Despite having declared in 2013, “Who am I to judge gay people?” (to the dismay of conservative Christians and the hope of much of the Western world) Pope Francis did just that in supporting a recent ruling by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said the church “does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless same-sex relationships.”
I don’t judge you. The church judges you.
He said in 2020 that homosexuals are “part of the family” and opined that same-sex couples need a “civil union law.” But, “Does the church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” The Vatican Congregation answered: “Negative.”
You really do deserve to have someone bless your union. Just not us.
After saying the Vatican “does not and cannot bless sin,” the Vatican “also said that its refusal to give religious approval to same-sex marriage does not preclude giving blessings to homosexual people,” and it urged Catholics to “welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations.”
We welcome all sinners. Especially you sinners who are not welcome.
In reporting on this recent crystal clarification on the integrity of the church’s historic doctrine, NPR said: “The Vatican also said that its refusal to give religious approval to same-sex marriage does not preclude giving blessings to homosexual people.” And in response to surprising and unexpected criticism to such a clarification the Vatican has said the ruling is not intended to be “unjust discrimination.”
It’s not unjust discrimination. It’s just (plain old) discrimination.
In George Orwell’s frighteningly prescient dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, “doublethink” is defined: To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it . . . Even to understand the word — doublethink — involved the use of doublethink.
“Don’t be confused. Doublethink is the language of our time.”
Gay people are completely welcome in the church. You’re just not welcome as actual gay people.
Don’t be confused. Doublethink is the language of our time. Wikipedia says: “Doublethink is a process of indoctrination whereby the subject is expected to simultaneously accept two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in contravention to one’s own memories or sense of reality. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy.”
What the world hears in the doublethink of Pope Francis and the Vatican is, of course, not contradictory at all. (This is the genius of doublethink.) The world has heard it all before. There’s no confusion in the messaging. The meaning is completely clear.
We don’t condemn you. It’s just that that being gay makes you a sinner. (or, you’re “condemned already,” John 3.18.)
We love you. We just can’t bless you. (or, we don’t really love you.)
Well, we bless you. It’s just that the church can’t bless you, at least not formally bless you. (or, we don’t really bless you.)
And, by the way, we love the church, we just wish it loved you, well, “officially” loved you. You know what we mean. (or, you know what we mean.)
Yes. They know exactly what we mean. And if you think the church can survive such unhypocritical hypocrisy … you need to doublethink again.
Russ Dean serves as co-pastor of Park Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. He holds degrees from Furman University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Beeson Divinity School. He and his wife, Amy, have been co-pastors of Park Road since 2000. They are parents of two sons. Russ is active in social justice ministries and interfaith dialogue. He is author of the new book Finding A New Way.
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