Pope Francis Speaks Out on Homosexuality—and Further Angers Traditionalists

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on tuesday, pope francis participated in interview With Associated Press Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield. After the interview was published, US commentators focused on the pope’s answers to questions about the criminal laws against homosexuality that exist in some 67 countries. Life imprisonment for third offense. “It’s not a crime to be gay. It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin,” he said. “First, let us distinguish between sin and crime. But lack of charity towards others is also a sin. So what about that?”

Those statements were another example of Francis. A gradual approach towards gay acceptancewhich included expressing compassion and support for them in civil affairs, while setting aside the Church’s harsh teaching that homosexual activity is “essentially disordered.” The entire interview, conducted in Spanish with an American reporter, represents a counterattack to his critics. Death of Pope Benedict XVI It’s open season for Catholic traditionalists against Francis, and tumultuous intrigues, grudges and partisan jousts in Rome are a preview of what life will be like in the church ahead. provided.

Benedict’s death on December 31 at the age of 95 was not unexpected as he had been in declining health for a long time. But the aftermath surprised many. Since he resigned from the papacy in 2013, Benedict has lived in a renovated convent behind Saint Peter’s Basilica. It is a short distance from the guest house where his successor, Pope Francis, chose to live. And it was in the Vatican’s creed that from the beginning of the arrangement, the unprecedented example of a living ex-pope was a source of tension for Francis, and the feeling that Benedict was looking over his shoulder prevented him from acting. did as boldly as he wished—for example, by changing the doctrine of the Church, calling an ecumenical council, or retiring himself. Rather, Benedict’s presence seems to have been a binding force on Francis’ critics. The ‘trad’ has unabashedly turned against Francis, as the 35-year era defined by Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who has since been canonized, is truly over. rice field.

First, the funeral of Pope Benedict was held too soon after the pope’s death (heads of state and other dignitaries were unable to arrange attendance), and Francis’ sermon was too perfunctory. It was cynical for Benedict, his followers, and the Pope’s office to close its offices for a day of mourning. In , Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Genswein, published memoirs of his many years of service. In that book, Genswein claimed that Francis treated Benedict disrespectfully. For example, it restricted the use of the old Latin Ritual Mass, a practice cherished by traditionalists. I didn’t know, Genswein claimed. Roselvatore Romano.

Then Cardinal George Pell of Australia died in Rome of cardiac arrest at the age of 81 after attending Benedict’s funeral a few days earlier. When Pell’s obituary was announced, Italian journalist Sandro Magister revealed that Pell was the author of a pseudonymous memo published on his blog last March. All school commentators . . . agree that Francis’ papacy was a disaster in many or most respects. catastrophe. Then I styled the Pope’s alleged failure bullet points.

Although only in Magister’s words that Pell was the author of the note, it would certainly have been in Pell’s character to write it. First in Australia, then in 2005 he joined John He at the Cardinal Society, which is said to have drawn the support of English-speaking cardinals for the election of Benedict after the death of Pope Paul II, and Pell of Benedict. I was a traditionalist without any kind of academic opacity or sensibility. Protocol, and his style, were often compared to the style of Australian footballers when he was younger. I didn’t stop. On the contrary, it was considered an asset. Years later, when Pell was indicted, tried, and convicted of sexually assaulting two teenage boys while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s (he pleaded guilty to denied), but Francis supported him because he deserved it. Presumption of innocence while judgment is appealed. And when Pell saw his conviction overturned and released by the Australian High Court after serving 13 months in prison in Australia, Francis said, I prayed for all those who have been sentenced to death. For them” and welcomed him to the Vatican with a photo shoot. What was surprising about the disclosure of Pell’s role in the memo was that he was so outspoken in attacking the Pope for showing him such favors.

But traditionalists have been against Francis since the early days of his presidency. So why all the shades and whining now? Indeed, one of the reasons is the sense of demise that Benedict’s death brought. The recent publication of a book compiling Benedict’s last writings, with the weighty subtitle “Almost Spiritual Witnesses,” deepens this feeling. Another reason is that Francis, now 86, is physically debilitated and his influence in the church is waning.

It is true that Francis is underpowered in Rome. This is partly his own fault. He initially and long refused to name Russia as the aggressor of the war. Ukraine His later, more direct denunciations of Russia’s actions turned out to be confusing and unconvincing. In an old Latin Ritual Mass, he ignited a situation that could have been handled more nimbly than formal restrictions. But in essence, the traditionalist’s growing animosity towards Francis is the result of the more open church he sought and nurtured throughout his nearly ten-year tenure. He imposed restrictions on his ability to write and teach. Let’s take a look at Archbishop Genswein’s situation. Under Benedict, he was appointed head of the papal house, the papal gatekeeper. After Benedict retired and Francis was elected, Genswein served both popes, shuttled from the monastery on one side of St. Peter’s to the guest house on the other. It was clear that his loyalty to the previous Pope had become his responsibility to the current Pope. Finally, in 2020, Francis allegedly sacked him as secretary (the Vatican denies this), but left him as Benedict’s secretary. A monastery given the prestige of the former Pope.

Or consider the case of Cardinal Pell. Francis or his advisers may have suspected Pell of involvement in the memo in 2022. In that case, Francis could force him to retire, leave Rome and return to Australia. He could have, and could have been forced to state publicly whether he wrote the memo and, if so, why he wrote it under a pseudonym. In any case, Francis has endured criticism even after Pell’s authorship was revealed.

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