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Analysis: How the Washington Post is opening the path to use the pope against the Catholic Church

By Alejandro Bermudez for CNA

(Image: Eric Vandeville)

Denver Newsroom, Oct 23, 2020 / 11:05 pm (CNA).- Amid an international fracas over Pope Francis’ words on civil unions in a newly released documentary, the pope’s remarks have begun to be used to criticize Catholic organizations facing ongoing religious liberty challenges in the U.S. – despite the pope’s very public alignment with these organizations on the issues of same sex marriages and adoptions.

In “Francesco,” a documentary that premiered Wednesday, Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws, saying that homosexual couples need to be “covered” by the state.

The pope also affirmed that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” emphasizing that “nobody should be thrown out” of a family because of homosexuality, or “be made miserable.” Since the documentary’s release, those remarks have been proven to relate to children ostracized in their families because of their sexual orientation, while in the film they are presented absent this context, the result of heavy editing, with ambiguous implications.

The pope’s remarks have been distorted  to suggest a tacit endorsement of adoption by same-sex couples, something Pope Francis has actually consistently opposed during – and prior to– his pontificate.

The Supreme Court is set to hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia on Nov. 4, a case that could impact faith-based adoption and foster care agencies affected by state and local non-discrimination ordinances around the country.

In 2018, the city of Philadelphia notified Catholic Social Services, as well as Bethany Christian Services, that their policies of not working with same-sex couples on foster care placements were discriminatory; the city stopped contracting with both services.

Catholic Social Services declined to alter its policy and has not had any new foster care placements through the city.

Litigation against the city was filed by Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, who have fostered more than 40 children. The lawsuit has now made its way to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post’s editorial board commented on the case:

“The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear a case about whether a Catholic social services agency is entitled to continue receiving public funds if it refuses to place children in foster care with same-sex couples. Is the church’s position in that case consistent with the pope’s humane assessment that all people are entitled to enjoy the blessings of family life?”

The Post’s editorial did not reference the Pope’s clear record on the issue of such adoptions.

The pope does not support the adoption of children by same-sex couples. He has said that through such adoptions children are “deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God.” He has also said that “every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.”

In fact, according to a long-time theological advisor of the pope, Archbishop Victor Fernandez, the pope’s long-standing opposition to gay marriage is, in part, motivated by his basic Catholic understanding that children should have both a mother and a father. In Argentina, it is well known that Francis’ openness to a civil union law in 2010 was based on his hope that compromise on civil unions would forestall gay marriage, and with it the redefinition of the family.

Efforts to redefine the family through same-sex marriage, Francis said in 2015, “threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.”

Despite that evidence, it seems unlikely that the Washington Post will be the last outlet or organization to make use of the pope’s words to suggest that Catholic organizations should change their policies.

While his meaning was not the same, the pope’s assertion that same-sex couples “have a right to a family,” makes use of a phrase that has been used by LGBT activists in many countries for the past two decades to insist on the legal right for gay couples to adopt. That phrase, quite apart from the context, is almost certain to become a rallying cry for advocates who want to claim falsely the pope’s support for their initiatives, both in the U.S., and elsewhere.

On Thursday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked his country’s legislature to consider a same-sex marriage bill, citing the words of the pope. In the developing world, Maduro will not be the last politician to use that approach.

While spin is rampant, and is likely to increase, and while the Holy See has yet to address the controversy, one thing is clear: there is no evidence to suggest that pope has deviated from his long and public opposition to same sex marriage and adoption by same sex couples.

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  1. The big mistake is for Catholics to give so much weight to what the pope says. He’s just a man, and in the present case a flawed man. So unless it’s ex cathedra, disregard anything the pope says.

    • You can not disregard because he is the leader of the Catholic church, his public personal opinion affects the world as we see in this article.

        • Hmm. Not sure I agree with that one.
          If I, a lowly individual, can speak up and say “Hey! I did NOT mean that. You twisted my words!” then the Pope is capable of doing so. And he has not done so. Basically silence from him and the rest of the hierarchy.
          One must conclude that he is pretty much okay with how things are going. He has given numerous interviews, participated in activities that are “confusing” (the Pachamama ceremoney being just one example), and shows no signs of stopping. Look at whom he surrounds himself. To whom he gives a Cardinal cap, and to whom he does not.
          I think it is pretty easy to conclude he, personally, is okay with civil unions/homosexual marriage/whatever you want to call it.

    • Ex cathedra is not meant literally, and while the new Latin Code of Canon Law has tried to elaborate under what conditions infallibility applies, following speculations by Latin theologians, those conditions are not to be found in Vatican I. When is the pope not presumptively speaking as universal teacher re: faith and morals? Only when it is obvious that he is not.

  2. Bergoglio at best is simply a man unsuited for a position which requires the greatest diplomacy and discretion. On top of that his spiritual and theological underpinning is abysmal. Peter Kolvenbach, SJ [Superior General 1983 – 2008] told Pope John Paul when the idea of elevating Bergoglio to the episcopate arose that Bergoglio was emotionally unstable and temperamentally unreliable. The only thing missing in that evaluation was “theologically erroneous.”
    The world lives with the tragic consequence of a precise and accurate evaluation being ignored.
    The Pope has brought this not only upon himself, but all of us. The Washington Post is not the villain.

    • Tell me, where is this supposed Kolvenbach report? Why has no one ever seen it, and why is it merely a rumor spread by extremist traditionalist circles, who constantly make things up about the Catholic church and its popes? Pope Francis has been a terrible pope, but lets not lie about things

  3. Nevertheless….
    Has anyone seen the McCarrick report? Hmmm, no.
    The laity are entitled to read it. But to our bishops, lots of them, this report is poison.
    It will not see the light of day. Bet on it.

  4. No, the “path” is being opened by the Pope himself. He has made countless confusing statements that suggest heterodoxy on all sorts of issues. And on the rare occasions that “clarifications” are offered, they have done nothing to suggest a more Catholic interpretation.

  5. The spirit of the world is alive and well and finds joy in the confusion caused by the Pope when he speaks of it in terms of worldly things.

  6. Yeah, right, “ there is no evidence to suggest that pope has deviated from his long and public opposition to same sex marriage and adoption by same sex couples.“

    Except that the Vatican has been questioned point blank to clarify the remarks. They have declined to do it. To write “ the Holy See has yet to address the controversy” ignores that they have had many opportunities to do precisely that, but have refused to do so.

    So confusion reigns, left-wing media has a field day, and the faithful are offended and dispirited at least wrt the Bergoglio papacy.

  7. The pope affirming the sanctity of marriage and that adoption for a family with both mother and father is the churches teaching is missing the point…the real issue is although he reinforces those points he separates in his mind that from the physical act of cannot separate the two. You would by default approve of this act by giving accent to civil unions something that cannot be done

  8. The Pope’s silence is speaking for him. Even with the words being taken out of context or spliced together, the fact that he and the Vatican remains silent gives tacit approval of those comments. Additionally they gave an award to the filmmaker!

    This is not another case where he can compare himself to Christ and remain silent, which was in error before due to the legitimate requests for clarification.

    If he can take time to make a video about climate change surely he can take 5 minutes to clarify rather than allow scandal to continue which is itself a mortal sin.

  9. It’s tragic when the most charitable and hopeful thing one can say about Pope Francis’ motives in sewing chaos in the Church is that maybe he’s only a “useful idiot”. It goes downhill (gets sinister) from there.

  10. The Pope now refuses to clarify this matter. We can only assume he is up to his old tricks again, trying to be on both sides of the issue. I suppose he thinks that by allowing himself to be portrayed in the media as pro gay civil union, he may be able to handle the German bishops more easily. Because they are a pretty homosexual bunch, and they are ready to go into schism. Maybe he hopes to confuse them and defuse them and forestall their schism.
    On the other hand, Pope Francis could simply be trying to get Catholics used to their pope openly defying doctrine, until such time as he can declare his total opposition to Catholic teaching on this subject.
    God must really be angry to send us such a pope.

  11. Our current pontiff is a master of obfuscation and treachery. He confuses people on core moral teaching on sex and marriage. He conceals the evils of men like McCarrick. He promotes the images of false gods. He has twice sold out the Chinese Christians to their Communist task-masters, and he is now selling out the conservative Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) in the West on the question of gay marriage. The great test of Faith in the East and the West will be for the faithful to retain belief in the Church as the hired hands in the vatican walk in the ways of Judas.

  12. When Amighty God created the human being, He did not create two male or two female humans and bid them to pro-create. He created one man and one woman to pro-create. And thus the latter two did so. This was a Sacrament of union by Almighty God. This was the first Sacrament of human marriage. And only to a man and a woman and thus did the human race begin and continues to this day and always will. Homosexuality of male or female is a deviant of God did create and a means for satan to distroy the Sacrament of marriage.

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  1. Analysis: How the Washington Post is opening the path to use the pope against the Catholic Church - Catholic Mass Search
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