Let us remember the victims of homophobia because “We cannot remain silent”
Article by Luca Kocci from the Il Manifesto newspaper, 17th May 2012, translated from the Italian by kathryn
Grassroots Catholic and LGBT Catholic groups in Italy are also mobilising for the international day against homophobia, promoting vigils for the victims of homophobic violence in different Italian cities, that in some cases have even received the approval of the bishops.
“The initiative started five years ago, explains Gianni Geraci, of the historic Guado group of Milan. A group of LGBT Christians from Florence commemorates the suicide of a gay adolescent from Torino who could not bear the constant bullying and teasing to which he was subjected by his classmate by gathering together to pray for the victims of homophobia”.
From this first event in Florence, vigils on a nation-wide scale were launched and soon multiplied, despite the initial ostracism faced from parish priests and bishops. This year over 20 vigils were held.
Some have already been held- in Pescara and Florence, within the Catholic Church, whereas in Turin, Marsala and Rimini they have been promoted by the Valdese community. Most vigils will take place within the next few days in Genova, Palermo, Grosseto, Livorno and in other cities, such as Milan, where on the 22 of May their vigil will be held, despite being at first prevented by the Catholic hierarchy, which then reversed its decision perhaps due to being “agitated” by news of the prohibition.
In Florence yesterday, LGBT Christians gathered in the Catholic parish Church of “Madonna della Tosse”, therefore implicitly with the tacit approval of the bishop, guided by the biblical passage: “Who says to be in the light when hating his brother is still in darkness”.
This evening is the turn of Palermo, in the parish Church of “San Gabriele Arcangelo”, together with members of the Valdese and Lutheran Churches, also in this case with the authorization of the Archbishop the Cardinal Romeo, who last year at the last minute had denied authorization to a planned vigil, forcing the organisers to hold the vigil outside in front of the church.
“We cannot remain in silence when millions of men and women worldwide are threatened, tortured and even killed only because they exist, love and want to be able to express their feelings, explain the activists of Gionata, the online Italian community of LGBT Christians.
For this reason we invite all persons of goodwill, Christian communities, secular and religious associations to participate in the vigils and commemorate the countless LGBT victims of violence and rejection in the home, in society, and also in the Church.
Text original: Veglie per le vittime dell’omofobia: «Non possiamo tacere»