Homosexuals and the Catholic Church: the story of a historical rejection

Pope Francis endorsed the civil union between people of the same sex. Given this, we decided to find out the bases of this conflict

Pope Francis endorsed the civil union between people of the same sex. Given this, we decided to find out the bases of this conflict .

Group of people marching under an LGBTI flag

Pope Francis has aroused controversy among Catholics with his statements about the LGBTI community. / Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: Homosexuales y la Iglesia Católica: la historia de un rechazo histórico

The Catholic Church continues to tend to its affairs, even during the pandemic. Surprisingly, we recently noticed an important announcement that could mean a paradigm shift. As revealed by Page 12, Pope Francis recognized "civil coexistence between people of the same sex."

Francisco would have recognized his position in the documentary Francesco, which was presented at the Rome Film Festival. There he remarked that homosexuals "have the right to be in the family," which is why he asked for rules to guarantee this right, which should be legally covered.

It was a surprise announcement, which is why the Clarín media portrayed it as a “historic change of position”, due to the conflicts that the Catholic Church and Bergoglio himself had with respect to this sector. Let's see, then, what is the historical position that the highest ecclesiastical institution had with respect to homosexuals.

The conflict between the Church and homosexuals

When Francisco announced his statements about the homosexual community, the news came as a surprise. This could be based on the conflicting history of the institution's own conflict with this group, but the pope's position had been known for some time. For example, Ámbito mentions that, in 2013, Bergoglio said that "God loves homosexuals."

From El Mundo they also reported that, in a meeting with British comedian Stephen K. Amos, the Pope argued that the person who rejects homosexuals "does not have a human heart." Despite this trend in favor of the sector, which seemed to culminate in the approval of civil marriage for homosexuals, his own position in the past is also controversial.

La Izquierda Diario had reported that Francisco recommended "resorting to psychiatry" when parents find a homosexual tendency in their children from infancy. In other words, he considered it a kind of "deviation" or disease from God's designs, causing the rejection of the entire LGBT community.

However, the story runs much deeper, to the point where some consider it to be a highly homophobic institution. For example, according to what the BBC reveals, the priest Krysztof Charamsa, a Vatican theologian, was expelled from the curia after announcing that he was homosexual, which is why he admitted that the Church "has turned the life of gays ”.

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For example, according to Profile, Benedict XVI, Francis' predecessor, had a diametrically opposite vision and even more conservative than the current eminence of the Catholic Church. From his perspective, Ratzinger believes that gay marriage is "the antichrist," so he is against efforts to modernize the Church.

Going back further in time, the previous Holy Father, John Paul II, had launched a statement against civil unions between gays and lesbians. In this way, Catholic politicians and rulers were encouraged to oppose any form of homosexual coexistence, which had to be avoided. 

Even if we rely on the Bible itself, we see that there is a "prohibition" of homosexuality, according to what Hispanidad reports. Homosexuals, in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, are called Sodomites. These are acts "contrary to natural law", which "cannot receive approval in any case", which is why they are considered sins.

Hence, it is a long-standing conflict that, due to the justifications in the texts of the Bible, had the condemnation of the different Popes throughout history. However, following this path, the Church may one day “appropriate” the claims of homosexual communities and stop stigmatizing a practice that is as common as any other.

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