In November 2012, I published a fiction mystery/thriller, Archangels: Rise of the Jesuits, about an attempt by the Jesuits to take over the Vatican and its bank. The book is well researched and was published before Pope Benedict XVI resigned and before Pope Francis I became the first Jesuit pope in the history of the Catholic Church.
In one of the subplots, the Jesuit leadership insists that all priests -- whether heterosexual or homosexual -- renew their vows of chastity and celibacy. One of the fictional priests mentions (he does not describe) a past affair with a murdered priest. He explains that they long ago ended the affair and both renewed their vows.
Two Catholic book reviewers refused to review the book. One wrote: "Yesterday I got to the part where [a priest] explains his affair with [another priest]. I won't be reading any further. I cannot possubly [sic] do a review of a book that includes a homosexual affair between two priests..."
Yet the reviewers seemed fine with fact-based murders and financial fraud linked to the Vatican Bank. All of that preceded the priest's revelation.
The Pope Speaks of a "Gay Lobby"
In June, the pope reportedly mentioned a "gay lobby" in the Curia, the Church's controlling bureaucracy. It was during a meeting with CLAR, the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious Men and Women. A Chilean group revealed the remarks on its website.
Since then, Catholics have tried to interpret or dismiss the pope's remarks. It wasn't clear what he meant to say. The so-called "gay lobby," is ironically the most outspoken against gay members of the Church's congregation. To be clear, I'm not referring to pedophiles, a crime, but to adult homosexuality.
Other gay priests -- not members of the " gay lobby" -- theorized that the lobby wanted to demonize gays so they could carry on with breaking their vows while hiding behind false "sanctity."
Whether or not their interpretation is correct, it is now moot. The pope has now spoken and clarified his remarks.
The Catechism Explains This Very Beautifully
Here is a translation of the pope's relevant remarks courtesy of RomeReports.com:
In these situations, it's important to distinguish between a gay person and a gay lobby, because having a lobby is never good.
If a gay person, is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge?
The catechism of the church explains this very beautifully. It outlines that gays should not be marginalized.
You can imagine what this means to gay Catholics, my nephew, for example. No Catholic can claim the Catholic Church is against gays.
Those who hid behind "the Church" to justify past ugly actions can take comfort in the pope's further comments. They can be forgiven for past actions, if they are indeed in the past.
Lest non-Catholics believe that this makes Catholics pushovers, it's important to note that forgiveness is not automatic. There is no reason to forgive, if there is no true remorse and no true commitment to change.
At 4:30 in the following clip, the pope explains:
So very often when we look at cases like this, we highlight the sins of youth and make them public. I'm not talking about crimes; that's something different. Child abuse is a crime, but I'm talking about sins.
But any person, lay, priests or nun, if any person commits a sin and then asks the Lord for forgiveness, they are forgiven. When the Lord forgives, He forgets. This is very important for our lives.
Endnote: This commentary was originally posted on Janet Tavakoli's fiction author blog.
Archangels: Rise of the Jesuits is available via Amazon in the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, Germany and India."