Ann Arbor, MI, July 29, 2013 – On the plane back from Brazil’s World Youth Day, Pope Francis conversed with journalists on a broad range of subjects. The next morning, his statement, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” was reported by leading media outlets as a signal for change within the Catholic Church. Generally ignored was the pontiff’s reiteration that the Church teaches that homosexual acts are a sin.
“This is yet another example of the mainstream media being utterly incompetent when reporting on matters of religion,” says Al Kresta, author of the new book, Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicismâ€™s 21st Century Opponents and host of Ave Maria Radio’s “Kresta in the Afternoon.”
He says that any journalist worthy of the title need only reference the Catechism of the Catholic Church to understand the context of the Pope’s statement. “In fact,” says Kresta, “one need only to read the next sentence of Pope Francis’ comments: ‘The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers.'”
Instead of understanding the Church’s constant teaching, Kresta says the media used the Pope’s words as a shameful attempt to pit Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis against each other. “The Pope broke no new ground because Catholic teaching is, and always will be, that homosexual orientation is not in and of itself sinful.”
The pope also spoke about the female priesthood, “The church says no. That door is closed,” he was quoted as saying. “What the media ignored was that Pope Francis called for a deeper involvement in the Church,” says Teresa Tomeo, best-selling author of Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture.
The talk show host of Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection” says our last several popes have raised the bar for women. She was one of 250 delegates from around the world to attend Pope Benedict’s Vatican Women’s Congress in 2008. “Feminists are completely ignoring role of women in the Church,” according to her. The real story, Tomeo says, is how open the Church is to leadership roles for women. “The Church looks to Mary, our Blessed Mother as an example,” she says. “We are created equal for different roles, this is not about sameness. This cannot and should not include the male priesthood, but that does not mean we are sidelined.”