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(The Concourse) FRANCESCO: The Pope never endorsed homosexuals

While we were dealing with #EndSARS protests and the #Lekkimassacre, a documentary – “Francesco” that premiered on Wednesday October 21 2020, at Rome Film Festival has set the world media jiggling.

And our weekly Tuesday discourse — The Concourse has to make an unusual weekend appearance for the sake of her numerous readers who may fall prey to, and whose faith may be affected by the apostasy that is being decorated by pressmen.

The said documentary featured fresh interviews with the Pope and touches on his several trademark issues: environment, migration, poverty and income inequalities and the people affected by discrimination etc.

The author, Jude Eze
The author, Jude Eze

However, his impeccable teaching in those topic never caught the attention of the media like his statement on Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBT).

The pope said: “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They’re children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family nor make their life miserable because of this. What we need to have is civil union, that way their rights are protected.”

Minutes after the movie, journalists made erroneous headlines off the statement:

“Pope Francis endorses Gay marriage.”

This triggered social media virulent attacks from and among those who doesn’t have direct access to the news source, and who don’t understand Spanish, the language in which the Pontiff made the statement. Many, ridiculously called to question, the dogma of papal infallibility.

For those who are yet to come to terms with the traditions of the Catholic Church, the doctrine of papal infallibility provides that the pope is divinely immune from error whenever he speaks “ex cathedra” (from his seat of authority) in matters of faith and morality.

This prerogative means that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra—that is, when in the exercise of his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians he defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole Church—is, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in Apostle Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals (Matt. 16:18).

In this case, (though he may not have spoken “ex cathedra”) he granted the interview as Pope.

In the last 48 hours, I have intercepted thousands of Catholics, redundant Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, Agnostics and Atheists who parade as ‘critics’ grow teeth against the Magisterium (the teaching authority of church) over their misconception of the Pope’s message.

I know that Vatican will soon clear the air on the misconceptions. Yes! They did it in 2018, after another round of misrepresentation of the church’s standing on LGBT. But until then, those who are in desperate and genuine need of clarification on the subject should have the following information:

1. The Catholic faith has always been a church of “ecclesia semper reformanda” – “a holy community in constant need of sanctification,” (i.e, a church of saints and sinners). She has in her family, saints who were sinners and sinners who are striving to be saints (Eph. 2:19, Rom. 1:7,  Rom.16:2).

2. The Church from the apostolic age has always anchored her preachings on “Interfice errorem, sed diligere errantem” – “condemn sins but love sinners.” She learnt this from her master who refused to stone the woman caught in the very act of adultery (Jn. 8:7). Pope Francis just did same to the world who were waiting on him to cast the first stone on the LGBTs.

Why will you kill homosexuals, or deny them their inalienable human rights? Ignoble, their lifestyle may be, but they are full fledged humans and children of Abraham as well. Granted they may be disobedient children of God, but remember our God do welcome them back once they repent (LK. 15:20-24). He’s a patient God. He allows both the good seed and weed to grow together awaiting the day of judgement (Matt. 13:24-30).

Pressmen are not holier than Christ who taught her all these tenets.

You remember Melmet Ali Agcar? The Moslem man who shot the Pope in Vatican on May 13, 1981? Was his evil action condemned? Of course Yes! But was his person condemned? Never!

And that was why it was easy for the Pope to forgive him, especially when he repented. He left his native land Turkey as a terrorist to Vatican. But returned from Vatican a good man.

The Prince of Apostles won him over! Today he is a happy man and a father of four. Take your time and read LK. 15:7.

3. The church has always been the pillar of morality in a decadent world. She refutes abortion, artificial contraceptions, murder under any guise, homosexuality (sodomy) etc. Her standing on all these are incontrovertible. Twisting Pope’s statement will never make her change her stand.

4. The mother church has faced and survived more lethal attacks and misrepresentations in her over 2000 years of active evangelical life. She has survived the sword of empires both within and without. The present media attack on her Supreme pontiff is not even worse than the attacks she recieved when she put forth her doctrines on Mariology, Veneration of saints and holy Images, the use of sacramentals, and when she refused granting homosexuals the sacraments etc.

If you are a Catholic, a Christian that worth the name, you don’t even need all these explanation to understand that the Pope was misinterpreted and never endorsed homosexuality. But if you are not, no amount of explanation will change your conviction about the same subject. The act of sexual immortality remains condemned and condemnable. But to those who commit it, our Lord through His church lures to repentance and salvation. The language through which she preached it matters not. The core of the message does.

✍Eze Jude O.

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