Bill Donohue

In her CBS interview with Pope Francis, Norah O’Donnell made it appear that the pope approves of homosexuality. He does not. This is a serious misrepresentation.

She mentioned, in a voiceover, that during an impromptu press conference in 2013, “he spoke on the subject of homosexuality.” She quoted him as saying, “Who am I to judge?” She also quoted a more recent remark, “Homosexuality is not a crime.”

The latter comment is not in question. But she only quoted a portion of his former remark. Worse, she implied that he was speaking about homosexuality. He was not.

On his trip back from Brazil in 2013, Pope Francis was asked about a particular priest, Monsignor Battisa Ricca. He had been accused, but not convicted, of homosexual encounters. The pope said in reply, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?’’

It should be clear that the pope was not talking about homosexuality, which is behavior, but about someone’s sexual orientation, which is a condition. Conduct and status are not identical: being a homosexual and practicing homosexuality are two different things.

Had O’Donnell not left off the last word of the pope’s remark, namely “him,” it would be obvious that he thought it inappropriate to judge a person because he is straight or gay. He was not endorsing sodomy.

She is not the first to misrepresent what the pope said in this interview, but given the high profile that CBS is giving it, it is startling to see how sloppy the reporting is. That’s assuming it was a mistake.

Contact Christa Robinson, executive vice president, communications:

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