QUEZON City, Nov. 6, 2014—A former gay man laments that some LGBT rights advocates have taken Pope Francis’ now famous, rhetorical question to mean the opposite of its intention—that the Holy Father has become more relaxed on the issue of homosexuality.
Ansel Beluso, a Catholic media practitioner actively involved in Couples for Christ – Foundation for Family and Life, shares in a Facebook post that gay activists tend to quote the controversial papal sentence, “If a person is gay, and searches for God and has good will, who am I to judge?”, without understanding its full import.
“When a person searches for God, he acknowledges his sinfulness; and the reason he searches for God is because he desires healing and liberation from his sinfulness. If the gay person does not acknowledge his sinfulness, his searching for God cannot possibly be authentic,” he explained.
According to Beluso, LGBT advocates have simplistically interpreted the pope’s statement to mean: “If a person is gay, who am I to judge?”
Beluso stresses the two qualifiers are crucial in understanding the essence of the pope’s message as they define the kind of gay person he was referring to when he rhetorically asked, “Who am I to judge?”
“Why will one search for God if he believes he is sinless and, therefore, has no need for forgiveness that results in healing, liberation—and redemption?” the Radio Veritas broadcaster asks.
Beluso points out that Pope Francis referred to will, specifying it as “good will” which differs from the compound word “goodwill”.
“When a person has good will, he desires to do the Will of his Maker. This desire flows from the thirst to be one with God who created him in His divine image and likeness. If a person’s desire is to live out the ways of the world and thereby ignore the Way of the Lord, he cannot possibly be proceeding from a good will,” he asserts.
Hope for gays
According to Beluso, when the Holy Father made the rhetorical question, he had in mind homosexual people who “desire to change and be healed by the Lord”, not gays who “not only live out the sinful lifestyle unrepentantly” but “propagate the gay agenda on the world” and “impose their immorality on others”.
“To homosexuals who see nothing wrong with the lifestyle they pursue… I just hope you can also find it in you to similarly respect the choice and decision of those who seek a different path – even though, sadly, you disagree with it,” he declares.
“To Christian homosexuals desiring change, believe that God has sown deep within you the seed of renewal and restoration. There is hope. Believe you can do it by the grace of the Lord. And know that when you seek God with all your heart, He Himself will give you the grace to find Him,” Beluso adds.
Pope Francis created a media frenzy with his statement “If a person is gay, and searches for God and has good will, who am I to judge?” during an informal press conference with Vatican reporters aboard the papal plane following the World Youth Day held in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013.
Beluso, who initially joined Singles for Christ, left the homosexual lifestyle in the 1990s, following a spiritual conversion. He is now married to his wife, Joyce, and has three children. (Raymond A. Sebastián)