All in the same day, I read reports about how Pope Francis made a declaratory statement of support for the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, by meeting with the clerk, and I watched a video of him embracing two gay men, one of whom he has known for a long time.
What is going on here? Where does the Pope stand on such things?
Clearly, he stands right where Christ would. He stands up for loving others without judgment.
His remarks about "Who am I to judge?" have been repeated endlessly, especially as argumentation for homosexual marriage. Did anyone notice that this is a verse in the New Testament Letter of James?
In James, we read, "Who then are you to judge your neighbor?" Is it possible that Pope Francis has actually taken scripture to heart and is trying to follow it?
What about Jesus? When he called Matthew the tax collector, he went into his home with other tax collectors and sinners and ate with them. Tax collectors were known to be dishonest, skimming money where they could, so naturally, the Pharisees questioned the actions of Christ.
I have to wonder if those around Jesus, like our modern-day Pharisees, jumped to the conclusion that Jesus supported theviery!
The response of Jesus is clear: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do." Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." (Mt 9:9-13)
Jesus isn't dismissing (or supporting) the sin, but he understands that to walk away from the tax collectors is to remove the opportunity for them to recognize their sin and be converted. Nobody thinks that Jesus supports what the tax collectors did, and neither should anyone think Pope Francis supports homosexual marriage.
Pope Francis must uphold the doctrines of the Church. Those teachings recognize sin in all of its many forms. Rather than a pronouncement against individuals, sin must be identified for what it is, and loving arms must be wrapped around the sinner in the midst of his/her sin.
That is how we love others. That is what Pope Francis is trying to do in a world that is distancing itself more and more from the Gospel message of love and mercy, a message that Jesus taught, a message that he lived and died for.