Cardinal’s call for welcoming LGBT members gains support;

Oct 26 2015 : Mirror (Mumbai)
 “Christ opened the doors of the Church to all the faithful. Who are we to judge others?”LGBT
Despite criticism from conservatives, many Catholics in the city have hailed Cardinal Oswald Gracias’ progressive views

A large number of Catholics in community.the city have backed Cardi nal Oswald Gracias’ appeal for a more open-hearted ap proach towards the LGBT The archdiocese office in Colaba has received several calls from people who have praised the cardinal’s “progressive views“, which they say are in line with Pope Francis’ efforts to create a more welcoming Catholic Church.

“Christ opened the doors of the Church to all the faithful. Who are we to judge others? The Cardinal has welcomed those [homosexuals] as individuals and has not spoken of the sacraments of the Holy Order or Matrimony,“ said Dadar resident Judith Monteiro, who called the office to express her admiration for Cardinal Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay.

In a recent interview at the Vatican, the cardinal had said that the Church should not be judgemental while dealing with members of the LGBT community. They should not be denied their right to be treated with love and compassion.

“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,“ the cardinal, who has been at the forefront of the fight to decriminalise homosexuality in India, had said.

The interview has become a talking point among Catholics. Though it has drawn angry reactions from certain sections, many Catholics are backing the cardinal’s stand.

“The cardinal’s views are progressive. The current pope has also talked about humility and inclusiveness,“ said Bandra resident Anil Joseph, adding that many in the community had welcomed Gracias’ views.

Domnic Savio Fernandes, the auxiliary bishop in Mumbai, said that cardinal the Catholic Church had always talked about being more compassionate. “The cardinal has simply emphasised on the stand through the interview,“ he said.

Cardinal Gracias had said in the interview that the use of gentler language when referring to members of the LGBT community would gain acceptance in the Church. “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,“ he said.

Pope Francis on Sunday closed a key bishops’ meeting on family issues at the Vatican, reiterating the call for a more compassionate church. Bishops agreed to a qualified opening towards divorcees who have remarried outside the Church and currently cannot receive communion.

But at the end of the three-week gathering, no statement was made on whether the Church should use more welcoming language towards homosexuals…..

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