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Even the Pope Slips Up

Sin is not just an outward behavior, but can manifest itself as an inward bias.

It has been reported that the Pope, in offering his opinion on “gay people” at a recent conference behind closed doors, created what will become a flashpoint of controversy on the public stance of the church vs it’s private, more derogatory position.

The Slip

The Pope was asked (details here) if the Catholic Church was now in a position to encourage gay men to train for the priesthood. His response was, no. But, continuing, in Italian, the Pope is alleged to have said that the Catholic seminaries already have “too much of an air of fagots” (a derogatory term for gay men). This statement was originally published on the Italian website, Dagospia, but has since been corroborated by a number of other news outlets and sources. More than simply a statement on Biblical sin, the term the Pope chose expressed a very offensive view of the sinner.

Damage Control

The Vatican, embarrassed by the comment and wishing to do damage control, has offered an apology and indicated that the Pope (who’s native language is Spanish, but grew up in an Italian speaking household) did not fully understand the definition of the word he used.

“There has been shock at the Pope’s reported language at this private meeting, particularly as he has often talked publicly of being respectful towards gay people…. When asked about gay people early in his papacy, he hit the headlines by responding, “Who am I to judge?”

Later, as a followup to the Pope’s statement, his official press office offered a formal apology (details here) by stating,

“Pope Francis is aware of the recent articles regarding a closed-door conversation with the bishops of the CEI [Italian Bishops’ Conference]. As he has stated on many occasions, ‘There is room for everyone in the Church, for everyone! No one is useless; no one is superfluous; there is room for everyone. Just as we are, everyone.’ The Pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he apologizes to those who felt offended by the use of a term, as reported by others.”

The Point

The point is not to demean gay people, nor to deride the head of the Catholic Church. It is to offer two important observations on humanity. First, we have a continuing sin nature that we may try to hide with an outward appearance of inclusion, love, and grace.

Matthew 23:28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

This verse was offered as a condemnation to the Pharisees, but applies to us as well.

Second, as we try to accommodate a changing culture by outwardly displaying one view, while holding another internally, this cognitive dissonance will eventually catch up with us…. even if we are the Pope.

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AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org

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