Monday, 12 April 2010

Independent: The source of homophobia
12.4.10? by John Guillaumier, ST JULIAN’S

The Roman Catholic Church is the source of homophobia in the Western world – as shown by remarks and statements made by Catholic prelates themselves.

On 23 December 2008, the local media reported: “Pope Benedict said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.”

In October of the same year, “a leading Vatican official called homosexuality a ‘deviation, an irregularity, a wound’.”

On 4 April 2007, it was reported that Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco “was under police guard after someone spray- painted ‘shame’ on the doors of his cathedral over his comparison of gay rights to incest and paedophilia”.

On 11 May 2007, local media published two striking photos taken during Pope Benedict’s trip to Brazil. The first caption ran as follows: “Members of the Sao Paulo gay community hold a candlelight vigil for victims of violence against homosexuals, during a protest against the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality...The group held a protest at the same time that the Pope arrived in Sao Paulo for a five-day visit. The banner read: ‘Homophobia is a sin’.”

The caption of the second photo read: “Members of the Bahia State gay community burn portraits of Pope Benedict XVI during a protest against the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality.”

On 30 December 2008, The Times published a letter by Daniel Bartolo who reminded readers that “the EU declaration at the United Nations calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality was strongly opposed by the Vatican”. Mr Bartolo ended his letter by saying “I, for one, no longer feel part of this homophobic machine that the Pope has turned the Catholic Church into.”

In 2007, The Times’ M magazine published an interview with a former Polish-American Catholic priest. The Catholic Church, said the former priest, is “no longer a living Church because it sees everything as a problem. It has its own ‘god of the groin’ – whether it’s homosexuality, pre-marital sex, contraception...”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a convert to Roman Catholicism said: “the Catholic Church needed to rethink its attitude towards homosexuality.”

Meanwhile, the homophobic remarks by Roman Catholic prelates continue, even though the Vatican tries to excuse them by claiming that these remarks are not the official statements of the Church. Whatever the excuses offered by the Vatican, the fact remains that inflammatory remarks against homosexuals were made, and continue to be made, by the scarlet-robed “princes of the Church”.

In fact, Mexican Cardinal Javier Barragan said: “Transsexuals and homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Cardinal Thomas Winning “has provoked an angry reaction from gay rights groups”, reported the local media on 24 January 2000, “by comparing the threat from the homosexual lobby in Europe to that of the Nazis during World War Two... Winning described homosexuals as ‘perverts’.”

After homophobic remarks like these by Catholic Cardinals, it beats me why any gay man who values his dignity as a human being would want to be a Roman Catholic!

Finding Cardinal Winning’s homophobic remarks too inflammatory, I sent a letter of protest to his address in Scotland. This letter was sent in February 2000 – long before the sex abuse scandals that have left the Roman Catholic Church reeling with shame and disgrace. Here’s an excerpt from my letter:

“Before calling homosexuals ‘perverts’, Cardinal Winning should look around his own ‘backyard’ – he’ll find plenty of perverts there, including a fellow Cardinal, Mgr Groer, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, who was dropped like a hot potato after he was accused of having sexually abused boys.

“Across the Irish Sea from Scotland, ‘the Irish police have set up a special unit of 13 officers to investigate 230 allegations of physical and sexual abuse by 75 Christian Brothers...” (Time, 9 August 1999). Talk about ‘perverts’!

“Ireland’s faith has been blasted away by a series of sex scandals... Those old enough to remember an Ireland where parents hoped their sons would grow up to be priests feel particularly betrayed. Dubliner Alan O’Connor refuses to go to Mass. ‘Perverts, they’re all perverts,’ he says. ‘Why should I go and confess my sins to a pervert?’” (Newsweek, 12 July 1999).

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