Just in case you genuinely believed that Pope Francis was going to turn the Catholic Church around overnight (if at all), consider the comments of one of his newly appointed cardinals. When the pope released the list earlier in the month, it was heralded as a shift toward a more pastoral hierarchy. But the remarks of Cardinal Fernando Sebastián of Spain are a retread of the homophobia that the Vatican has promulgated for the past thirty years, or two millennium, if you count in centuries.
In an interview with the newspaper Diario Sur, Sebastián abandoned the “who am I to judge?” approach that led The Advocate to name Francis as its Person of the Year.
“Homosexuality is a defective manner of expressing sexuality, because [sex] has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation.” the Cardinal said. “A homosexual who can’t achieve this (procreation) is failing.”
Not content to leave bad enough alone, Sebastián then decided to show off his medical knowledge. “Our bodies have many defects. I have high blood pressure.”
But good news for sufferers! Homosexuality can be treated, says the Cardinal, just like hypertension, making it “possible to recover and become normal with the right treatment.”
Just to make sure you know that the Cardinal’s heart is in the right place, he pointed out that saying homosexuality is a defect is “not an insult.”
Why would we ever take it that way?
This kind of rhetoric was bound to bubble up, and we predicted as much when The Advocate splashed Francis on the cover. The roots of homophobia in the Church run deep, particularly given the doctrinal litmus test that the pope’s predecessors used for promotions. The real question is if the pope is truly interested in making things better for the LGBT community, why does someone like Cardinal Sebastián get elevated? That’s the mystery.
Photo credit: Diocesis de Cordoba