I posted this today to Scott P. Richert's article Pope Francis on Homosexuality, Take a Deep Breath, on about.com
My guess is that it is because Pope Francis has allowed
himself to understand the subject of same-sex sexual attractions and same-sex
sexual behavior very well, that he speaks in the way that he does on this
subject. My guess is that he understands very well priests and women
religious who do experience some level of same-sex sexual attractions or who
experience only same-sex sexual attractions. He understands how those individuals
think who make the decision not to pursue same-sex sexual behavior. He
understands those who find the need to own an identity of gay, but still be
celibate. He understands those who have difficulty resisting same-sex
sexual behavior even though they have made the commitment to the Catholic
church to do so. He understands those who are sexually active and are
priests or women religious.
I do not believe that the majority of priests experience same-sex sexual attractions. I believe that a sizable minority do. Of that minority, I believe that there are some who are sexually active with other men. There has been for decades an organized gay affirming voice within the Catholic church and within the priesthood.
Scott and others have worked hard to flesh out Pope Francis' statements. I appreciate that Pope Francis did speak so off-the-cuff, so to speak. I do not think his words were inaccurate. I think that they came from a man who is very well versed in the topic and has taken the time to understand the range of people impacted by same-sex sexual attractions. I think it is the listeners of Pope Francis that would benefit from coming to the level of understanding that he has.