Africa / Faith and religion

Plea to to Pope: Restrain Cameroon’s gay-bashing Catholics

In Cameroon, a recent resurgence of anti-LGBTI rhetoric from the Catholic Church has come in for criticism from the Douala-based advocacy group Alternatives-Cameroon, which fights Aids and supports human rights for sexual minorities.  In this press release, Alternatives-Cameroon asks Pope Francis to intervene:

Cameroon: The Catholic Church continues to preach hate

Cardinal Christian Tumi, retired archbishop of Douala: Homosexuality is "a threat to the human race.” (Photo courtesy of LeffortCamerounais.com)

Cardinal Christian Tumi, retired archbishop of Douala: Homosexuality is “a threat to the human race.” (Photo courtesy of LeffortCamerounais.com)

Media releases and speeches from dignitaries of Cameroon’s Catholic Church in recent weeks have become even more radical with respect to homosexuality. The latest example came during the meeting of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, held in Batouri on Jan. 12, 2016, during which churchmen prescribed “zero tolerance” for homosexuality.

The facts

The National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon held a meeting on Jan. 12 in Batouri, bringing together the bishops of Cameroon. This resulted in a unanimous appeal from the bishops to all Catholics to exhibit “good morality” by blocking the way to homosexuality, on the grounds that “this abominable thing that goes against nature risks becoming a social outbreak.”

We recalled that during the Synod on the Family, held a few months ago, the same prelate declared homosexuality to be a threat to the family. Cardinal Tumi [Cardinal Christian Tumi, the retired archbishop of Douala] even declared that homosexuality was a “threat to the human race.” Catholic lawyers depicted homosexuality to be a clinical pathology that should attract the attention of different hospitals.

The Catholic Church failed to demonstrate how an individual’s sexuality could influence social cohesion and equilibrium or the sustainability of the family. To the contrary, we believe an individual’s sexual fulfilment can’t help but contribute to cohesion, stability and sustainability.

With this hypocritical and hateful language condemning homosexuality, the Catholic Church (which accounts for about 37 percent of the Christian population) is contributing yet again to the destabilization of society and the family and their cohesion.

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Sourcefed.com)

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Sourcefed.com)

This Church wants more than ever to set Cameroonians against each other, ignoring its mission to promote love, tolerance and peace. Has history not taught it a lesson? From slavery to the Holocaust to the Rwandan genocide — now it’s the turn of homosexuals.

If Pope Francis seems to have a more conciliatory approach to the subject, it is clear he is struggling to implant this approach within the church he leads.

We — Alternatives Cameroun — say “NO” to this institutionalization of hatred in the Catholic Church.

We call on the Catholic Church to fulfill its primary mission to promote peace, love and tolerance and finally to be at the sides of the oppressed and those left behind.

Finally, we call on Pope Francis (the head of the Catholic Church) to get control of the Cameroonian prelate, including the bishops of the National Episcopal Conference, and to harmonize the discourse of the Church.

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