NEW YORK, August 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, and Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona have all released public statements explaining Pope Francis’ remarks on homosexuality made on the plane Monday returning from Rio.
The main focus was on these remarks of Pope Francis: “A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society. The problem isn’t this (homosexual) orientation — we must be like brothers and sisters.”
All three bishops point to Francis’ remarks as a restatement of traditional Catholic teaching on the matter, seeing the massive media attention as an opportunity to point out the Church’s loving stance.
Pope Francis’ remarks reiterate Catholic teaching that the Church is open to all people, including those with same-sex attractions, but homosexual activity is contrary to the Gospel of Christ — just as all sexual activity outside of marriage would be. A priest must be able to live a healthy, celibate lifestyle, whether or not he has ever experienced same-sex attractions.
I also take this opportunity to emphasize that people with same-sex attractions deserve compassion, respect and sensitivity, and that every sign of unjust discrimination must be avoided.
I am delighted that the Holy Father continues to lead us in Christ’s footsteps and that his message of love and truth has reached so many people. I pray that our clergy, religious, laity and especially our youth will take up his call and bring the light of faith to the world.
On his Facebook page, Bishop Morlino wrote that he agrees with Pope Francis. “A ‘good will’ is ordered toward the good – in conformity with the natural law,” he said. “A ‘good will’ wills good actions. It wills not to perform certain other behaviors. With regard to sexuality: a good will leads to chaste behavior. This is what the Pope means by his remarks.”
Cardinal Dolan made his clarifications on the CBS TODAY show.
“What the pope is saying is, don't forget there's another element to God's teaching, namely that we treat everybody with dignity and respect, that we don't judge their heart, that we love and respect them,” he told TODAY's Matt Lauer.
“There is no way this could be interpreted as a change in church doctrine or the church's faith and morals. It is a change in tone,” he said. “It's been a pretty clear teaching of the church based on the words of Jesus that we can't judge people; we can judge actions,” he added. “Homosexual people deserve love, respect, and dignity, while homosexual acts are immoral.”