Father Pedro Labrín: ‘Let us take off the sunglasses: the Church is full of homosexuals’
Interview published in the Spanish, magazine La Tercera (Chile), June 13, 2015 , page 6, translation Carlos (Padis+ – CVX-Chile)
In October last year, in the same month the Synod of the Bishops made known a document where is was said that homosexuals have “gifts and qualities” to offer and they should be accepted (without compromising the catholic doctrine on the family), the Chilean priest Pedro Labrín travelled to Rome together with members of the Sexual Diversity Pastoral Community (PADIS+).
‘We are catholic and gay’ read some of the signs they displayed on Saint Peter’s Square. Minutes later, Fr. Labrín showed Pope Francis a photo of the pastoral community he accompanies since 2010 when a group of homosexuals approached him, asking to be part of the CLC, the association of catholic lay believers linked to the Jesuits. ‘I admire them for their endurance, above all for not having left [the Church] as many did ‘.
How was the integration of the homosexuals into the community?
It never ceases to amaze me to watch the conversion of the members of the CLC, especially those of the adult section. Some have been members for over 40 years and you could think there might be an adverse attitude and the truth is that we have had no resistance in the CLC.
And from the outside?
That is harder. Sexuality conceals fears and anxieties. Some people react based on prejudice, based on the stigma of horror, based on [conceptions like] the ‘poor thing’ or the feeling that this pot cannot be uncovered because it might pervert the educational models and the family. These are irrationalities that we have inherited culturally.
Did it break prejudice inside the CLC?
It did. It broke and continues breaking it. A wise choice by PADIS+ is having uninstalled the triple x imagery we have of homosexuality and make us understand them as human beings that are absolutely normal. Thus, the irrational fear loses its foundations and trust grows. I am convinced that the inclusion of sexual diversity in the Church causes people to be more mature, more aware of themselves, happier and less complicated, ie, better human beings.
The priest tells us that last year they held for the first time the Dinner of Inclusion. ‘It was the first time in history that the CLC building was decorated for a formal dinner and there were homosexual and heterosexual families sitting together and sharing. It was an image of the Kingdom of Heaven not to be forgotten.’
What have been the benefits for heterosexuals when including homosexuals?
Many realised the responsibility we all have for upholding a historic injustice of thousands of years and for committing to a change. It is impressive how the people I know have become agents of change in the most various realities since knowing them – from changing the vocabulary within the family to interrupting a parents’ meeting because they see a discriminatory attitude. The effect is mobilising.
How would you like the Church to include homosexuals?
I would like that Padis+ was not necessary and that it was not necessary either settling responsibilities within the Church according to the sexual orientation. That it was not an issue.
But, how is real inclusion achieved if the Church has its own boundaries as per the catholic doctrine on matters like marriage or family?
I want to talk about the limits. Let us take of our sunglasses: the Church is full of homosexuals. They are in the Church because they are in the country and in the world. Us making them invisible do not make them disappear. The definition of the Christian is not pursuant to the law but to a person that is Jesus Christ. Our rule is Jesus.
Will there be homosexual marriage in the Church?
That path is a longer one due to other theological dimensions to be solved, but recognition of the sexual diversity, yes, there must be. Recognising the enormous social, human and spiritual capital and giving them the space they deserve.