
13) Nigerian bishops defend same-sex ‘marriage’ ban after critics claim it’s out of touch with Pope – LifeSiteNews (March 25, 2014)
Critics alleged the Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s support of a bill prohibiting same-sex “marriage” is contrary to the Pope’s position.
14) Mexican bishop baptizes child raised by lesbian couple – LifeSiteNews (May 30, 2014)
Mexican bishop Mons. Raul Vera Lopez said about baptizing the daughter of two lesbians: “To receive baptism there is a preparation, and during these talks certain values are made clear. The Pope already said it: Who am I to judge?”
15) Archbishop to Pelosi, critics: No, I won’t drop March for Marriage – LifeSiteNews (June 16, 2014)
In two letters asking San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone not to participate in the March for Marriage, including one signed by Nancy Pelosi, Pope Francis’ statement “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” was quoted.
16) ‘Who Am I To Judge?’ Goes Viral – The Remnant Newspaper (June 25, 2014)
Friars from St. Anthony’s Shrine in Boston had a booth at the Boston Gay Pride Festival with a banner reading “Who am I to judge?” in rainbow lettering.
17) Exclusive: Pope’s friend Cardinal Hummes clarifies Jesus gay ‘marriage’ remarks – LifeSiteNews (August 19, 2014)
When asked by Brazil’s ZH News if a homosexual couple could receive the sacraments or become godfathers, Cardinal Claudio Hummes replied, “The pope has said something very important ‘If a homosexual seeks God, who am I to judge him?’ People must be respected.”
18) LGBT activists laud ‘new direction’ of Vatican Synod on the Family – LifeSiteNewsOctober 13, 2014
Homosexual activists are hopeful that Catholic doctrine on sexuality could change. Michael Brinkschroeder, co-president of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups said “Francis has given signals for bishops to start pastoral work and dialogue,” and mentioned the Pope’s line “Who am I to judge?”
19) Vatican signals relaxed stance on gays, birth control, divorce – Toronto Star (October 13, 2014)
Writer Nicole Winfield partially attributes a preliminary report from the Synod on the family, which encourages looking at the “positive” aspects of civil unions and cohabitation and valuing the sexual orientation of gays, to the bishops taking into consideration comments from the Pope, including “Who am I to judge?”
20) Homosexual activist Elton John: Pope Francis ‘is my hero’ – LifeSiteNews (October 29, 2014)
Homosexual singer Elton John praised Pope Francis, specifically his comment “Who am I to judge?,” saying, “He did more with those five words than the last five popes. He is my hero.”
21) Ottawa Catholic School Board allows grade 6 project on ‘gay rights’ amidst media pressure – LifeSiteNews (November 28, 2014)
Ottawa Catholic School Board Chairman Ted Hurley cites “Whom am I to judge?” to justify allowing two grade six students to do a project on “gay rights.”
22) Archdiocese Letter Warns Employees About Supporting Same-Sex Marriage – NBC 6 South Florida (January 5, 2015)
Report asserts that Miami Archbishop Wenski’s letter to Church employees reminding them not to publicly dissent with Catholic teaching in light of the legalization of homosexual “marriage” in Florida is part of a debate within the Church about same-sex couples and that Pope Francis’ comment was “a possible sign that the church's position could evolve.”
23) Illinois bishop who led exorcism over gay ‘marriage’ to offer homily at Phoenix Red Mass, lawmakers boycott – LifeSiteNews (January 12, 2015)
Unhappy that the Phoenix Catholic diocese selected strongly pro-life, pro-family Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki as preacher for its annual Red Mass, homosexual Democrat told the East Valley Tribune, which claimed that the Pope “does not have any problem with people being gay” and cited the Pope’s popular quip, he “would follow the pope’s lead instead of the bishop’s lead on this.” Republican representative Kate Brophy McGee expressed similar sentiments.
24) Who am I to judge? – LifeSiteNews (March 23, 2015)
Cardinal Dolan said “I would have no sense of judgment on him” when asked about football player Michael Sam coming out as a homosexual.
25) Hundreds march to protest San Francisco archbishop’s plan to uphold Catholic identity in schools – LifeSiteNews (April 1, 2015)
Among the slogans on the signs at a protest against San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for attempting to preserve Catholic principles in local archdiocesan high schools was “Who am I to judge?”
26) Wealthy San Francisco donors petition Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Cordileone – LifeSiteNews (April 16, 2015)
In a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle, a group of Catholics ask for Pope Francis to oust local Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Part of the ad declares: “Instead of your famous words 'Who Am I to Judge,' Archbishop Cordileone repeatedly labels the behavior of our fellow brothers and sisters (and their children) as 'gravely evil’…”
27) France’s Gay Ambassador-Nominee Poses Special Challenges for ‘Who am I to judge’ Pope Francis – The Washington Post (April 23, 2015)
Reporter Michelle Boorstein perceives that Pope Francis faces a potential conflict with the nomination of a French gay man as ambassador to the Holy See given the Pope’s pondering “Who am I to judge?”
28) Ontario New Democrat invokes Pope Francis at protest pushing sex-ed – but aide can’t explain why – LifeSiteNews (June 9, 2015)
When the communications assistant for social radical NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) was asked why DiNovo invoked Pope Francis’ name at a sex-ed rally, she said: “Pope Francis has said on a few occasions that who is he to judge…”
29) Dear Pope Francis, What Happened to ‘Who Am I to Judge?’ – The Christian Review (June 22, 2015)
Publisher and editor at The Christian Review, Deal Hudson, considers it hypocritical of the Pope to condemn any involvement in the manufacturing of weapons and to ask why the Allies didn’t bomb railway lines when he has also asked, “Who am I to judge?”
30) Santorum: Pope’s ‘Who Am I To Judge?’ Means ‘Love the Sinner and Condemn the Sin’ – The New Civil Rights Movement (July 14, 2015)
CNN’s Chris Cuomo, unhappy that Rick Santorum wants a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between a man and a woman, asked him, “Why aren’t you more like your pope?” Santorum informed Cuomo that the pope doesn’t support a change in the definition of marriage. His explanation that the pope’s line referred to respecting the dignity of all human life and loving the sinner while hating the sin was mocked by writer David Badash.
31) The Pope Francis Statement That Changed the Church on LGBT Issues – Time (July 28, 2015)
Executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Christopher Hale considers the Pope’s candid interview indicative that the Church is “evolving” on LGBT issues and that his position is in contrast to Pope Benedict XVI’s view that gay marriage is a threat to world peace.
32) German Bishops’ Conference website promotes homosexual unions as sacrament – LifeSiteNews (August 27, 2015)
In his book, Who Am I to Judge? Homosexuality and the Catholic Church, German moral theologian Stephan Goertz calls for an end to the condemnation of homosexual acts.
33) Oregon Catholic school changes policy to allow teacher in gay ‘marriage’ – LifeSiteNews (September 2, 2015)
Prior to adding sexual orientation to its equal employment policy, St. Mary’s Academy in Portland rescinded a job offer to a lesbian planning to marry her same-sex partner, prompting a group of students and alumni to make gay pride t-shirts with the phrase “Who am I to judge?” spray-painted on them in protest.
34) ‘Ultra conservative’ California archbishop sees similarities with pope” – The Guardian (September 22, 2015)
Reporter Anita Chabria calls San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s statement that Catholic teachers “not visibly contradict our values” and that an organization may be selective about who to include in furthering its mission “a long way from ‘who am I to judge?’”
35) LGBT group at New York City Catholic parish participates in, promotes gay ‘Pride’ – LifeSiteNews (October 6, 2015)
“Out at St Paul,” an LGBT group operating out of Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City and promoting practices contrary to Church teaching like gay pride events, made a Facebook post saying that the Pope’s remarks “have been seen as an encouraging change of tone from the papacy…”
36) The synod answers: ‘Who am I to judge?’ – National Catholic Reporter (October 30, 2015)
Douglas W. Kmiec of the National Catholic Reporter writes that the bishops of the synod on the family, by not taking a more liberal approach to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics or same-sex couples, have taken it upon themselves to act as judges.
37) Detroit parish priest calls gay unions ‘sacred and sacramental’ – LifeSiteNews (December 18, 2015)
Father Ronald Victor of the Archdiocese of Detroit attended his nephew’s “wedding” to another man and expressed disappointment and anger that he couldn’t have officiated it. He also said that while he is not aware of all the sins of those receiving Communion, “As long as they’re seeking God, who am I to judge?”
38) Pope Takes Sides Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Marriage Equality Referendum In Slovenia – The New Civil Rights Movement (December 19, 2015)
Writer Jean Ann Esselink identifies the Pope’s request that Slovenians vote to reject same-sex “marriage” as an act of judgment, and interprets it as a betrayal of the hope he inspired with his earlier comment “Who am I to judge?”
39) Eucharistic Congress speaker claims Catholics too focused on what homosexuals are ‘doing in bed’ – LifeSiteNews (January 28, 2016)
A Dominican priest and recent Vatican appointee Father Timothy Radcliffe, who reportedly said that homosexual activity can “be expressive of Christ’s self gift,” urged Catholics to “be open to gay people” and less focused on what homosexuals are “doing in bed.” He said: “I must be a help. I must not be a hindrance. Everybody’s on their journey, and Pope Francis said, ‘Who am I to judge?’”
40) Quebec Catholic parish invites cohabitating and same-sex couples to renew ‘conjugal commitment’ – LifeSiteNews (May 27, 2016)
Sainte-Anne’s Parish in Quebec, prompted by the Pope’s infamous line, replaced their annual “Feast of Fidelity” for married couples with a new “Feast of Love,” which was extended to include same-sex and cohabitating couples.
41) Spanish cardinal doubles down on rebuke of ‘gay empire’ amid attacks – LifeSiteNews (June 1, 2016)
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, archbishop of Valencia was criticized for his sermon cautioning parishioners about present day attacks on the family. The governor of Valencia, Ximo Puig, quoted Pope Francis’s question, “Who am I to judge?,”when expressing his disapproval with the sermon.
42) Dutch priest jubilant after giving Pope Francis his book of pro-gay homilies – LifeSiteNews (June 24, 2016)
Gay news sites in the Netherlands are more forthright: commenting on the event, one of them recalled the Pope’s words “Who am I to judge,” and: “It’s not a problem to be a homosexual, no, we should be brothers.” They are definitely using the event as proof that the Church is changing.