By Fr Tatah Mbuy
The media world in general, and Social Media in particular, seems to be bubbling with all kinds of reactions emanating from at least three statements which Pope Francis is quoted as having said: “HOMOSEXUAL PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE IN A FAMILY”; “THEY ARE CHILDREN OF GOD AND HAVE A RIGHT TO A FAMILY. NOBODY SHOULD BE THROWN OUT OR MADE MISERABLE OVER IT.” and “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
The above comments come from a FILM (Documentary) shot in June 2020 entitled “Francesco” made by Evgeny Affineevsky, a Russian born film director and cinematographer who lives in the USA.
Three important clarifications are necessary here to make sure no-one of good will is misled. The teachings of a Pope DO NOT COME TO US FROM FILMS (even when they claim to be from a documentary).
In 1970 the Rock Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber shot a film called “JESUS THE SUPERSTAR” which was meant to tell people among other things, about the hidden sexual life of Jesus.
In 1984, it was David Yallop who came out with “IN GOD’S NAME” to show that Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciano) was killed in the Vatican. So the Catholic Church is used to all kinds of sensational media works meant to influence public opinion about the Church. But the Church is custodian of the deposit of Faith and the Truth which is eternal and cannot be twisted.
The stand of the Catholic Church about homosexuality was very clearly stated during the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (4-25 October 2015) on the Family. The Church has not gone against what was officially said then.
Secondly, the comments of Pope Francis cited above in NO WAY show that the Pope has changed that official stand. Every human being, sinner or saint, remains a child of God, who loves each and everyone of us unconditionally.
If God were to count our inequity, who of us would survive? SO GOD LOVES THE SINNER BUT HATES THE SIN! That is why Saul of Tarsus, the Persecutor of the Church was invited to become its fearless preacher; that is why Mary of Magdala, a harlot, is today a saint; and that is why the bandit crucified on the cross with Jesus was offered a place in heaven. Mutatis mutandis, THE CHURCH WILL NEVER HATE A HOMOSEXUAL MUCH AS SHE REJECTS HOMOSEXUALITY..
Finally, those who are acquainted with the language of the Church will understand that in the quotation above, Pope Francis spoke about a civil union which is quite different from a MARRIAGE understood by the Church as a Covenant! There is a world of difference between a UNION and a COVENANT. No one is allowed to discriminate or stereotype another, even if such is a homosexual.
THEREFORE POPE FRANCIS HAS NOT IN ANYWAY DRIFTED FROM THE OFFICIAL TEACHING OF THE CHURCH, much less has the Supreme Pontiff supported Homosexual Marriages, as news headlines want to make us think. In a world of sensational and citizen journalism, one must be alert to manipulations and falsehood. And the Catholic Church as Mother and Teacher (Mater et Magistra) will continue to proclaim the TRUTH, in and out of season, accepted or rejected.
Fr Tatah Mbuy is a Coordinator-Catholic Communications, National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC).