Jyoti Shelar TWEETS @JyotiMIRROR
Archbishop Oswald Gracias has sparked off an angry reaction in certain quarters in Mumbai with his candid views on the LGBT community in an interview at the Vatican, where he is attending the Synod on Marriage and Family.Speaking to Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s executive director, the Cardinal, among other things, stressed the importance of not being judgemental when dealing with the members of LGBT community, especially on their right to be treated with love and compassion by the Church.
The Cardinal, who has been at the forefront of the battle to push for decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, said: “You must make a distinction with an individual who is absolutely part of the Church, who we must care for, and who might have a [homosexual] orientation. You can’t put them in chains, or say we have no responsibility whatsoever.“
Answering a question on the language used in Churches when referring to the members of the LGBT community and some bishops’ suggestion that words like “disorder“ and “evil“ be discarded, the Cardinal said: “I think there would be an acceptance of saying `let’s use gentler language, not judgemental language.’ The response to this view is “are you condoning it?“ I personally feel that it would help us to have a more clear, objective view of this matter.“
Cardinal Gracias is being criticised for his welcoming stand on homosexuality by the orthodox within the community. “In Catholic parlance, a man and a woman make for a family. There is no question of homosexual alliance. It doesn’t count as a family,“ said Micheal Prabhu, a community member.
According to Prabhu, the cardinal had a lot of time to sound off the community about his stand before talking about it in the interview. Melwyn Fernandes, secretary of the Association of Concerned Catholics, said the community will not support the archbishop on his stand.“The Bible has never supported or mentioned anything about homosexuality.“ he said.
In April this year, the archdiocese, for the first time, had asked an open question about homosexuals in the Family Synod Survey circulated within the community suggesting openness about LGBT issues.While many in the community filled the survey, there were closed-door discussions on whether it was right to have that question.