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By Edward Pentin

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy offered the following comments for an article I wrote this week in the National Catholic Register on Pope Francis’ recent comments on homosexuality.

His complete yet brief remarks could not fit into the piece, so I publish them here in full:

Father Weinandy, do you think the Pope would be right to invite a discussion on this issue at the February meeting on protection of minors and vulnerable adults from clerical sex abuse, and why do you think he made these remarks, given Aug. 9 and so not long after the McCarrick scandal broke?

I think that it would be right for Pope Francis to invite the members of the February meeting to discuss the issue of homosexual oriented clergy. This is an important issue since it has become apparent that some members of the clergy, including bishops, engage in homosexual activity.  It is known that they prey upon seminarians and young men. There is also the problem of “gay networks.” Such behavior cannot be tolerated. The February meeting desperately needs to address these issues, if the meeting is to be taken seriously.

How much influence do you expect the Pope’s remarks on this issue will have on the conference?

This is hard to judge. The problem is that the Pope has to act on his own words.  If he himself does not actively engage the issue, no one else will.  Without his actively engaging the issue, no one will take him seriously. This is because the Vatican seems at times to promote “the gay agenda.” We only have to look at the Week on Marriage and Family life that took place in Dublin and the Synod on Youth. What we have learned is that what Pope Francis says has little meaning in and of itself. The real Pope Francis is only seen within his actions, and his actions often are in conflict with his words. So if Francis insists on specific actions and if he himself actually does something, then what he says could have an effect upon the conference.

Are you concerned that Cardinal Blase Cupich, whom the Pope appointed head of the preparation committee for the February summit will try to remove this connection, or could the Pope’s comments have made that less likely?

My guess would be that Cardinal Cupich would not want to engage this issue. He is one of the promoters of “the gay agenda.” The appointment of Cardinal Cupich is a good example of Pope Francis saying one thing (concern about homosexuality among priests) and then doing something that would undermine that stated concern (the appointment of Cardinal Cupich as the head of the preparation for the meeting).