Bishop Vera, on the Sickness of Homophobia

“People who say homosexuals are sick, are sick themselves”

Bishop Raul Vera of Saltillo, Mexico, is renowned for his fearless work in favour of missing persons, immigrants, children and juveniles, indigenous populations, prostitutes and marginalized people of all types.  This includes standing up to the notorious and fearsome Mexican drug cartels, which has earned him frequent death threats, and speaking up against outrages of the Mexican government.

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His support for the marginalized includes strong support for gay and lesbian Catholics. He is patron of the Mexican LGBT Catholic group, the Comunidad San Aelredo, for whom he has celebrated Mass. He has also been named as a possible celebrant for closing Mass at the forthcoming foundation conference in Rome of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics.  In a recent interview with El Pais on his suggestions for Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico, he characteristically spoke of the need for the pope to meet with the poor, the prisoners and other marginalized peoples. Part of the interview included discussion of his thoughts on both lesbian and gay people, and on abortion.

Here’s his response to these two issues. (For the full interview, see El Pais)

Q. Not long ago you baptized the daughter of a lesbian couple. What do you think about homosexuality?

A. That is a topic that we have refused to address. The people who say homosexuals are sick are sick themselves. The Church needs to come to them not with condemnation, but with dialogue. We cannot cancel out a person’s richness just because of his or her sexual preference. That is sick, that is heartless, that is lacking common sense.

Q. Is it not the same with abortion?

A. I share the Church’s views on abortion, and see it as murder. The difference lies in how you penalize it. Abortion, just like same-sex marriage, has served us subterfuge to tell ourselves that we in the Church have our morals. It is very easy to go against a woman who has an abortion, it poses no trouble and we have support from the ultraconservative right. When there was a national campaign against abortion here, I organized rosary recitations to reflect on the defence of the lives of migrants, miners and women as well as the unborn. But we are hypocrites. It would seem that the only moral rules deal with condemning same-sex couples and abortions. You do that and you’re the perfect Christian.

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