The plain talk of Francis

I am not a Roman Catholic, nor a Southern Evangelical, and I have gotten to know several LGBT people in the course of my life, some of them over a long period of time.  I support them in their aim to be treated with respect and dignity, and to travel the long road (along with everyone else) to true inner dignity and the respect of others with whom we may disagree.

Where I seem to differ is in a matter of theory.  I wonder about the theory behind the Rainbow Flag.  Recently I read that there are more than a dozen different genders, and I questioned whether that really helps young people who are struggling with their sexual identity.

Well, that’s all I have to say about it.  It is only questioning a theory, though I realize many people hold to the Rainbow Flag as a very personal symbol, and so even this question many be offensive to some.  But very recently I came across a Reuters News article about this matter, so here is an excerpt — and I say again, I am not a Roman Catholic but the present pope sometimes makes a lot of sense.


Pope Francis said on Sunday (Oct. 2) that homosexuals and transsexuals should be treated with respect but that teaching gender theory is unacceptable “indoctrination” of young people.  He said that as a priest, bishop and even now pope, he had ministered to people with homosexual tendencies as well as some who were not able to remain chaste, as the Church asks them to be. “I accompanied them, I brought them closer to the Lord,” he said. “Some were not able (to obey Church teachings), but I accompanied them and I never abandoned one of them. That is a fact. People must be accompanied just like Jesus accompanies them.”

During his trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan, he told priests and nuns that teaching gender theory in schools was part of a “global war” against marriage.  Gender theory is broadly the concept that while people may be biologically male or female, they have the right to identify themselves as male, female, both or neither.  “What I was talking about was the nastiness that is present today in indoctrinating people in gender theory,” he said when asked to elaborate on his earlier comments in Georgia.  “It is one thing for a person to have this tendency, this option, and even change sex,” he said.  “But it is another thing to teach gender theory in schools along these lines in order to change mentality.  I call this ideological colonization.”

Francis told the story of a Spanish person he met who told him of how much he had suffered because he felt like a boy in a girl’s body.  The person later had a sex change operation and married a woman.  The person told Francis in a letter how much the couple suffered when a local priest shouted to them: “You will go to hell.”  Francis invited them to the Vatican to talk, and the couple were pleased that they were treated with dignity.  “Life is life, and things should be taken as they come,” the pope said.  “Sin is sin, but tendencies or hormonal imbalances … can cause many problems and we have to be careful.  But each case must be welcomed, accompanied, studied, discerned and integrated.  This is what Jesus would do today.”

It is tragic that relatively few people know how separate the “spirit” (or worldview) of a movement or social issue from the people and the particulars. The schools and universities fall down on this, and so do many of the leaders on all sides of these issues.  I suppose some of these leaders would not think that a worldview approach helps their cause and strategy.  Consequently, the Internet is full of reactive attacks and harsh comments on almost everything, on all sides of any issue and polarization is everywhere.  We need to educate ourselves, and the above Reuters  article is not a bad place to start.


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