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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Media back-peddling on spin of Pope's statements on gays

The media is back-peddling rapidly on their spin on Pope Francis' statements on the subject of homosexuality. 

Compare this MSN tagline:
Pope says “If someone is gay…, who am I to judge?”

Or this caption from the BBC:
Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?

And what he actually was saying:  (my translation)
Pope says who am I to judge priests who have some level of same-sex sexual attractions and who are celibate since the tendencies of same-sex sexual attractions are not sinful. 

Hear now how the media is now changing its spin:
MSN:  Pope Francis is reaching out to gays, saying he won't judge priests for their sexual orientation.” 

Compare Monday's and Tuesday's CBS This Morning segments:
Monday's segment:  The lead statement - to gay priests, Pope says who am I to judge.  Now that's a great example of plucking a partial statement out of its context to make a spin. 

Tuesday's segment
Dolan is saying about Pope Francis’ statements, “He is articulating well in a tender way the teaching of the Catholic church.  Presenting church teaching as clearly as possible.  Identity doesn’t depend on anything.” Dolan, "Homosexuality is not a sin, the acts (the behavior) are."  Saying homosexuality is a term about orientation.  “What surprises me is that people are still surprised,” he says. 

What does Charlie Rose mean by the term, "accepting gay priests" when summarizing the Pope's position?  If he listened to Timothy Dolan's comments, he would be saying that "gay priests" in this context means men who are not sexually active. who are sexually attracted to men.  He would be saying that "gay priest" means a Catholic man who is a priest who experiences some level of same-sex sexual attractions and who has committed to be celibate and be working toward being celibate chaste. 

Pope Francis has not changed the position of Pope Benedict on men who have some level of same-sex sexual attractions and entering Catholic seminary.  But he is definitely also addressing the Purple Palace syndrome of past generations of some Catholic seminaries.  The Pope is addressing here men who are already Catholic priests.  Yet, with the more openness of our society as to the conversations about what same-sex sexual attraction is, he is saying that if a man who is open about his same-sex sexual attractions and is celibate who is he to judge about their orientation (but technically, celibate, only means he isn't married...., but it suggests that he is not intimately sexual with other men, and it hopes that he is working towards being celibate chaste).  He is saying who is the Pope thus to judge this priest about his sexual orientation.  The Pope is also suggesting that he wouldn't judge the priest about his sexual identity, if the priest wanted to say he was an openly gay priest who is celibate and maybe chaste.  We really do have to look carefully at what the Catholic church's definition of celibate is and what it isn't.  By implication in this statement, what the Pope is suggesting is that he would judge the openly gay priest who is sexually active with other men.