A “firestorm” in a teacup?

What a day it was! Still quite early in the morning, I already received several calls from friends and acquaintances asking for urgent clarifications about what they heard from the Pope. Apparently, from what they read in some news outlets, the Pope is now changing Church teaching about same-sex union. He is now for it. That was the gist of their concern.

Admittedly, I felt alarmed as well, since many of those who called were known to me to be spiritually and doctrinally well-formed. And so I dove into the gathering storm to see what the real score was.

Of course, I always try to restrain myself in my reactions to news items, knowing that journalism, even in its best condition, often gives superficial account of any issue. I have to control my knee-jerk reaction.

As I found out from my initial efforts, the Pope was simply trying to give a more charitable accommodation to persons with same-sex attraction. They should not be ostracized, they should be made part of a family, he said in so many words.

That’s when he suggested that some laws may be made that would enable such persons to enjoy some legal protection for their basic rights as persons and citizens without being unduly discriminated. That’s when many of the news outlets twisted things by saying that the Pope is now in favor of legalizing same-sex unions.

At first, I did not know that the Pope was misquoted, and so my line of thinking was along the understanding that the Pope was now for some civil same-sex union law if only for those persons concerned to enjoy some legal rights as persons and citizens.

I dismissed the thought that the Pope was simply for same-sex union law for the sake of that law alone, but rather, so that these persons can enjoy and be protected in the same basic rights as the others.

I made the distinction between tolerating a lesser evil to achieve a greater good and approving what is morally wrong. In this life, no one can avoid having to deal with some forms of evil. We just have to learn to live with them as best that we can, without compromising what is really essential.

Later on, I discovered that the Pope was misquoted. What he actually said was that he wanted laws that would allow civil coexistence or convivence for persons with same-sex attraction, not laws that would allow same-sex unions. And so, I modified my initial view on the issue a little. I believe that the Pope was not asking for such laws to be made.

Just the same, some sectors, headed by a prominent priest, are disputing that claim. They believe that the Pope is really calling for laws for same-sex unions for further protection of the LGBT rights. And the Pope, so far, has not made a clarifying statement.

So, it is still a developing hot issue. Just the same, I know that however this issue goes, some good will always be derived. The truth will always triumph, sooner or later.

We should just pray hard and try to engage in discussions and exchanges that are characterized by earnest desire to know the truth and what is fair in an atmosphere of charity, respect for one another, regardless of how sharp the differences and conflicts are.*

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