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Vatican Cardinal on Gays and Transsexuals: 'No Heaven for You!'

5 years ago
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Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, a Mexican cardinal who this year retired as the Vatican's chief spokesman on health care issues, including AIDS, has given a pointed interview to a Rome magazine in which he says that homosexuals and transgendered people will not go to heaven, and he cites Saint Paul by way of backup.

In the interview with the aptly named magazine Pontifex, Barragan begins by talking about abortion, saying that even the morning-after pill, as an abortifacient, is comparable to "an assassination." Each abortion, he says, "is a crime" and as such "merits punishment."

The interviewer then asks the cardinal how he views homosexuality and transgendered people. Here's my translation of his answers:
A: "Transsexuals and homosexuals will not enter into the Kingdom of God, and I do not say this, but Saint Paul does."

Q: But if a person is born homosexual?

A: "One is not born a homosexual. One becomes a homosexual. It is for various reasons, such as education, or for not developing one's own proper identity in adolescence; perhaps they are themselves not responsible, but acting against the dignity of the human body, certainly they will not enter Heaven. All that goes against nature and against the dignity of the human body offends God."
The cardinal adds:
"Homosexuality is therefore a sin, but this does not justify any form of discrimination. God alone has the right to judge...We on earth cannot condemn, and as human beings we all have the same rights."
Barragan's citation of the the Apostle refers to the first chapter of Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans, in which Paul praises the Christians there for their faith and castigates those who have rejected God. As Paul says, the "invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity" have been obvious since the dawn of creation, and anyone who does not see them is being willfully rebellious -- as is evidenced by their behavior:
"Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another," Paul writes. "Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity."
Also due for a divine comeuppance, Paul says, are those whose rejection of God leads them to be "filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite."
"They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless."
Whether such folks are born that way or are later filled with insolence and heartlessness, neither Paul nor Barragan say.

Catholic leaders in Rome, and a few in the United States, have been wary of accepting scientific research showing that homosexuality could be biologically determined to a great degree. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says only that its "psychological genesis remains largely unexplained" and says homosexuality is "objectively disordered" and can never be approved. It calls on homosexuals to live chaste lives.

In a sign that the Vatican prefers to take a more nuanced approach to homosexuality, a papal spokesman told Reuters that Pontifex should not be considered an authority on Catholic thinking "on complex and delicate issues such as homosexuality."

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