According to recent reports, Pope Francis has taken his liberalization of the Catholic Church to a new level, saying in a new documentary that “homosexuals have a right to be part of a family,” in what appears to be an endorsement of same-sex civil unions – if not outright marriage. Seemingly in conflict with Biblical scripture, the endorsement came as a surprise to many Christians and even quite a few Catholics.
“I find these comments from the Pope unthinkable in light of the Word of God,” said Rev. Franklin Graham in a Facebook post. “For Pope Francis to attempt to normalize homosexuality is to say that Holy Scriptures are false, that our sins really don’t matter, and that we can continue living in them.”
Graham is known for getting his opinion out there on controversial political matters, but in this case…he’s far from the only one scratching his head over the pontiff’s latest remarks.
“No matter what a pope, pastor or elected official says, we do not get to define sexuality or the family,” said J.D. Grear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. “The Creator does, and on this, His word could not be more clear.”
It’s one thing for protestant leaders to speak out against the pope, but it’s quite another for Catholics to do the same. The pope is supposed to be infallible according to Catholic Church tradition, and that goes double for any proclamations on matters of religious doctrine. If Francis says it, that’s the way it is.
But some in the church don’t see it that way.
“Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition,” lamented Cardinal Raymond Burke. “They cause wonderment and error regarding the Church’s teaching among people of good will, who sincerely wish to know what the Catholic Church teaches. They impose upon pastors of souls the duty of conscience to make fitting and necessary clarifications. The context and the occasion of such declarations make them devoid of any magisterial weight. They are rightly interpreted as simple private opinions of the person who made them.”
Pope Francis has not hesitated to bring his liberal politics into the Catholic Church, and that has brought a considerable amount of controversy. We’ll see if Francis’s latest foray into liberalizing the Church will be successful…or the final straw.