On January 28, the French Catholic newspaper La Croix carried an article in English by Robert Mickens titled “The First Gay Pope.”1 Although Bill Clinton is white—the author argues—he was called the “first Black president” in the United States because he pursued a pro-Black policy.
Mickens writes, “For many of the same reasons that Clinton has been called the ‘the first Black president,’ one could argue that Pope Francis deserves to be known as the ‘first gay pope.’”
For Mickens, although Pope Francis has not changed Catholic doctrine, “he has—in a real sense—changed everything in terms of attitude and ethos, just by his own personal approach to gay people.”
One can attempt to change Catholic doctrine through words and also acts, gestures, and attitudes.2 In this sense, one can say that Pope Francis acts as if Catholic doctrine that the sin of sodomy is “intrinsically evil” were no longer true.
Catholic doctrine on homosexual sin, adultery, or on any point of defined truths and morals can never change. Our Lord was emphatic: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31).
Science Is Not Above Divine Revelation
The above statement notwithstanding, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg and a Jesuit like Pope Francis, stated in a recent interview with KNA, the German Catholic news agency, that the Church needs to change its doctrine on homosexual relationships: “I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.”3
The cardinal’s statement is erroneous both from the scientific and theological points of view. From a scientific point of view, no one has discovered a “homosexual gene,” proving that a homosexual would be “born that way” and, therefore, that homosexuality is innate.4 From the theological point of view, Church doctrine is based on divine Revelation, not on experimental sciences.
The KNA article continues: “The cardinal said it was time for a fundamental revision of church teaching, and suggested the way Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in doctrine.”
Cardinal Hollerich is president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and general rapporteur of the Synod of Bishops.
The German Synodal Way Approves Homosexual Acts
On February 5, the participants of the German Synodal Way, a local harbinger of what the Synod on Synodality will be universally, approved a document denying Catholic doctrine on homosexual sin.
The text on the “Magisterial Reassessment of Homosexuality” was approved by 174 votes against 22, with 7 abstentions. It proposes that “passages 2357—2359 and 2396” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality and chastity should “be revised.” The document further states: “Likewise, the relevant passages in the 2005 Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 492)5 should be changed. In the compendium, ‘homosexual acts’ must be removed from the list of ‘grave sins against chastity.’”6
The Catechism section that the German Synodal Way wants to reform recalls Church traditional doctrine on homosexuality: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (Gen. 19:1-29; Rom. 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6-10, 1 Tim: 1-10) tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’ [CDF Persona Humana, 8]. They are contrary to the natural law. . . . Under no circumstances can they be approved.”7
Changing these Catechism sections is to change Catholic doctrine as it has always been taught and practiced, based on Divine Revelation and natural law. It is to abandon the Catholic Church and form a new religion.
God Allows the Righteous to Be Tempted Like Job
We know the Church is indefectible and that any attempt to change its perennial doctrine or hierarchical structure is in vain. Anyone who subscribes to doctrines or morals different from what the Church has always taught distances himself from the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.8
However, just as God allowed the devil to tempt righteous Job in the Old Testament, that his faithfulness might shine through the trial (see Job, 1:6-22), so He permits Catholics today to pass through this great tribulation.
Various bad popes have ruled the Church during its 2,000-year history. We must resist evil popes out of fidelity and obedience to Holy Mother Church. However, we must never confuse resisting a pope’s errors with wrongheaded efforts to abolish the legitimate prerogatives of the papacy, instituted as these were by Our Lord Jesus Christ as the foundation of His Church (see Matt. 16:18).
Plunged into this mysterious and apocalyptic situation, we know deep in our hearts that God is faithful and, as Saint Paul says, He will not allow temptations beyond our strength: “And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Confidence in the Protection of Our Lady
Confident in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s loving concern and protection, let us have no doubts that this trial will pass and the Church will shine again in all her splendor.
“Mater mea, Fiducia mea!”—My Mother, my Confidence!
- Robert Mickens, “The First Gay Pope,” La Croix, Jan. 28, 2022, //international.la-croix.com/news/letter-from-rome/the-first-gay-pope/15560.
- See Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, Can Documents of the Magisterium of the Church Contain Errors? Can the Catholic Faithful Resist Them? trans. John R. Spann and José Aloisio A. Schelini (Spring Grove, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property-TFP, 2015), 47ff, //tfp.org/can-documents-of-the-magisterium-of-the-church-contain-errors-can-the-catholic-faithful-resist-them/.
- “Top EU Cardinal Calls for Change in Church Teaching on Gay Relationships,” National Catholic Reporter, Feb. 2, 2022, //www.ncronline.org/news/quick-reads/top-eu-cardinal-calls-change-church-teaching-gay-relationships.
- See TFP Committee on American Issues, Defending A Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same-Sex “Marriage and the Homosexual Movement (Spring Grove, Penn.: The American Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, 2004), ch. 11, //tfp.org/images/books/Defending_A_Higher_Law.pdf.
- See Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 492, accessed Feb. 14, 2022, //www.vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html#%C3%82%E2%80%9CYou%20Shall%20Love%20Your%20Neighbour%20as%20Yourself%C3%82%E2%80%9D
- „Lehramtliche Neubewertung von Homosexualität,“ Der Synodale Weg, accessed Feb. 14, 2022, //www.synodalerweg.de/fileadmin/Synodalerweg/Dokumente_Reden_Beitraege/SV-III-Synodalforum-IV-Handlungstext.LehramtlicheNeubewertungVonHomosexualitaet-Lesung1.pdf.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357, //www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P85.HTM.
- See Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “The Heretic Excludes Himself From the Church, ‘Being Condemned by His Own Judgment,’” TFP.org, Jul. 3, 2019, //tfp.org/the-heretic-excludes-himself-from-the-church-being-condemned-by-his-own-judgment/.