Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spanish Bishop Angers Homosexuals by Mentioning Church Doctrine

Bishop Rafael Palmero of the Spanish diocese of Orihuela-Alicante has become the second bishop in recent weeks to enrage homosexual groups by reiterating the Catholic Church's perennial teachings on homosexuality.

"Biology says that normally it's an illness. What happens is that in some case there might be a concrete situation that has another explanation and such, but normally no one wants to be a homosexual," said Palermo to the Valencian daily Levante.

The bishop added that "same sex marriage" was unnatural and wrong. "One is born in a family of a man and a woman. In the human order this is required. One consults a dictionary to determine what a marriage is and it says that it is a stable and lasting union between a man and a woman."

"If we place ourselves within the Church we elevate the family to a category of sacrament: the Christian family is born in the reception of a sacrament on the part of a man and a woman. From that comes the family and whatever goes by another road isn't the fruit of a sacrament," Palmero said.

The bishop also reiterated the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion, as well as divorce and remarriage, denouncing both.

The State Federation of Lesbians, Gays Transsexuals, and Bisexuals (FELGTB) reacted negatively to the bishop's statements.

"The World Health Organization eliminated homosexuality from the Registry of Diseases in 1993, and we therefore don't understand why the Catholic Church insists on discourse that has been false for 15 years," said Juan José Broch, coordinator of religious issues for the FELGTB.

Broch added that his group is "as proud of being Christians as they are of being homosexuals" and that "it isn't acceptable to hear the hierarchy of the Catholic Church say that it wants to receive us in its bosom when it constantly publicly belittles our dignity as people."

The FELGTB made news in Spain recently when it filed charges against another Catholic bishop, Bernardo Álvarez of the diocese of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, for comparing homosexuality to pederasty. Álvarez ultimately retracted his statement.

The organization also filed a complaint against a protestant minister, Marcos Zapata, who conducts anti-drug programs in public schools, for giving a lecture in which he said that it was important to inculcate masculine virtues in boys to avoid homosexuality later in life.

In an interview with the gay publication AGMagazine, the coordinator of a local homosexual group Decide-T also denounced Bishop Palmero for trying to make gays into "second class citizens" with "fewer rights than others." He called the bishop's words "homophobic" and "rash".
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