QUEZON City, Nov.12, 2014—A former gay man believes Pope Francis’ statement on “not judging” homosexuals has been misrepresented, stressing it actually calls on Catholics to treat homosexuals who sincerely want Christ in their lives with “mercy and compassion”.
“The pope was actually addressing his statement to those Catholics who, in their misplaced zealousness, are the biggest persecutors of gays—not the gays who, instead of desiring change in their lives, want the pope to change Church teaching on homosexuality,” said Ansel Beluso, a former practicing homosexual, who is now happily married to his wife, Joyce, and a father to three boys.
The papal sentence in question is the now famous, oft-quoted “Who am I to judge?” which the pontiff rhetorically asked of reporters during an informal press conference held aboard a plane following the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2013.
Beluso noted that Pope Francis punctuated this rhetorical question with: “We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.”
“Quite clearly, [Pope Francis] was talking to Catholic persecutors of gays, wasn’t he?” he asked.
“Quite clearly, too, his statement is consistent with his call to New Evangelization in mercy and compassion,” Beluso added.
Beluso, who is actively engaged in Couples for Christ-Foundation for Family and Life, advised Catholics to “consciously work towards avoiding marginalizing gays and labor to integrate them into society”.
“No more of the breast-beating self righteousness whenever we scare gays with the wrath of God in our Pharisaic stance of forcing them to repent,” he explained.
He pointed out the Catholic posture in regard to the LGBT community “must always flow from Christian love –unconditional mercy and compassion”.
“We must constantly remind ourselves that repentance cannot be forced. It is purely by grace from the Holy Spirit. It is just sad when there are those who choose not to accept it,” Beluso added. (Raymond A. Sebastián)