The Pope and same-sex unions. How to react to this?

Comment by Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich), Managing Director of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In one of our recent conversations, we already talked about how dangerous and how far we can go by indulging the spirit of this world. Then some religious leaders very vividly responded to the radical anti-racist movement, which is now very popular in the Western world, and hastened to support it in one way or another, including by placing an image of a black Christ in the church.

And now the news columns were thrilled again by the statement of the Pope. In a documentary about Pope Francis shown the other day in Italy, he expressed his opinion about the representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation: «They are children of God and have the right to a family. Nobody should be rejected or unhappy about it. We must create a law on civil unions to ensure that they are protected by law».

There are already a number of contradictions in this one phrase. Of course, we are all children of God – both righteous and sinners, and the Lord will judge everyone. But what does it mean «everyone has the right to a family»? Family is a gift from God, presented to our first parents at the same time as the commandment: «Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it» (Genesis 1:28). From a Christian point of view, the family and its foundation is marriage, it is the union of a man and a woman. What family is the Pope talking about? A family based on so-called «same-sex unions» cannot be unambiguously accepted by the Church, and no excuses like «no one should be rejected or unhappy because of this» don’t work in this case. We know that a person can achieve true happiness only in union with the Lord, and not in sinful union that satisfies lust.

It is also incomprehensible why Pope Francis is so worried about the creation of a law on «civil unions», what such laws might have to do with the Church? There are many questions, and they all hang in the air…

Furthermore. In the film, Pope Francis communicates with a «same-sex couple» and recommends to leave fears and come to church with children «despite someone’s indignation». And there are many questions here too. Do I need to bring my children to church? Sure. But how can a visit to church affect children who daily see their «parents» publicly living in sin, especially since this sin is no longer called a sin...

Now you can hear many words in defense of Pope Francis, that he was misunderstood, that he was simply showing Christian mercy. In fact, Christian mercy consists in bringing the sinner to repentance, not in indulging his/her sins. Pity does not mean justification. There is an ancient principle: «Love the sinner, but hate the sin». Do we see it here? Unfortunately, no.

And further. Some are perplexed as to how it is possible to seriously discuss the statements of the Pope, when we now have a lot of divorces, abortions and other negative factors. I think this is a kind of pharisaism. After all, the Church condemns both divorce and abortion in the same way. The task of the Church is to bear witness to the Truth in any place: both in our country and in the whole world. And if we ignore the substitution of Christian values for the godless in essence cult of tolerance, this attack will soon come to us.

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