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 John-Henry Westen /

June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Media around the world are reporting today on Pope Francis’ call for Christians to apologize and ask forgiveness of homosexuals. The Pope’s remarks came on the first anniversary of the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the United States. The comments were made in response to a reporter asking about Cardinal Reinhard Marx’s similar remarks last week in Dublin in which Marx said that up until “very recently” the Catholic Church had been “very negative about gay people,” adding that “it was a scandal and terrible.”

In answer, Pope Francis selectively quoted the Catechism, excluding any mention of problems with homosexual sexual acts. He also repeated the now-famous ‘who am I to judge’ line which has resulted in mass confusion for the last three years, phrasing it this time to say: “The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge?” (The Vatican clarified that the Pope did not mean “has a condition” but rather “in that situation.”)

He did speak at one point of “condemning,” but specifically excluded theological considerations. “One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior. … Certain manifestations are a bit too offensive for others, no?” he said, in a reference most have taken to mean ostentatious gay pride parades.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a dissident group which has previously been condemned by the Vatican, rejoiced at the Pope’s remarks, calling them “an immense blessing of healing.” He said he looks forward to “a serious re-evaluation of the hierarchy’s disapproval of committed sexual relationships of lesbian, bisexual, and gay couples.”

“No pope has said more welcoming words to LGBT people than when Pope Francis today offered his recommendation that the Church — indeed all Christians — should apologize for the harm religious traditions have caused to LGBT people,” said DeBernardo. “The pope's statement was simple, yet powerful, and it fell from his lips so easily.”

Another dissident group, DignityUSA, praised the Pope’s remarks as a “very important step in healing the relationship between the Catholic Church and LGBTQ people.” DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke said her group is now demanding changes to the Catechism. “The frank acknowledgment by the Pope that Church teachings and practices have done immense harm to LGBTQ people over the centuries—leading to such evils as violence, oppression, self-hatred, the division of families, youth homelessness, and suicide—is essential,” she said.

Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter lauded Francis’ remarks and used the occasion to slander faithful bishops. “I fear that whatever fear and hatred some hierarchs feel towards the gay community, like the killer in Orlando, it is fortified by an element of self-hatred … perhaps it is a coincidence that the loudest voices opposing the gay community come from those prelates most inclined to dress up in as much lace and watered silk as the traditional Latin Mass permits.”

Call to Action called the Pope’s words “wise” and regards them as a “welcoming and encouraging sign.” Ryan Hoffmann, Co-Executive Director, called on the Church to “act to reform teachings and practices.”

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.