The long-awaited review by Fr James Martin LGBTSJ of the book-length interview with Pope Francis, published on December 3 in ten languages under the title ‘The Strength of Vocation’, is finally due to appear in America.
The interview contains explicit statements by the pontiff condemning homosexuality in the clergy:
“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be exacting. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in someway, also influences the life of the Church.
This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention.
The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case.”
Fr James has argued that the book is a glaring and egregious example of Fake News.
He does so by subjecting the text to rigorous literary analysis. Explicit statements (particularly in support of traditional doctrine) are claimed to be uncharacteristic of Francis. His style is allusive and oblique, tending to deconstruct existing teaching rather than reinforcing it. Martin cites the now-famous dictum ‘Who am I to judge?’
Francis, moreover, has a known preference for being interviewed by nonagenarians who do not take notes. He is clearly eager not to be pinned down. This accords with his settled practice of making statements off-the-cuff on aeroplanes or the like. In written statements Francis likes to include the most contentious elements in footnotes.
Fr Martin concludes: ‘All this and other evidence leads me to assert that this book cannot be relied on as a reflection of the views of Pope Francis. His pro-gay sympathies are well-known from recent appointments, not least in the United States. The supposed interviews are a fabrication by traditionalist homophobes and should be treated as such.’