It wasn’t just the Philadelphia Inquirer that went into high gear about the lesbian school teacher who was fired from an independent Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: the Associated Press (AP) flipped out as well.
On August 9, AP reporter Maryclaire Dale misrepresented what Pope Francis said about gays, and then accused Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput of “wading into the issue.” This was the fourth AP story on this non-story.
“Pope Francis refined his vision for the church last week when he said long-spurned divorced and remarried Catholics should be welcomed with ‘open doors,'” Dale wrote. “And he has famously parsed centuries of thought on homosexuality into a five-word quip, ‘Who am I to judge?'”
There are three serious misrepresentations in those two sentences. Pope Francis told divorced and remarried Catholics last week that they have not been excommunicated, and are in fact welcome in the Church. He also said that none of this is to imply that they are welcome at the Communion rail. They are not. This is standard Church teaching. Thus, there was nothing for the pope to “refine.”
“Who am I to judge” was not what the pope said. Those words were at the end of a sentence, one that had two qualifiers: “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” More important, he was not discussing homosexuality—he was discussing gays. On July 13, Dale correctly noted that the pope was speaking about gays, not sodomy. So why did she get it wrong this time around?
Finally, it must be said that AP was the one who was guilty of “wading into the issue”—not the man whose job it is to discuss schools in his archdiocese.