Dignity Canada Dignité
February 27, 2014
Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Don Reid Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 2J2
Re: Recent Draconian Legislation towards LGBT Persons in Christian Countries
person of faith, I am deeply distressed and concerned to learn of the
anti-homosexuality legislation that has recently been adopted in Russia, Nigeria
and Uganda. Our Catholic faith teaches that every person is made in the image
of God, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
appears that many politicians who voted for the oppressive legislation want to
protect their children from becoming homosexual. They are acting under the
assumption that sexual orientation is chosen or that it can be forced onto a
young person. Simply, this is unfounded fear-mongering. Studies have in fact
concluded that sexual orientation is inborn and relationships with the opposite
sex do not have a significant impact. This conclusion is supported by many
professional organizations worldwide, such as the American Psychiatric
Passage of the anti-homosexuality legislation will rip the very fabric of
communities, turning families against themselves. Our faith demands we stand
with these countries’ sexual minority communities rather than use our religion
to justify their persecution. Silencing and criminalizing any group based on
whom they love or how they express their sexuality offends our very moral fibre.
It breaks a core teaching of many faith traditions: that we treat others as we
would like to be treated ourselves.
Benedict XVI was firmly opposed to legislation that singles out people with
same-sex attraction for persecution. A Vatican representative made the
following statement to a panel on anti-gay violence at the United Nations in
“The Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against
homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other
cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of
violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including
discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the
The murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels,
especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See’s
position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well
known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights
of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth."
you know, Pope Francis has reinforced the Church’s teaching that LGBT persons
are to be treated with compassion, respect and sensitivity. Mob violence,
torture and extensive incarceration are not Christian values in how to treat
offensive legislation in these countries clearly conflicts with the values
expressed by the Vatican and held deeply by faithful Catholics. Belonging to a
gay organization, advocating gay rights and providing condoms or safe-sex advice
to gays and lesbians to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS could result in long
prison sentences. In Uganda, anyone who knows a gay or lesbian person that
expresses their sexuality at all and does not report them to the authorities
puts himself or herself at risk of incarceration. The confidentiality required
in a pastoral relationship is impossible under these conditions.
February 23rd, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in South Africa
be entirely clear about this: the history of people is littered with attempts to
legislate against love or marriage across class, caste, and race. But there is
no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of
God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination,
ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid
South Africa, among others, attest to these facts."
40 percent of Ugandans are Catholic, and the church wields significant influence
there. In Nigeria, about 15 percent of the citizens are Catholic. As
Catholics, we are compelled to raise our voices on behalf of those who bear a
possibly lethal burden as these measures have now become law. Mob violence
(that is often ignored by police) and suicides have both risen dramatically
since the legislation was adopted.
I urge you to condemn the criminalization of homosexuality, especially
state-sponsored violence against homosexual persons, their friends and families.
In the name of Christian charity and respect for all of God's children, I call
upon you to contact your brother bishops in Uganda, Russia and Nigeria to urge
them to oppose this legislation and exert whatever influence they have in order
to repeal this needless, deeply harmful, dehumanizing legislation. Here in
Canada, I would also ask the CCCB to do what it can to expedite the acceptance
of LGBT refugees from overseas.
Dignity Canada Dignité