The Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi have publicly called on the Malawian Government to resume criminalizing members of the LGBTI community and end its moratorium on prosecuting those accused of indulging in gay sex.
The government, under President Joyce Banda, announced that authorities would no longer enforce Malawi’s laws criminalizing same-sex activities so that the country could have a conversation about whether to legalize homosexuality in 2012.
In the meantime Malawi’s High Court has been reviewing the constitutionality of the country’s laws criminalizing LGBTI people for several years but has not yet come to a decision.
However the Catholic Church in Malawi has now had enough and wants the law enforced again, saying the government only suspended the law because of foreign pressure.
Source: Malawi Catholic Church demands government resumes jailing gays – Gay Star News
Frank DeBenardo of New Ways Ministry is in Rome for the Family Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. While there, he was able to interview Cardinal Turkson, an African who heads the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and extracted from him two notable statements:
You’ve made a number of statements on criminalization laws which have been interpreted variously? What is your position on criminalizing lesbian and gay people?
My position has had two parts. Homosexuals cannot be criminalized. Neither can any state be victimized. So, let no state criminalize homosexuals, but let no state by victimized. No state should have aid denied because of this.
Last week, Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said that African bishops were reluctant to oppose criminalization, but that they were growing in awareness of lesbian and gay people. Do you see African bishops outgrowing their reluctance to oppose criminalization laws soon?
We are all growing in this regard. When we come to meetings like the synod and listen to one another, we learn from one another. We hear bishops telling stories of their relatives’ pain, and we grow.
Source: Bondings 2.0
India’s Supreme Court reinstated a law that bans homosexuality as a “crime against nature” earlier this week, intensifying divisions between LGBT advocates and the religious communities they blame for this development. Catholic leaders have varied in responding to the Court’s decision, but there are hopeful signs as at least one bishop spoke out against the law.
Outlawing homosexuality in India dates to British colonial rule more than a century ago. Recent legal debates began after a New Delhi court overturned the law in 2009. Anti-LGBT organizations, including faith-based ones, have sought to re-criminalize homosexuality since then. The Supreme Court’s ruling now says it is up to the nation’s legislators to repeal the law if that is what is desired.
The Times of India reports that religious groups have welcomed the ruling, with leaders using extremely homophobic language and advocating “ex-gay therapy” in their statements. Relative to these, Catholic leaders’ remarks have seemed muted and even positive. Archbishop Anil J T Couto of Delhi merely reaffirmed the hierarchy’s position on marriage equality and a spokesperson stated the archdiocese opposed any law that would criminalize homosexuality. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai is quoted by UCANews.com as saying:
– continue reading at Bondings 2.0.