Pope Francis has spoken several times during his papacy on the problem of homosexuality. Without a pause, these sound-bites are picked up by the gay-friendly media and inevitably get misconstrued. Part of this is due to the imagined persona and expectations surrounding Francis, as a stealth-liberal and infrastructure-shacker, that has little to do with his own personality and interests and everything to do with the current pop-culture mind-set that looks upon everyone and everything that is morally-grounded and linked with the transcendent as off-kilter and suspect. Although, I must admit, that the things the Holy Father often says, also leave me wondering what he is trying to accomplish; and at other times puzzled as to what he means. This is particularly due to Francis’ certain liking for speaking off-the-cuff. While ingratiating to the media, and appearing as friendly and informal to the casual observer, this stance by Francis can prove to be a dangerous one as well. For, I think it can cause complacency, indifference, and confusion in the faithful. The latest interview by Pope Francis is a good example. In it, he said: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” Here, I think he makes a good point. I agree that many in the Catholic Church are overly obsessed with certain subjects, to the neglect of others. For instance, homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage are occasionally publically condemned, while the more widely practiced phenomena of heterosexual cohabitation is almost never mentioned at all. Only, many are easily corrupted and led astray by how the Pope’s words are variously interpreted; I was one of them. The Truth must be delivered, and always with certitude, but also gentleness. There are many facets to the Catholic Faith, not just the hotly contested ones; that’s what the Holy Father is saying. Then, on this very point, the Pope continued: “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds.” What I understand of his statement is – it is not enough to proclaim the sinfulness of certain actions, but once that is done - what are we going to do to help the sinner? This is a beautiful sentiment, but can likewise be woefully manipulated as a capitulation; yet, it doesn’t ring that way to me. Others, have not been so blessed with understanding; and are still fretfully searching. To those, our prayers must go. Although, the Pope smartly puts the responsibility firmly on the priests; because, tragically, as myself, and others, have been dreadfully misguided by poorly formed and horrendously deluded clerics who sent many a questioning homosexual man, with the best of intentions, back to the pits of hell. And, this is where the Pope truly demonstrations his understanding of the dire situation we are all in; in particular his reference to the Church as a “field hospital.” Because, we actually are at war: with the world and with satan. The imagery of death and destruction during a battle, and the wounded being carried into make-shift operating rooms is thoroughly appropriate in our modern state. For, when I was fighting on the other side, I constantly saw shattered and bleeding bodies strewn everywhere: young men who were once young and beautiful; corrupted so quickly by disease, drugs and depression. At that moment, they didn’t need a lecture or a dogmatic recitation, but a kindly gesture, and the loving embrace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.