Evangelist Franklin Graham and other Protestant leaders hit out against recent comments Pope Francis made that seemingly endorsed civil union laws for same-sex couples.
“The news has reported that Pope Francis said in a new documentary that ‘homosexuals have a right to be part of the family’ and is calling for civil union laws for same-sex couples,” Graham wrote in part on a Facebook post. “I find these comments from the Pope unthinkable in light of the Word of God.”
“For Pope Francis to attempt to normalize homosexuality is to say that Holy Scriptures are false, that our sins really don’t matter, and that we can continue living in them,” Graham continued.
As The Christian Post reported, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President J.D. Greear reiterated Graham’s denunciation, telling Baptist Press: “No matter what a pope, pastor or elected official says, we do not get to define sexuality or the family. The Creator does, and on this, His word could not be more clear.”
Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, asserted that “every wing of the church — Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox — has for 2,000 years affirmed Jesus’ view of marriage — that marriage is, from the beginning, a union between a man and a woman in covenant fidelity to one another.”
“The Bible also makes clear that marriage is a mystery that points beyond itself to the Gospel, the union of Christ and His church,” he added. “We ought to treat everyone justly and with compassion, including those with whom we disagree, but no church has the authority to put asunder what Christ has joined together in the Word He has given to us.”
The pope was met with rebuke not only from Protestants, but also from prelates of the Catholic Church.
Several Roman Catholic prelates either denounced or attempted to clarify comments Pope Francis made this week that endorsed civil union laws for same-sex couples.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American who has before described homosexual relationships as “profoundly disordered and harmful,” said in a statement: “Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful, inasmuch as they are contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”
“They cause wonderment and error regarding the Church’s teaching among people of good will, who sincerely wish to know what the Catholic Church teaches,” Burke further described the papal comments. “They impose upon pastors of souls the duty of conscience to make fitting and necessary clarifications. The context and the occasion of such declarations make them devoid of any magisterial weight. They are rightly interpreted as simple private opinions of the person who made them.”
“These declarations do not bind, in any manner, the consciences of the faithful who are rather obliged to adhere with religious submission to what Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the ordinary Magisterium of the Church teach,” Burke added.
Related: ‘Confusion And Error’: Cardinals And Bishops Come Out Against Papal Comments On Same-Sex Civil Unions