Homosexual Christians ask the Pope to condemn homophobia
By Marco Politi, Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italy), June 9, 2011, page 10, translated by Marta
“Holy Father, we are addressing you to ask you to condemn deeds of violence against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, and to call for His Holiness’ cooperation in decriminalizing homosexual acts worldwide – so Christian gays wrote to the Pope.
To the groups of homosexual Christians that are attending Rome’s EuroPride festival it is important that the Holy See supports Onu’s call to the countries of the whole world to recognize that sexual orientation cannot be a basis for penal sentence, prison sentence and executions.
It is a letter written in a calm tone. “Acts of violence, tortures, murders of LGBT people frequently occur in several parts of the world and those who commit them are often convinced they are complying with the will of the Catholic church… We plead for His Holiness to give to all the Christians precise information on the passages of the Bible that are used to justify these barbaric acts… The verses that support the murder of those who engage in homosexual sex must not be literally interpreted”.
Tomorrow (June 10, 2011) a delegation of the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups, representing 44 homosexual Christian groups, is going to the Vatican to deliver the letter for Benedict XVI.
The groups of Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans and other Christian confessions come from 22 countries – from Armenia to Great Britain, from Spain to Russia, from Sweden to Malta. It is of some interest to witness the forming of Christian LGBT groups in the countries of the former Soviet Union, where Orthodox Christianity is widely spread and deep-rooted.
The letter to the Pope also requests the Catholic Church to stop placing pressure in favour of the supposed “therapies” that should heal homosexuality. Such therapies are experiments to which some parents are induced and that have caused severe psychic damages to the boys and girls that had been treated.
The magazine of Italian bishops itself, Avvenire, clearly stated, in a recent issue on the topic, that homosexuality is not to be considered an illness that must be cured. “Since science has proved that homosexuality is just a variant of human sexual orientation, we are calling for this scientific fact to be included in the teachings of the Church”.
The Forum finally asks Benedict XVI to “reappraise the position of the Curch on same-sex and trans relationships, supporting the acceptance and the blessing of such relationships inside the Church”. This problem is keenly felt in Italy, as an ecclesiastical veto has been wielded over a law concerning civil unions.
Fare Italia mag, the web project directed by Adolfo Urso, considers “a shame” the fact that the Parliament does not discuss a problem that “concerns a few millions of people”. The hope is that the right-wing parties will make headway. A mass mobilization is taking place for the EuroPride and a massive participation is forecast, with activists and sympathizers of any cultural orientation.
On Saturday the EuroPride parade is going to route from Piazza dei Cinquecento to the Circo Massimo and Lady Gaga is going to perform on the evening, at 9 pm. A debate on “Judaism and homophobia” is also going to take place at the EuroPride Village in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
The Catholics that are part of the Forum have organized for tomorrow a conference on the relationship between the Churches and the gays in Europe. The theologian John McNeill, founder of the famous Dignity association in the Usa, is going to attend it, along with Franco Barbero.
During the debate, accounts are going to be given on how the acceptance of homosexuality is shaped among the ecclesiastical communities of the different countries.
There are several examples of ecclesiastical hierarchies starting to accept gay reality. During the debate, there is going to be an account of The Soho Masses, which have been organized by the Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement and celebrated since 2007 in the Assumption Church of Warwich Street, with the Catholic archbishopric‘s full consent.
It is not a “gay Mass” – it is an open-to-all ceremony, performed on the first and the third Sunday of each month. The new Catholic archbishop of London, Mgr Vincent Nichols, has resisted the pressures of Catholic conservatives for stopping such experience – says Martin Pendergast, who is going to attend the conference on Friday.
Even more – on a public occasion, he declared: “It is clear that there is a link between procreation and human sexuality. Now, how can we start off from this principle and have an open and continuous confrontation with those who say ‘This principle is not part of my experience’ without losing it?
How can we make the principles written in the wide book of nature agree with the ‘individual experiences’? This is the field (the problem) towards which we have to be sensitive and open – the field we must truly be willing to explore”.
If this were also the words of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in Rome, maybe the Italian gay believers would organize a novena.