December 3, 2009

Gays barred from heaven, Cardinal claims

by David Masters

A leading Catholic cardinal has claimed that gay and transsexual people “will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and is not biologically determined.

“People are not born homosexual,” he said.

“They become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence.

“It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God.”

Barragan, the retired head of the Vatican’s Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, clarified his point by saying this is no reason to discriminate against homosexual people.

“Homosexuality is a sin, but this does not justify any form of discrimination,” he said.

“We on earth cannot condemn, and as human beings we all have the same rights.”

A spokesperson for the Vatican sought to distance the Catholic Church from Barragan’s views.

Father Federico Lombardi said the Cardinal should not be considered an authority on “complex and delicate issues such as homosexuality”.

Lombardi clarified that Catholic Church’s official position, which states that homosexual acts are sinful, but recognises that there are people who feel homosexual inclination.

Italian gay rights group Arcigay dismissed Barragan’s comments as “ridiculous”.

They added that they have no interest in getting into Barragan’s heaven, “a murky and unjust place”.

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