No One Should Be Mistreated: But Sin is Still Real
The Pope has called on the Church to apologize for its mistreatment of gay persons. And that’s fair enough, and sensible. As long as the Pope recognizes that the Church still teaches that homosexual behavior is a deviation from the divine norm. Deviation from the divine norm is called sin.
The problem with the Pope’s widely publicized statement is that he didn’t go forward to explain that while it is true that no one deserves to be mistreated or cruelly treated, sin cannot be winked at because of the power it continues to have to destroy human lives. Deviation from the divine norm is ‘sin’ precisely because it ruins lives.
A blanket ‘apology’ (whatever that is supposed to mean in practical terms) comes off sounding an awful lot like acceptance and permission. It’s as though the Pope were saying ‘we’re sorry for mistreating you. What you do and how you live is ok with us and we want you to simply carry on with your lives as you please’.
Such a disposition towards sin may suit the Millennials and persons wishing neither a relationship with God nor the Church as it grants them permission to do as they please, but it lacks the element of authentic grace.
Authentic grace isn’t permission to destroy oneself through sin; it is redemption, new birth, new life, change. It is a person transformed by grace to a new being altogether.
The Pope’s statement isn’t Christian in the sense that it fails to take sin seriously and it fails to take grace seriously. It races past sin and the sin problem to embrace a cheap grace which transforms no one and leaves the dead in their trespasses and sins to rot in them.