Katie Kieffer
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Every time Pope Francis opens his mouth on gays or women, journalists twist his words. Why?

In this country, we believe in free speech and religious freedom, as expressed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is concerning that journalists, whose livelihood depends on free speech, constantly run headlines distorting the Pope’s words and thus attacking religious free speech.

These journalists don’t even realize that when they distort Pope Francis for profit (wild headlines make money), they hurt themselves by chipping away at freedom. Journalists are not pastors. Why can’t they be content to let people express their faith for God as they see fit?

Recently, the Pope said this: "When I meet a gay person... If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers."

The Pope’s words sound very loving and Christ-like without endorsing gay behavior in Catholic priests. Here, the Pope is conceding that he, as a human being, cannot judge another human being’s heart. The Pope is articulating the Catholic belief that only God can judge our hearts and we are all brothers and sisters, made in the image and likeness of Christ.

Pope Francis also recently excommunicated a priest named Father Greg Reynolds and TIME ran a sob story, giving former-Fr. Reynolds the chance to call the Pope “inconsistent.” Actually, the Pope was being quite consistent. Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy. It would not have mattered if Reynolds were gay or heterosexual.

The Catholic Church expects its priests to honor their commitments. If Reynolds wants to be a different sort of pastor, there are many other religions where he could do so. He did not need to take a vow of celibacy; he chose to.

Another Pope Francis line that the media loves to twist, is the line below, to say that the Pope believes women should be priests:

“We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of women within the Church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.”

Here, the Pope is holding women up as the powerful leaders that they are, welcoming them into the Catholic Church, and asking others to do likewise. First, if Pope Francis believed women should be priests, he would explicitly say so. Second, being a “priest” would not glorify women in the way that Christ glorified women:

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Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is a columnist and political commentator. She runs KatieKieffer.com. Kieffer is the author of the forthcoming book "LET ME BE CLEAR."