On the plane back from Brazil's World Youth Day, Pope Francis conversed with journalists on a broad range of subjects. The next morning, his statement, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" was reported by leading media outlets as a signal for change within the Catholic Church. Generally ignored was the pontiff's reiteration that the Church teaches that homosexual acts are a sin.
"This is yet another example of the mainstream media being utterly incompetent when reporting on matters of religion," says Al Kresta, author of the new book Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism's 21st Century Opponents and host of Ave Maria Radio's Kresta in the Afternoon.
He says that any journalist worthy of the title needs only reference the catechism of the Catholic Church to understand the context of the Pope's statement.
"In fact," explains Kresta, "one need only to read the next sentence of Pope Francis' comments: 'The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers.'"
Instead of understanding the Church's constant teaching, Kresta says the media used the pope's words as a shameful attempt to pit Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis against each other.
"The Pope broke no new ground because Catholic teaching is, and always will be, that homosexual orientation is not in and of itself sinful," Kresta says.