This is the question that several Zambian media houses are, this morning, asking ZEC Spokesperson, Fr. Paul Samasumo.
Fr. Paul Samasumo has clarified as follows:
Returning from the World Youth Day, in Brazil, the Holy Father, Pope Francis gave a wide-ranging interview to the media abode his Alitalia flight to Europe.
Asked on homosexuality, Pope Francis responded, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” the Pope added: “We shouldn’t marginalise people for this. They must be integrated into society.”
Clearly, the Holy Father Pope Francis has reaffirmed the Catholic Church's position that homosexual acts are sinful but homosexual orientation is not.
Nothing really has changed. Perhaps what has surprised the world is the tone and the manner in which the Holy Father, Pope Francis spoke.
Asked to comment if there is a powerful gay lobby within the Vatican. Pope Francis answered,
“I have not seen anyone at the Vatican who is registered as gay on his identity card. We acknowledge that there are (gays),” he said.
The Holy Father also re-asserted that there would be no change on the Church’s opposition to homosexual marriages saying “you know perfectly the position of the Church".
HOMOSEXUALITY – WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES
Homosexuality is a complex phenomenon. A person is said to have a homosexual orientation if he or she is attracted physically and erotically by persons of his or her own sex. This attraction must be persistent and predominant erotically towards persons of the same sex.
The Catholic Church’s constant and firm teaching on homosexual acts is unequivocal. Homosexual acts are seriously wrong and sinful. Basing itself on the Bible, Catholic doctrine in the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares that homosexual acts are contrary to natural law. Under no circumstances can homosexual acts be approved. The natural sex partner for a man is a woman and vice versa.
Many homosexual persons argue that they were born that way. Studies on the issue that certain persons have a genetic disposition to homosexuality are inconclusive. Even if this were conclusively proven by science, it would not make homosexual behavior acceptable. In similar manner, there are studies that suggest that there are people who are born with a hereditary disposition towards alcohol. No one would however, argue that someone ought to fulfill this inborn urge for alcoholism.
However, the Catholic Church nevertheless, acknowledges that homosexuality’s cause or genesis remains largely unexplained. The number of men and women (even within our Zambian society) who have deep seated homosexual tendencies though small is not negligible. For some, this constitutes a major trial in their lives. The church makes a distinction between the homosexual orientation or inclination as opposed to the act or behavior of homosexuality.
Homosexual acts are wrong. However, people who feel inclined to homosexual acts are fellow human beings. They must not be discriminated against. To those with homosexual tendencies: Remember, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
Fr Paul Samasumo