News to make me proud to be a South African Catholic 🙂
South Africa’s Roman Catholic bishops have joined Catholics worldwide in condemning anti-gay laws popping up in nations around the globe. In an editorial in a Catholic weekly periodical, they specifically targeted anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Nigeria.
The Southern Cross is a Catholic weekly supported by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which also includes bishops from Botswana and Swaziland. In the editorial, the bishops urged the Catholic Church to oppose “draconian legislation aimed at criminalising homosexuals” as these laws are inconsistent with Church teachings. It stated further:
“These laws are not intended to render same-sex acts illegal — they already are, and punishable, in most African countries — but to persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Such laws are not only unjust, but they also have the potential to tear at the fabric of society if they are misused to facilitate false denunciations for gain, advancement or vengeance, much as what Christians are exposed to in Pakistan under that country’s intolerable blasphemy law.”
The editorial does not just oppose the legislation, but also condemns the populist politics and homophobia from which these laws have emerged. Noting negative effects such as discrimination and higher rate of suicides for LGBT people, especially youth, the editorial goes so far as to criticize a Spanish cardinal who made anti-gay remarks in January:
“Homophobia is largely premised on a false notion that homosexuality is chosen and curable. This month, Spanish Cardinal-elect Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, retired bishop of Pamplona, made the astonishing claim that homosexuality is a ‘defect’ comparable to his condition of high blood pressure…
“Their position is in conflict with Catholic teachings. The Church cannot sponsor the criminalisation of matters of private morality, and much less the advocacy of human rights. Prejudice and the persecution of homosexuals are in defiance of Catholic doctrine.
“Jailing homosexuals for being gay and insisting on their human rights, or even for having sex, self-evidently is a sign of ‘unjust discrimination’ that lacks in respect and compassion.”
via Bondings 2.0.
- South African Catholic Bishops Condemn Anti-Gay Laws – Will You Join Them? (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Discrimination and the Catholic Church: Nigeria (news.queerchurch.com)
- “Indiana Catholic bishops issue statement on gay marriage ban” – Indianapolis Star (news.queerchurch.com)
- Catholic Sexual Ethics and the Category of Justice: A Reminder about Margaret Farley’s Pioneering Work (bilgrimage.blogspot.com)
- The Pope’s Sex Problem: Catholic Survey Reveals Frustrated Flock (spiegel.de)