The remarks Pope Francis made about accepting gays this week should not be seen as a liberalization of Roman Catholic Church values, according to Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
"In terms of substance, there's nothing startling about it … The Catholic Church has always taught that homosexuals and heterosexuals are equal in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the Catholic Church," Donohue told David Nelson, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newmax TV.
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"They possess equal human dignity and it is wrong to bash people whether they're gay or straight."
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On Monday, Francis jolted reporters when he said of homosexuals, "If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? … They shouldn’t be marginalized."
Donohue said both gays and straights run into problems with the church’s teachings when it comes to their sexual practices.
“The Catholic Church has always taught that one's sexual orientation is morally irrelevant. Now, if you're straight and you're having an adulterous affair, that's a problem. If you're a homosexual and you're sexually active, that's a problem," he said.
"But the status of being a homosexual or the status of being heterosexual is basically a nonstarter. It means nothing."
Donohue said the Catholic Church will never endorse same-sex marriage, despite it gaining acceptance in a number of states.
"That will never happen . . . There’s only two people in the history of the world who could ever create a family and that's one man and one woman. The purpose of marriage is procreation, period," he said.
"You can't name for me a single religion in the history of the world, any major religion, certainly, which has ever said that it's okay for two men to get married. This idea is one of the most bizarre ideas in history."
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