Roman Catholic leaders in India support LGBT rights

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The compassion and acceptance that Pope Francis has expressed for LGBT people has spread to India, as evidenced in Roman Catholic responses to a recent Supreme Court decision that reinstated a 1860s Indian law against homosexuality.

Most religious groups in India have taken a traditionally homophobic position in favor of that ruling. But Roman Catholics have been a compassionate exception, as noted in the Bondings 2.0 blog of the New Ways Ministry, which focuses on improving  relations between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church.

Christians in general and Roman Catholics in particular are small minorities among Indian religions. From that minority position, church leaders have spoken against the court ruling.

The Catholic Herald reported that Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai said:

“The Catholic Church has never been opposed to the decriminalisation of homosexuality, because we have never considered gay people criminals.”

“As Christians, we express our full respect for homosexuals. The Catholic Church is opposed to the legalisation of gay marriage, but teaches that homosexuals have the same dignity of every human being and condemns all forms of unjust discrimination, harassment or abuse.”

Gracias is an adviser to Pope Francis and serves on his eight-member Council of Cardinals.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Delhi stated that the archdiocese is opposed to laws that make homosexuality a crime.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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