VATICAN CITY, April 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis caused a man who identified as homosexual to cry when he told him that a person has “dignity” no matter if the person has homosexual tendencies “like this or has an attitude like this.”
The man later interpreted the Pope’s words as an affirmation of his homosexuality and a message against those “who hold extreme religious views of anti-homosexuality.”
The BBC, Britain’s national broadcaster, sent a mixed group of local celebrities, of many faiths and none, on the recently re-established Via Francigena Catholic pilgrimage route for a three-part reality show. Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome aired the last three Fridays in Lent. During the final episode, broadcast on Good Friday, the British celebrities had a private audience with Pope Francis.
Tonight, @BBCTwo's #Pilgrimage: The Road To Rome comes to an emotional and extraordinary end as the eight famous pilgrims are granted an audience with The Pope: https://t.co/t0fGHbJbqn pic.twitter.com/rKr3TNmLcZ
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) April 19, 2019
During the meeting, black gay comedian Stephen K. Amos told the pontiff, through an interpreter, that he didn’t feel accepted.
“I lost my mother, (and) three months ago I buried my twin sister, who were both very religious. So me coming on this pilgrimage, I was looking for answers and faith,” he said. “But as a gay man, I don’t feel accepted.”
“It is not good to privilege the adjective (“gay”) over the noun (“man”),” Francis replied in Italian. “Each of us is a person, has a dignity. If this person is like this or has an attitude like this or has a tendency like this, this does not detract from his dignity as a person.”
“People who prefer to choose or discard the person for the adjective are people who do not have a human heart.”
In its subtitles, the BBC wrongly represented Pope Francis as having said “It doesn’t matter who you are, or how you live your life, you do not lose your dignity.”
The camera then moved to Amos, shown wiping his eyes with a handkerchief.
“I feel myself among brothers, and I have never asked you what is the faith of any of you or your confession because you have a basic faith in humanity,” the pontiff continued.
“Those of you who are believers, pray for me, and those who do not believe, wish me a good journey, so that I not be a traitor.”
If the pontiff mentioned his faith in Christ, it was left out of the BBC’s final edits. He was recorded telling the pilgrims that with or without adherence to a creed, life was a human pilgrimage greater than the Via Francigena.
Amos, at the end of this final episode, said the pontiff had said that adjectives used to describe people are “meaningless.”
“Every human has his own dignity,” he added. “To be frank, his candid and honest response blew my mind. That’s what I’ve been searching for, for a long time.”
However, according to the New York Post, Amos later interpreted Pope Francis’ comments as an attack on people who believe homosexuality and abortion are wrong.
“He’s saying those who hold extreme religious views of anti-homosexuality or anti-abortion don’t have a human heart and that is huge,” Amos said without presenting evidence.
The comedian has told several reporters that if Pope Francis had given him the answer he was expecting he would have walked out.
“He gave me faith in humanity. He knows his response to my question … will have ramifications around the world,” Amos stated.
Pope Francis never mentioned abortion during his appearance on the BBC2 reality show.
During the program, the lone Catholic participant, Irish singer Dana Rosemary Scallon, shared her faith with the others, whereas Amos and other non-religious celebrities voiced their discomfort with the Catholic Church or the more overtly Catholic aspects of the traditional Catholic pilgrimage route.
Amos adverted to his own opposition to the Catholic Church several times. In contrast, the Jewish and Muslim celebrities, actress Lesley Joseph and TV hostess Mehreen Baig, were more tolerant and even participated in a traditional Catholic blessing ceremony.
In the second episode, Amos told his fellow celebrities that he didn’t think that there was any organized religion or faith that embraced him because he was a gay man. Another non-Catholic opined that the Catholic Church taught that being gay was “fundamentally wrong” and that both his gay brother and Amos were “screwed.” However, singer Dana was able to witness against the stereotype of the hate-filled Catholic cited by both men.
“I also have many friends who are gay that I love very much … ” the singer revealed and pointed out that even in the gay community there is diversity of thought and people who believe that the sacrament of marriage “shouldn’t be shifted from where it has been: between a man and a woman.”
Dana also described what it is like to be vilified for believing in traditional marriage.
“It’s also very difficult if as a Catholic you believe that a gay person should be given every respect and every protection under the law, but that marriage should be as it has always been, between a man and a woman,” she said.
“And yet if you say that, you are suddenly identified as being homophobic. … Even within our Church it’s a very contentious issue at this time.”
In response, Amos said that if everyone spoke as Dana did, the world would understand the Catholic position.
“The way you said that so eloquently, if that was the message given out by the Church, then people would understand,” Amos said.
However, Dana did not say anything the Church has not already been saying for decades. The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) clearly underscores that people with same-sex attraction should be treated with respect.
In Section 2358, the CCC reads: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
In this sense, Catholics hold that the homosexual inclination is “disordered”, i.e. it does not aim at that for which God created the sexual instinct.
The voiceover for Pilgrimage: the Road to Rome characterized Pope Francis as “bringing change to the Church and making the institution more tolerant and inclusive.”