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BFM leader ‘disappointed’ over pope’s statements

Bahamas Faith Ministries (BFM) President Dr. Myles Munroe said yesterday that Pope Francis failed to perform in his duty as head of the Catholic Church when he made certain comments on sexual orientation and homosexuality this week in Brazil.

Munroe said he was “very disappointed” personally and as an international civic leader with those statements, which he called a contradiction of the position of former Pope Benedict and the church.

“I was very disappointed with the pope’s statements, which seemed to suggest that he is claiming that he cannot judge individuals, who embrace, choose and encourage a lifestyle that is clearly stated in scripture,” Munroe said.

“The pope is supposed to represent [that] as a lifestyle that is not acceptable in the context of Christianity.

“I think what disturbed me the most was that the pope’s statement was that he cannot pass judgment on individuals, who are in this lifestyle.

“I don’t think it’s the pope’s prerogative or right to personally pass judgment, so in that particular sense, I think the pope did not perform his duty as the head of the Catholic Church.

“What I mean by that is the scriptures are very clear that we who claim to follow Jesus are ambassadors of Christ. An ambassador never gives [his] personal opinion or judgment.

“The ambassadors of any country we know only speak from the position of their government.”

During an 82-minute interview with reporters aboard his plane after attending World Youth Day in Brazil, Francis said people should not be marginalized for their sexual orientation, according to international media reports.

He asked, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

In 2005, Pope Benedict signed a document that said men who had deep-rooted sexual tendencies should not be priests.

Munroe was in Brazil’s capital, Brasília, attending a series of speaking engagements when the pope spoke to the media.

In a separate interview, Bahamas Christian Council President Dr. Ranford Patterson said yesterday he could not imagine the pope would make those comments in reference to what the Bible notes on homosexuality.

Patterson said the church has a standard that it must uphold at all times.

“I don’t know whether the pope was speaking directly to a group of people, and we have to find the context in which he used those words ‘marginalized and judged’,” he said.

“I’m assuming he’s saying that we can’t judge people based on their orientation because they choose their orientation and that’s a personal choice, but I can’t imagine him saying that in reference to what the word of God says in reference to homosexuality.”

When asked whether Pope Francis’ comments could set the stage for a greater appeal of same sex marriage in The Bahamas, Paterson said, “I think the gay marriage issue in The Bahamas at this time is null and void.”

Munroe said people who want to embrace a homosexual lifestyle are waiting for “affirmation, confirmation and credibility”.

“What the pope said is very dangerous in my view,” he said.

“He — in what I would consider reckless statements to the press in Brazil, which of course is global every time he speaks — will give people who are looking for credibility to embrace or promote or accept a lifestyle exactly what they need.

“They will say things like, and I have heard locally already in our country where leaders in our community are saying ‘well you know the pope’s position sounds good, and now I think we are good to go’.”

This week, Archbishop of Nassau Patrick Pinder called the pope’s sentiment a “refreshing one”, but said Francis prefaced his statement by saying the official statement of the church’s teachings — for homosexuals to be treated with dignity and not marginalized — is very clear.

Munroe added that it would have been more appropriate for the pope to say that he was not required to speak on an issue from a personal perspective, even if he had not been provided the Vatican’s point of view on the issue.


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