Had to post this one. The Ugandan Catholic Church has finally come out against the anti homosexuality bill, but only AFTER it was tabled for further discussion.
The Catholic Church in Uganda Against Homosexuality bill
Written by Dr. Cyrian Kizito Lwanga, Archibishop of Kampala Wednesday, 23 December 2009
We, the Catholic Bishops of Uganda, appreciate and applaud the Government’s effort to protect the traditional family and its values.
The Catholic Church is clear in its teaching on homosexuality. Church teaching remains that homosexual acts are immoral and are violations of divine and natural law. The Bible says that homosexuality is strictly forbidden (Lev. 18:22) “Do Not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable”, Further more the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “ Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law, and under no circumstances can they be approved.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2357)
However, the Church equally teaches the Christian message of respect, compassion, and sensitivity. The Church has always asked its followers to hate the sin but to love the sinner.
Considering the fact that all are called by God to fulfill his Will in their lives and to repent of their sins (Mk1:14-15) “After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Homosexuals have the need of conversion and repentance. They also need support, understanding and love as all strive to be members of the Kingdom of God. (I learned something here: that the prohibition against unnatural sexual acts is equal to the Christian message of love. Where did Jesus say that?)
The recent tabled Anti-Homosexuality Bill does not pass a test of a Christian caring approach to this issue. The targeting of the sinner, not the sin, is the core flaw of the proposed Bill. The introduction of the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexual acts targets people rather than seeking to counsel and to reach out in compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope. The bible says in Luke 6:36-37 “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
Further more, the Proposal to prosecute those who fail to disclose information regarding homosexual acts puts at risk of the breach of confidentiality and professional ethics of persons such as Parents, Priests, Counselors, Teachers, Doctors and Leaders, at a time when they offer support and advise for rehabilitation of homosexuals. The proposed Bill does not contain clauses encouraging homosexuals to be rehabilitated. As a Catholic Church, we have a mission to reach out to all of the people of God as Christ showed no one is beyond God’s mercy and love, “In Mt 9:10-13, while Jesus was at table in his house, many tax Collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus… The Pharisees saw this and said to his Disciples, Why does your Teacher eat with Tax Collectors and sinners? He heard this and said, Those who are well do not need a Physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire Mercy not sacrifice, I did not come to call the Righteous, but sinners.”
The criminalizing of such reaching out is at odds with the core values of the Christian faith. (One wondered how long it would take before some pastoral authority pointed out that they too could be put in jail for doing their pastoral job. Benedict certainly didn't bother and he so easily could have since this violates his notions of religious freedom.)
Additionally, in our view the proposed Bill is not necessary considering that acts of sodomy are already condemned under section 145 of the penal code. (Interesting how the anti gay thing always comes down to acts of sodomy, which means boys are never to act as girls in the natural course of things.)
+Cyprian. K. Lwanga
ARCHBISHOP OF KAMPALA
23rd December 2009
Now that the bill has been tabled for a rework, I guess it's OK for the Ugandan Catholic bishops to criticize what was a disastrously flawed bill. This criticism also followed other criticism about the political implications of this bill, but never the less, it is still far more than the Vatican has said.
I was personally stuck by the implicit admission that Catholic teaching on homosexuality might have had something to do with the introduction of this bill. After all Archbishop Lwanga did have to write that the Catholic Church teaches that Christian compassion is equally important as denouncing unnatural sex. Which does, in it's essentials, admit that Catholicism now sees right sexual acts as equal to the Gospel message itself. How in the world has a Church living in the 21st century gotten to this point?
Bill Lyndsey has two very good posts outlining how the Church might have gotten to this point. (Here and here.) It is most definitely a product of the thinking of John Paul II and Ratzinger/Benedict. It most definitely serves the notion that straight males have a divine and natural right to assert themselves in the natural sexual order. Just as in these two Popes thinking, straight males have the same divine right in the Church's spiritual sacramental order. Just as they both teach that God must always be thought of as male. The three issues are most definitely related and exist to insure that Catholic theology upholds the Divine order inherent in the 'Traditional' patriarchal ordering of society. If one thinks otherwise, they are sadly mistaken.
This is why the three trends which Benedict has consistently and recently attacked are gay rights, secularism and secular feminism, and liberation theology. These three issues attack the rights of straight males to order society as the embodiment of the Divine order of how culture ideally works.
Gay rights and the reasoning behind them undercut the lack of reasoning in the Church's sexual theology; secular feminism and the reasoning behind these arguments undercut the Church's lack of reasoning on the whole issue of complementarity, and secularism and liberation theology undercuts the Church's teachings about patriarchal hierarchical social order, pointing out the horrendous social justice violations and wide scale poverty in countries who were colonized by European Christians. Hence we have in the past two weeks Benedict congratulating Ugandan bishops for encouraging a climate of freedom for Catholicism in Uganda in which Catholic teaching can flourish, and warning Brazilian bishops, yet again, about the evils of liberation theology.
And yet here we are, once again celebrating the birth of Child who we are taught was conceived without the aid of a man--as unnatural as it gets; was born in a hay manger in a stable because his adopted father could not garner a better place--not much male protection and providing here; and who is ultimately destined to die naked and powerless on a Cross---at the hands of conniving men. It seems male complementarity does not play much of a part in this story of Jesus.
In many respects the story of Jesus is about the repudiation of John Paul's definition of male complementarity. It's about the failures of male pride, male greed, male betrayal, male social and spiritual ordering, males finally concluding it was in THEIR best interests to execute a Divine male who taught a different inclusive world order. This is still a message both the Church and the world need to get before the male social order wipes us all off the face of this planet. Peace will not come from the traditional male order of things. Jesus said so.