Europarliament: Religious Leaders Homophobic

But Cardinal Defends Church, Citing Catechism

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ROME, APRIL 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Church officials criticized a European Parliament resolution that condemns "discriminatory comments" made by political and religious leaders against homosexuals.



The resolution, which passed 325-124, with 150 abstentions, condemns the "discriminatory comments formulated by politicians and religious leaders about homosexuals, as fermenting hatred and violence -- even if they were later withdrawn -- and it asks that the hierarchies of the respective organizations condemn them as well."

The European Parliament did refuse to include the proposal of three Italians to publicly condemn Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco for his statements against homosexuals, which were falsely interpreted by the press and then later clarified.

The approved resolution invites member states to propose laws "that overcome discriminations suffered by same sex couples" and "reminds all member states that the prohibition of the Gay Pride Parade and the lack of protection offered to its participants are against the principles of the European Convention of human rights."

The resolution also proposes that an annual "International Day Against Homophobia" be held on May 17.

Time to settle

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice and Cardinal Peter Erdo and Monsignor Aldo Giordano, president and secretary-general of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, respectively, defended the Church against accusations that it doesn't respect homosexual persons.

"There is no homophobia in the Catholic Church and it is time that all this ended," Cardinal Scola said on Thursday to the Italian bishops' television network, Sat 2000.

Referring to the European Parliament, he said: "There needs to be more respect for the orientation of our people. There is no need to tell lies."

Paolo Bustaffa, director of the Italian bishops' SIR news agency, told Vatican Radio last Thursday: "It is clear that they are suspicious of the Church's thinking in regard to these situations, these people, for whom -- the Catechism of the Catholic Church says -- the Church has a great respect."

"Respect for people, however, cannot nullify a problematic aspect," he added. "There must be understanding but in many cases there cannot be justification."