Can the CBCP comment on what the pope said?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

An offhand remark that  Pope Francis made about gay people in July came out a week ago; it’s still the single most memorable statement of his pontificate. He made it during a press conference on a flight from Rio to Rome, after a reporter alluded to a supposed “gay lobby” at the Vatican. Francis said, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has a good will, then who am I to judge him?”

That reply, just four months after his election, signalled that, as he settled into the office, he wasn’t going to abandon the joyous spontaneity of the first weeks of his tenure. It revealed his personal humility before questions of human sexuality, and suggested an openness to the lives of gay people that runs strongly counter to Catholic history, Church teaching and Vatican policy.

Pope Francis’ recently released remarks about same-sex civil unions are quite a bit more ambiguous. They appear in a documentary “Francesco,” made with the approval of the Vatican, which had its première on Wednesday, at the Rome Film Festival. Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, who has made films about the crises in Ukraine and Syria, the documentary follows people whose lives have been affected by the pope.

One sequence involves Andrea Rubera, a gay man who lives in Rome with his partner and their three adopted children. After taking part in a mass at the papal residence, Rubera gave Francis a letter explaining that he and his partner hope to raise the children as Catholics. Francis phoned him, offered encouragement and told him, as Rubera recalls in the film, to be aware that, in the parish, “not all people will share your choice of having a family like that.” Rubera adds, “He didn’t mention which was his opinion about my family. Probably he is following the doctrine on this point. But the attitude toward people has massively changed.”

In the film, Francis is then heard saying, “Homosexual people have a right to be in the family. They are children of God. They have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out of the family or made miserable over this. What we have to make is a law of civil coexistence, for they have the right to be legally covered. I stood up for that.”

Over the weekend I was waiting for comments to appear in Youtube; however they were mostly in the negative, with one cardinal asking the faithful to pray for the soul of Pope Francis because he is not following the doctrines taught by the Catholic Church.

At this point, I would like to wait for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to say their piece on this issue. At this stage some governments have come up with laws to legalize same sex unions, which the Catholic church does not recognize. So what does the CBCP say about this?

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My article last week triggered a lot of emails. I’m not reprinting them here as they sort of reveal the company that fooled them into investing. I didn’t want my readers to know who are these developers as there are many in Cebu City.

Here is another letter: “Dear Bobit, Reading your column today and the news compels me to make the ff. observations: (1) I am opposed to renaming Del Monte Ave. into FPJ Ave. FPJ can be honored thru other means but not at the cost of removing an age-old name. Renaming streets is one of the worst exercises of legislation indicating lack of knowledge for more urgent and vital issues. If needed I can provide a few suggestions. (2) Ignoring history is abominable in any sense, at any time, anywhere, by anyone. Whether we like it or not it is there, it occurred, it has happened. No denial, no abhorence, nothing can change it. Woe unto those legislators of the past, even that president who instigated it, for changing the date of our independence from the true and real date of July 4, 1946 to that sham of a local town proclamation of June 12, 1898. Shame on all of us for this masterful maneuver of history! No wonder the world has lost respect for Filipinos in general. Honestly I didn’t know that this was in the works.

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DOLE estimates that 10 million Filipinos stand to lose their jobs by the close of 2020, as the economy suffers a downturn from its efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Some call this pandemic an act of God, not because God inflicted this upon us, but because the repercussions of this outbreak has tended to spin out of control, and perhaps only the hand of God can stay it. This may be true in one sense, but not in the sense that God has not given us the means to cope with it and to come out of it not only alive, but even better than before.

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Email: [email protected]

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