The Tablet misrepresents Pope Francis’ ‘who am I to judge gay people?’ as tacit approval of gay sex

The Tablet has published an editorial under the title ‘Francis defines a new Epoch’ that misrepresents Pope Francis comments about homosexuality during his press conference on the plane trip back from WYD Rio as tacit approval of gay sex:

‘During his press conference on the plane trip back to Rome, Francis seems to have transformed the Church’s relationship with gay people – and, uniquely for a Pope, he used the name they call themselves by. “Who am I to judge gay people?” he asked. “Being gay is not the problem.” Unless he is naive, however, he knows that gay people tend to engage in gay sex, and indeed for many of them that is part of their self-definition.’

The Tablet’s caricature of Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality airbrushes out key words and phrases that contradict the liberal version of Pope Francis they are attempting to create in their own image. For example, the Tablet version cuts out the inconvenient truth that Pope Francis set his comments about homosexuality in the context of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that contains the Church’s explicit rejection of gay sex as ‘gravely depraved’:

‘Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,  tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (CCC 2357).’

The BBC reports Pope Francis as saying, ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?” ”The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well,” Pope Francis said in a wide-ranging 80-minute long interview with Vatican journalists. ”It says they should not be marginalised because of this but that they must be integrated into society.”

It’s important to note that Pope Francis was not giving unconditional approval to homosexuals as The Tablet is suggesting, but his comments include a number of qualifiers: ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will’. ‘Seeking God and has good will’ are key to understanding the Holy Father’s words.  According to the Church’s teaching a Catholic who is gay and is seeking God and has good will would follow the Church’s teaching and discipline about a chaste life that rejects an active gay lifestyle.

Furthermore, Pope Francis did not say, as The Tablet reports, ‘Being gay is not the problem’. According to the BBC Pope Francis said ‘The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem.”

Protect the Pope comment: The Tablet are creating a liberal version of Pope Francis who fulfills all their wishes, but this version doesn’t match the complexity of the man who is the successor to St Peter. Catherine Pepinster, Clifford Longley and The Tablet directors and staff are completely deluding themselves if they think that a pope who frequently consults with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and who has appointed faithful and loyal cardinals as his ‘advisory council’ is going to completely overturn the Church’s doctrines on sexual ethics and marriage to accommodate homosexual sexual acts and the adultery of divorced and re-married Catholics. No matter how often they assert their totally erroneous understanding of the Sensus fidelium , the fact is, wishing doesn’t make it so.





42 comments to The Tablet misrepresents Pope Francis’ ‘who am I to judge gay people?’ as tacit approval of gay sex

  • Michael B Rooke

    At the present time the English transcript is not yet on the Vatican website.
    The transcript in Portuguese is the only one has been added so far to the original Italian.

    There is a Zenit translation partially released but Zenit is self appointed and not the Vatican .

    • Nicolas Bellord

      The discrepancies between the various translations make it very difficult. The problem is what did the Pope mean by “being gay”. One should surely assume that he means someone who just has homosexual temptations and not somebody who is actively engaged in homosexual sex. Unfortunately there are those who have assumed he meant the second meaning.

      It is curious that Peter Tatchell and Pink News can be a more accurate source of what the Pope was really saying.

      There is also the problem of his saying that God not only pardons our sins but forgets them. The original Italian uses the word dimentichare which literally means to put out of one’s mind. The Portuguese word “esquecer” can be translated as “putting aside”. Thus I think he meant that God puts one sin aside but does not actually forget it completely. How often does one say “Oh I forgot to tell you yesterday about such and such”. You did not forget such and such you merely did not make use of it.

      • Michael B Rooke

        The second part of the Zenit translation is now available

        The last paragraph contains the gay remark. This is reproduced below.

        “…In regard to Monsignor Ricca, I’ve done what Canon Law orders to do, which is the investigatio previa. And from this investigatio there is nothing of which they accuse him, we haven’t found anything of that. This is the answer. But I would like to add something else on this: I see that so many times in the Church, outside of this case and also in this case, they go to look for the “sins of youth,” for instance, and this is published. Not the crimes, alas. Crimes are something else: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, the sins. But if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life. When we go to confession and truly say: “I have sinned in this,” the Lord forgets and we don’t have the right not to forget, because we run the risk that the Lord won’t forget our [sins]. That’s a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. I think so many times of Saint Peter: he committed one of the worst sins, which is to deny Christ, and with this sin he was made Pope. We must give it much thought. But, returning to your more concrete question: in this case, I’ve done the investigatio previa and we found nothing. This is the first question. Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Goodness knows! So much is written of the gay lobby. I still have not met one who will give me the identity card with “gay” . They say that they exist. I think that when one meets a person like this, one must distinguish the fact of being a gay person from the fact of doing a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. That’s bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in such a beautiful way, it says, Wait a bit, as is said and says: “these persons must not be marginalized because of this; they must be integrated in society.” The problem isn’t having this tendency, no. We must be brothers, because this is one, but there are others, others. The problem is the lobbying of this tendency: lobby of the avaricious, lobby of politicians, lobby of Masons, so many lobbies. This, for me, is the more serious problem. And I thank you.”

  • john

    Oh dear. The Tablet is such an awful journal. It reminds me of the kind of rag produced by sixth form schoolboys who want to annoy and irritate grown-ups by taking up outrageous positions on everything.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,

    Why , oh why is this seditious publication permitted in Catholic churches?

    I have seen it on offer in my local WHS……fine…if folk want to buy it there …then let them …just like one one of a thousand magazines.But not in Catholic churches.Reason? Because it is not in any way Catholic.

    It is like allowing “Der Sturmer” to be sold inside synagogues.

    And linked with this is another point:- to tackle the Pepinster, Stourton, Beattie axis and their associated Guardian , Indy, Observer and BBC luvvies when they give the impression that they in anyway represent Catholic laity in England and Wales….the thing to do is to openly challenge them on some live broadcast that can’t be altered and watch the reaction.

    And also , again linked, the issue of ACTA activists using Amigo Hall in Southwark-as detected by Bob Hayes.

    Unless we seize the initiative -they will.

    • John Dare

      I suspect that the broadcast would be a PR disaster Rif.

      • Rifleman819

        John ,

        You could be either right or …possibly wrong on that.

        The sweet trio I have mentioned have sailed their little fleet of dissent for so long without meeting a Catholic man o’ war …they would be wrecks in minutes if asked the right questions about their agenda, their loyalty and their orthodoxy…there ain’t no Anglican “nice” to this little conflict …it is war to the knife.

        But the point about live broadcasts is that these people then have no inherent advantage-whereas on the BBC “Sunday” programme for instance Ed “Plummy Voice” Stourton has large amounts of recorded editorial control.

        So the odds are much more even .

        And we couldn’t give a monkeys about what other Christian denominations think.Honest.None of their business anyway.

        After 50 years of being sidelined genuine Catholics in E and W are utterly fed up with the plastic ones.

  • Pedro de Luna

    If you think the Tablet misrepresents Pope Francis, wait till you see what this guy has to say.

    “Pope Francis, who is Pro-Gay, should be overthrown in a (Peaceful, and Non-Violent Bloodless Coup by the Vatican), for endorsing Gays, and Lesbians, which could encourage a (few) Homosexual Priests to continue their Criminal Acts of Sodomising innocent Children, according to former Ghanaian-American Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate, “Osagyefo Dr” Kwame Mayor, reverred by his Die-Hard Supporters around the World as “AMERICA’S MANDELA”.”

    I have to say, I’m not entirely sure that the article is meant to be serious. It’s quite difficult to tell when dealing with religious rants.

  • Michael Cole

    The Pope’s use of the word “gay” is itself problematic. As I said at La Salette Journey – Spirit Daily has this up today from the Archdiocese of Washington:

    “The devil also seeks to deceive us with ‘wordsmithing.’ And thus the dismemberment and murder of a child through abortion becomes ‘reproductive freedom’ or “Choice.” Sodomy is called ‘gay’ (a word which used to mean ‘happy’). Our luminous Faith and ancient wisdom is called ‘darkness’ and ‘ignorance.’ Fornication is called ‘cohabitation.’ And the redefinition of marriage as it is been known for some 5000 years, is labeled ‘marriage freedom.’ And thus, through exaggerations and outright false labeling, the devil deceives us, and we too easily connive by calling good, or ‘no big deal,’ what God calls sinful.”

    Thank you Paul for rising the alarm over the Pope’s use of the word “gay.”

  • Paul Smyth

    The problem is he what he says is ambiguous, he wants to cut himself off from the signs and symbols of what has gone before, he is at least open to misinterpretation.

  • Wake up England

    Well that WAS quick off the mark!

    Old mother Pepinster and her coven can certainly move their asses (sorry mules) when they want to.

  • The Tablet only has a readership of about 13,000. It is a mere drop in the ocean. The Catholic blogosphere and mediasphere account for hundreds of thousands hits a day.

    Let them keep deluding themselves.

    If you want to know how to deal with this then let me point out the following. At my church we have side-lined the liberals by being pro-active, promoting solid Catholic events, and slowly bringing back tradition. We’ve rolled our sleeves up and got on with it. We got the priest on-side to a reasonable degree because we pointed out all of the problems the liberals had been causing over the past few years (including disposing of a priest and bullying good Catholics out of the parish)and it was difficult for him to argue with the truth.

    We have also challenged every liberal who causes trouble to their face (it doesn’t have to be aggressive. Take note that it is surprising how quickly they back down and retreat.

    I suggest to all of your readers to get cracking and put the Catholicism back in their churches. This is the only way to deal with this. It can be hard work, but it is rewarding, and other Catholics really appreciate it.

    This is the ONLY way forward (alongside a lot of prayer).

    • Rifleman819


      Fantastic-the one element you need I suppose is that of moral courage:to face these people down…literally.

      Brilliant post-my deep admiration

  • Does anyone really expect anything other than misrepresentation from The Tablet?
    After all, thry’ve been doing it for years.

  • BJC

    Catherine Pepinster is the Lord Haw-Haw of the ‘liberal catholic’ world. Peter Tatchell rants against Pope Francis and the Catholic Church, she ignores it; Pink News makes plain its anger, she ignores that too. Instead we are treated to an upbeat report on how Catholic teaching on homosexuality is going change in the not too distant future due Pope Francis’s ‘love and mercy’ approach. On top of that WYD is presented as some sort of triumph for the ‘liberal catholic’ world when in fact they were the only group who had no representation whatsoever. I can’t remember seeing any “spirit of vatican II” banners fluttering in the wind on the Copacabana, do you? And what about all of those hoards of 18-30 women clamouring to be priests, where were they? And all that heretical catechesis given by ‘liberal catholics’ on their corrupted view of ‘development of doctrine’ and ‘sensus fidelium’ was the talk of Brazil, wasn’t it? This is the sort of deluded thinking you get when you live in a liberal ghetto. Catherine, you need to out more. Its 2013 now, not 1978.

  • BJC

    Forgot to add.

    Ora Pro Nobis is right, we have to start taking back the parishes and stop waiting for things to happen. We’ve done a similar thing in our parish but perhaps not so dramatic. It really doesn’t matter what you do or volunteer for it all counts be it doing the tea after the 10.30 a.m. mass or getting involved with the RCIA. He’s right in saying as well that there is less resistance than you think. A lot of the problems I think in the wake of Vatican II were caused by only liberals coming forward to volunteer for things because they just have a more of a busy-body personality. We have to change that culture and get involved ourselves; give them something to think about and stop letting them run the show.

    In terms of the catechesis anyone thinking of getting involved in that (baptism, confirmation, marriage, RCIA) I can heartily recommend the training material from Maryvale. It’s faithful to the teachings of the Church and easy to use. They also run courses for people who want to get qualifications in catechesis/catechetics going from certificate level to degree level.

  • tro

    A pattern is emerging here: Francis speaks – confusion and perplexity ensue.

    This is not reassuring to the flock.


      I’m afraid this is true. Francis just doesn’t have the communication skills that are needed by a Pope in the modern world.

  • Rifleman819


    Would you like to be Bishop of Arundel and Brighton as well?

    Some wonderful candidates for the appointment on this blog….there might be a worried little leprachaun somewhere…. anxious for a Vatican 111 to rescue him……..hmmmm……… wonders.

  • BJC


    You’d make an excellent candidate yourself, but I don’t think Kieron could take your plain speaking…..well, very plain speaking. One thing I think Fr. Z has been very right about this week is that we have to move back into the parishes and stop letting the libs dictate everything. And that starts with the tea and the coffee. If anybody lives in London, I can tell you first hand we have some excellent seminarians at Allen Hall and when they come out they are going to need good orthodox Catholics to support them. We need to get to it.

    • Rifleman819

      BJC ,
      OOh ta!
      Plain speaking I suppose learned through the miltary….where what ia a good rollocking in the Forces would have you before an employment tribunal in civvy street.
      I think the real funny with all this “Spirit of Vat2 /Zeitgeist” stuff is that it is in the main spouted by men and women who were not even born between 1962-65… it is completely second or third hand.It must have been a deeply bizarre experience for the Holy Father Emeritus to be lectured about Vatican 2 by someone who was only in nappies at the time when he was at the theological epicentre of the Council.
      Again , like all post-event liberals these folk lack two qualities-a sense of irony and a sense of historical perspective.

  • Graham Swift

    I read the tablet from cover to cover this week (as I do most weeks) and I saw nothing in it to mis-represent Pope Francis’ recent comments on homosexuality. It was fair and balanced and gave direct quotes from what he said which can be validated by the various media reports. Now you may not like their commentary, which I also thought was balanced, but that’s another thing….

  • John Dare

    I feel myself warming to the anglicans.

    Does anyone on here every pause and think ‘how does all this look from outside’? A bit big enders and little enders.

    • Wake up England

      John Dare:

      Given your seemingly vast and towering ignorance of the teachings, doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic Church, it never dawned upon me that you be anything BUT an Anglican.

      • John Dare

        Like I say WUE, sit back for a minute and ask yourself – how does all this bitching look to people (such as me) who don’t know ‘the rules’?

    • Rifleman819

      John , I’m afraid WUE is completely right.

      We are not in this to impress/dissuade our separated brethren…….merely to recover what was lost in robust Catholicism over the last 50 years or so.

      Those in the Anglican communion who wish to convert are wonderfully welcome.

      And equally ..pause for thought at the other end of the spectrum as well….what do traditional Nonconformists make of the apparent train crash that is the CoE today?

      Catholicism has a self-repair mechanism in a way that perhaps Anglicanism lacks.

      • John Dare

        No Rif, thats not what I was looking at, rather how does in house cat fighting look to the man in the street. I should say that there’s nothing less attractive than a man who ‘knows that he’s right’.

        • Rifleman819

          John ,

          As said before……there is nothing more attractive to God than a Christian believer who points out to heretics the error of their ways.That’s to internal and external heretics , btw.

          If one believes that one holds the authentic Apostolic faith then everything sudsequently falls into place…if one doesn’t believe that then the arguments advanced by blodggers here will make no sense-I fully appreciate that.

          Let’s keep a tally…for 962 years England was a Catholic country. It became an officially Protestant one in 1558 until 1829 and where anyone between these two dates, who was not a paid-up member of the State church, faced anything from disembowellment to ruinous fines for non-attendance at Anglican services-and that included Protestant Nonconformists as well.

          Within the RCC worldwide the myriad of interpretations of the 2nd Vatican Council have caused dismay to many.With Christianity on the back-foot in Europe without a doubt at this present time there comes a need for a clear , unequivocal, defintive riposte to the narcissistic, “me, me” attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s. And a re-evangelisation.
          What Anglicans with their historically broad “niceness” don’t comprehend is that from the Catholic view this is a recipe for disaster-like an army with 14 generals all leading in different directions.
          The whole point about this blog is its title-PtP….not ,you note PtAB Canterbury, or the Chief Rabbi or the Superintendent of the Methodist Conference.

          • BJC


            This is what I mean by (very) plain speaking…”there is nothing more attractive to God than a Christian believer who points out to heretics the error of their ways”. If you said that at the Bishops conference in front of Kieron or Vincent they would have a heart attack. LOL.

        • Wake up England

          John Dare:

          In which case you must find Jesus Christ repellent.

          If you have a one-man fatwa out, on the truth – it’s beginning to make sense as to why you sit and snipe at this blog from behind your rock.

          I fear the person who almost always comes out of your not-very-clever little tussles is you.

          Let me see, now, who was it who said of you “Sometimes you bore me, you really do”? Oh yes, that’s it: Deacon Nick Donnelly.

  • katherine

    Thank you all for these very inspiring comments. I agree that those of us who love The Church need to be more visible in our parishes. Yes we need our priests on side but then we also need to support them because The Tablet Brigade can make life very difficult. Prayer is always the answer. So thank you all again for loving the Church and showing your colours. I have a feeling we will need to show our colours more frequently in the months and years ahead.

  • Rifleman819

    For John Dare again ,
    Sorry John …just to trace the last 50 years of the RCC in England and Wales is no easy task.
    In essence after the Council in 1965…the RCC jetissoned its universal liturgy and the vernacular translations of which would have delighted the smouldering ashes of Thomas Cranmer…we ended up with banal and lifeless liturgy, quasi-Baptist hymnology penned by 3rd rate talent and sung with out of tune guitars. Not forgetting hideous and trite vestments designed by someone from Carpetland in their spare time.Add a series of “modern” churches that looked like a hybrid of a multi-story car park and a municipal urinal -and we were there.

    The reaction of our laity? Overwhelming …..they left in droves.

    • John Dare

      Thanks for your comments Rif, here and above.

      Like you I have no time for happy clappyness. But again that wasn’t my point. Its not the externals which are just that and really are of their time. Neither of us can prove it, but I suggest that churches would have declined since the 60′s no matter what.

      Be that as it may, compare the actual words of the pope and their tone, provided by Michael Brooke on 3/8 above with offerings on here by some. Not a good comparison.

      You seem to have a grip on putting a point across in a way that commands some respect, even if not agreement. We both know that hard line ranting gets no-where.

      I’ve said it before, the best thing that atheists could have to advance their pov, is if all the world read this site.

  • SteveD

    They don’t need to misrepresent his greetings to Muslims on the Eid holiday, he has said enough himself. (Did Conry write this?)

  • Rifleman819

    For BJC,
    Sadly I’m sure you are absolutely right on that one!

    For John Dare,

    John -thanks for that…as someone viewing from outside our “bubble” I can well understand your besmusement at times …but …but…there is a lot of pent-up anger and frustration at the way the leadership of the RCC in England and Wales over the last 40 years has cost us dear in so many ways.

    “As effective as a one-legged man at a rump kicking party”-as one of my former Sjt-majors used to say.

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