John-Henry Westen

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Pope Francis meets Yayo Grassi, left, and his homosexual partner, Iwan, at the Apostolic Nunciature on Sept. 23, 2015. Marisa Marchitelli

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VIDEO: Did Pope Francis encourage same-sex relationships?

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April 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic teaching and Sacred Scripture could not be clearer about the grave immorality of homosexual relationships.

But today, on Episode 3 of The John-Henry Westen Show, I'm going to show you one high-profile case where Pope Francis himself was disturbingly unclear about the issue.

The John-Henry Westen Show is a short weekly commentary on the most important news developments in the Church and culture. We are beginning with a series laying out the hard evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis. The show launched last week, and now appears every Tuesday.

In Episode 1, I explained why it is hard, but essential that we are willing to raise concerns about Pope Francis. Doing so is an act of charity to both the Pope and the Church.

Then in Episode 2, I discussed the Pope's harmful ambiguity on the question of cohabitation before marriage.

In today's episode, on same-sex relationships, I acknowledge that the Pope has consistently upheld that marriage can only happen between one man and one woman. But I point out that he has seemed to undermine that position in his public acts, and in particular in one high-profile instance.

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Watch Episode 3 here:

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Transcript: Did Pope Francis encourage same-sex relationships?

Did the Pope encourage same-sex relationships?

Hi. I’m John-Henry Westen, co-founder and Editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.

Because at LifeSite we have called on Pope Francis to offer clarity and pointed out some of the confusion he’s caused, some have considered LifeSite ‘anti-Catholic’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember St. Catherine of Siena. She was a lay woman who in her day called out the Pope even publicly out of love for him and love for the faith. It is in that same spirit LifeSite has taken on this difficult task. We pray for the Pope every single day.

Let’s start with a short prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is true that several times the Pope has said marriage should be between one man and one woman. However he has also confused matters gravely, especially when he came to the United States in 2015.

At the time of his visit, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, had been in the news. She after a life of failed marriages embraced Christ and stood for his truth. She refused to allow her signature on marriage licenses for homosexual couples. She was threatened with jail if she would not comply with a court order rejecting her right to conscientious objection. Heroically holding true to her beliefs she, a mother of four children, was jailed for five days.

When she met with the Pope, Davis was advised it was a private meeting and not to be made public until after the Pope left the United States. She was also forbidden to take photos of the meeting.

After the Pope’s departure her lawyer told the media about the meeting and there was massive interest. Initially the Vatican refused to confirm that the meeting had even taken place and with Davis not able to furnish proof because she was forbidden to take photos, and the Vatican of course refused to release photos, the media began to suggest she was lying.

But a couple of days later when the Vatican did finally affirm that the meeting took place, things actually got worse. On Oct. 2, then-Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement, saying that a “brief meeting” did occur but that it “should not be considered a form of support of [Davis’] position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

Lombardi noted that the "the only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.” Who was that student and his ‘family’?  Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine who was accompanied by yes his mother and sister, but also his male lover, Iwan Bagus.

At this meeting not only were photos allowed but also video. And here in the video you can see Pope Francis greeting Yayo Grassi on the left and then also embracing his homosexual partner.

As I’ve said many times, we at LifeSite would love it if the Pope would, like Christ, visit and speak to sinners with love, but of course he must also be like Christ in calling sinners to the fullness of the truth. When Christ saved the woman caught in adultery from stoning he reminded her to ‘go and sin no more’. Out of love.

But that hasn’t happened with Yayo Grassi, who has known the Pope some 40 years and been in his active homosexual lifestyle with Bagus for 20 years. As Grassi explained on CNN speaking of the Pope’s knowledge of his homosexual relationship: "He has never been judgmental. He has never said anything negative.”

The Church’s teaching on the matter is clear and loving without any hint of hatred. Same-sex attracted persons are encouraged to live lives of chastity like all people. The Scriptures and Catechism warn of the grave harm of homosexual sex acts, calling them acts of grave depravity that are abominable in the sight of the Lord.

Many doctors and psychologists have attested to the grave harm homosexual acts cause for the body and mind. But as Catholics the harm to the soul is even more severe, potentially depriving those in grave sexual sin of eternal life in heaven.

Thus it is only love which breaks the taboo of the secular culture to warn our brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction that the homosexual lifestyle is harmful. The 1986 Vatican instruction to bishops on the pastoral care of homosexual persons speaks of the necessity of “clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral.”

They said:

We wish to make it clear that departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church's position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

Our motto at LifeSite is Caritas in Veritate – the truth in love. And so it’s out of love for the Pope, and for the faith, that we want to call him to enunciate the truth and correct the errors he has taught which have harmed the faithful.

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John-Henry Westen

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

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

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.