The Pope "Causing Grave Scandal to the Faithful"

The full episode of The World Over Live from last night where they discuss the crisis the Pope's remarks over civil unions have caused:

The Pope has caused great scandal here: he is at ease with homosexual couples living together and committing sin. As Father Murray points out, this is a very sad day because it is a Pope causing grave scandal to the faithful.

The discussion online has moved on from "did he or didn't he" - it's now more "he was being pastoral" versus "he's leading people away from the faith". You might remember I wrongly said he didn't, the Vatican then confirmed he did.

This was me trying to think the best of the Pope and not immediately jumping to the worst possible conclusion. You see, along with most of you I imagine, I desperately want the Pope to be excellent. To hold and explain the good news about Jesus Christ and what He came to do. I want him to spread the joy of the Gospel and the excitement that comes with sharing the truth about Jesus. I want him to hold us up, to encourage us, to affirm us in our faith. Sadly, it seems he lets us down every time. Worse, he lets Jesus down and instead of doing what his role demands of him, he spreads chaos, confusion and dis-unity: the very opposite of what a pope is supposed to do.

But hang on, am I just being retrograde here? Am I just clinging to the rigid structures of the past and failing to accept progress?

Christians have long understood this teaching. As the CDF pointed out in its Letter to the Bishops on the care of homosexual persons:
a clear consistency within the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of homosexual behaviour. The Church's doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony. The community of faith today, in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth whose Word they are. It is likewise essential to recognize that the Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the Church's living Tradition. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition.
One of the main problems the Church has or has had is that there has been a tendency to separate homosexuality out from the Christian approach to sexuality and give it special treatment. This is largely because the Church is responding to the cultural shift towards the normalisation of homosexuality. This has the effect of making it look to society as if the Church is obsessed with homosexuality. The reality is that the world is obsessed with it and the Church, which acts as a bulwark of truth against the fallen morality of the world, proclaims God's truth against an agenda which says "anything goes" Let's just look at one example of this, St Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. I think it is perfect because it is a microcosm of exactly this situation.

In 1 Cor 5-7 Saint Paul directly addresses the issue of sexuality. Paul encounters various kinds of sexual immorality in the Church and some members of the Church are simply saying it's all fine; God's grace is bottomless and we are all free in Christ, etc etc -- sound familiar?? Paul's response is that it is not fine because Jesus died for our sins including the ruin of broken relationships that's caused by sexual misconduct. Saint Paul teaches that for Christians, one of the main ways we respond to Jesus' love and grace is through sexual integrity. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead our bodies will be raised as well and they do not belong to us: what we do with our bodies matters and how we treat other people sexually has real repercussions in our lives. Being a follow of Jesus involves no compromise when it comes to sexual integrity.

When we are confused about an issue, as the Pope clearly is here, it is essential that we return to the plain sense of Sacred Scripture and weigh that with the Tradition of the Church.

I'm not sure how a Pope who teaches the opposite of this can even be "pope".


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