Vatican Opposes Discrimination Against Homosexuals

Spokesman Restates Teaching After Holy See Criticized

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Contrary to the way the media paints the picture, the Holy See is against the discrimination of homosexuals, clarified a Vatican spokesman.



Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this in response to Italian press reports on an interview with Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. The archbishop told a news agency that the Holy See would not support an expected French proposal for a U.N. resolution to decriminalize homosexuality. The prelate explained that the initiative could include at the same time the imposition of homosexual marriage in national law.

Father Lombardi clarified that refusal to support the proposal does not imply support for discrimination against homosexuals.

"Obviously no one wants to defend the death penalty for homosexuals, as some would insinuate," he said.

"The well-known principles of respect for the fundamental rights of the person and the rejection of all unjust discrimination -- recognized clearly by the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself -- evidently exclude not only the death penalty, but all violent or discriminatory penal legislations in relation to homosexuals," the spokesman stated.

Paragraph No. 2358 of the Catechism affirms: "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

Now then, Father Lombardi continued, the proposed resolution from France does not seek solely the "decriminalization of homosexuality."

He explained: "Rather it moreover introduces a declaration of political value that could result in systems of control, according to which, every norm -- not only legal, but also related to the life of social or religious groups -- which does not place every sexual orientation on exactly the same level could be considered as contrary to respect of human rights.

"This could clearly become an instrument of pressure or discrimination against those who, just to put a very clear example, consider marriage between a man and a woman to be the fundamental and original form of social life, and as such, [believe] that it should have a privileged place."

Furthermore, the priest noted, the Vatican is hardly alone in rejecting the possible resolution.

"It is not coincidence that less that 50 member states of the United Nations have adhered to this proposal," he said, "while more than 150 have not. The Holy See is not the only one."