Sunday, 12 June 2011

MaltaToday: Gay Christians call on Pope to reconsider position on same-sex relationships
FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011

Gay rights activists protest 'reparative treatment' being performed by religious groups in Malta. (Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday)

'Pope must provide clear information to Christians on Bible passages being used to justify gay violence.'

The organisation for gay Christians Drachma has joined the European Forum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual Christain groups in a letter to Pope Benedict calling on him to condemn acts of violence against gay people and call for the lifting the penalisation of homosexual acts worldwide.

In the letter signed by Diane Xuereb and Dr Michael Brinkschröder, the forum says that silence from the Pope would be interpreted by abusers as "consent to their actions."

Xuereb and Brinkschröder also called on the Pope to reconsider the Church's position on same-sex and transgender relationships and support these relationships being accepted and blessed in the Church.

"We appeal to Your Holiness to cease to urge Catholics' to vote against the law authorising same-sex relationships. Same-sex and transgender relationships are not dangerous for traditional family existence but in fact support and enhance marriage and family values."

In December 2008 the Holy See refused to support the United Nations declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity. This declaration included a paragraph calling upon States to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.

The group said the Pope must provide clear information to Christians concerning the passages of the Bible that are used to justify these abhorrent actions. "As with the passages supporting slavery, the verses advocating the killing of persons engaged in same-sex sexual activity must not be interpreted literally," the forum said.

It also called on the Pope to make sure "reparative thearpy" – where Catholic clergy reportedly tries to change people's sexual orientation – is no longer preached.

The forum said an official Church demand for LGBT people to live in sexual abstinence leads to suicides and severe forms of depression as they try to be obedient to the church's teachings. "As science has testified that homosexuality is a variant of sexuality, we appeal that this scientific knowledge is included in the teaching of the church."

Drachma said the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual persons should be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. "If this was truly the case then compassion would not be necessary. Homophobic behaviour and opinions are especially painful when perpetrated by Christians - both clergy and laity, and are not in keeping with showing respect."

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