Monday, March 15, 2010

The Catholic Church in Uganda

I like. Correction,
I love the pickle and bind that the Catholic Church in Uganda has found itself in.

To give a background, I am no Catholic. [Snort]
Of course, I am no Christian.
But, my lover is a Catholic. At the moment, one would say, a ‘lapsed’ Catholic, since I am the one who even noted that Ssempa’s Porn show was in Church on Ash Wednesday, a day I remember him celebrating consistently earlier on in our relationship. But, this time, he didn’t remember that it was Ash Wednesday.

But, thru the years, my lover’s evident distress and conflict between his sexuality and his faith made me research the Catholic teaching on homosexuality. I found it hypocritical, but couldn’t tell him that. ‘Intrinsically disordered’? Ha ha ha ha!!!

Anyway, I was happy to do the research. And pass on that which was relevant.

Then came the Anti-Homosexuality bill of 2009.

Ugandan Catholic leaders are good Ugandans. Which means that they are rabidly homophobic. That is the characteristic of good Ugandans.
And, it also means that they are suitably, strongly ignorant.

And, this time they were ignorant of the fact that there is an official Vatican position on homosexuality. And, that though Catholicism is officially homophobic, they have tried to inform their ‘stand’ with the knowledge that has been gathered over the years.

I have watched them twist and turn with relish.
Yes, I have. It is very interesting noting the official ‘evolution’ of their stand. And, the sticks that the Vatican has been throwing at them.

I know, the Vatican is no friend to gay people. That is a matter of fact. And, they are not going to be friends. That is also a matter of fact.

But, the official Catholic doctrine admits that gay people exist. And that they are so made by their creator. Or, something to that end. They just go ahead and expect us to be celibate…. Religion is interesting in its denial of reality.

But then, here you are talking to a person who laughs at the perceived freedom to think that I have, being non-religious.

Anyway, the bill came, and was in parliament. Suddenly, the Catholic Church in Uganda had to have a position. And, they had to quickly start informing themselves about what had been happening in the rest of the Catholic church.

I wonder, why do homophobes insist on being ignorant of sexuality? Just asking….

Anyway, the bill was in parliament.
Catholics make up the biggest religious group in Uganda. I believe Wikipedia says something like 38% of the population.
For two months, the Catholics of Uganda studied and studied the bill. They had nothing to do but study it. [Me, I kind of forced myself to read through it in one hour, and, I had come to a position. grinnnnnnnnnn. A negative position of course.]

The Catholics of Uganda were so silent that I decided to ‘jog’ them.  Of course, a statement from them couldn’t be positive with regards to me. But, the Bill is so bad, that I knew it was well past the criteria of ‘good’ that is piously mandated in heaven…, sorry. The Vatican.

Then, the Vatican came up with this statement.
As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.
 As raised by some of the panelists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See's position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth.

I considered it a slap in the face for the Catholics of Uganda. Here…
And, of course it was. They should have rejected the bill from the very beginning. [so should every Christian, however homophobic. (I don’t consider Pastor Ssempa a Christian. I value independence of thought, and there is too much evidence to the contrary)]

That kind of forced the Catholics in Uganda’s hand.
They came up with a statement. Nicely homophobic, and in ignorance of basic Vatican teaching on homosexuality. But, tucked in at the bottom was the statement that they rejected the bill. That was supposed to correct the impression that they were supporting the bill. Of course it didn’t.

And, to further outline their ‘principled opposition’ to homosexuality, the Catholic church, with the rest of the preachers, had one statement on Christmas day. All about homosexuality.
See, this ‘loving the sinner and hating the sin’ doctrine was becoming a bit cumbersome. They couldn’t show gay porn in Church, but, they could do other things. Like telling all Ugandans about how bad we homosexuals were.
Did any Ugandans leave church on Christmas day not convinced of the support of the catholic church for the bill? Err, nuanced support, of course….. Because they rejected the bill, didn’t they?

Someone has taken the trouble of picking out the actual differences between what the Catholic Church in Uganda says about the Bill, and what the Vatican actually says. Interesting reading, if you are interested in all matters Catholic. Personally, I rest on my laurels, thinking, Uganda’s Hypocritical Murderous Catholics. Parsing words as the fire burns, thinking about how much to show their hate when they should know better.

Am I too bitter?

Here is the analysis from someone else better qualified to read the small print of the Uganda Catholic Church statements.
F Young said...
Catholic Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga's endorsement of this March 9, 2010 statement by the Council of Presidents of the Inter–Religious Council of Uganda is inconsistent with the position the Holy See has taken at the United Nations in 2008 and 2009:
Vatican Statement on Sexuality and Homosexuality
Related link.
Statement posted here.
The Archbishop's earlier official position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was also inconsistent with the Holy See:
Ironically, the IRCU statement advocates "7. e. Counteracting the distortion and misrepresentation of the debate on homosexuality by the media."
Yet, the Archbishop himself appears to be distorting and misrepresenting the Vatican's position (or has the Vatican's position changed since December 2009?). Perhaps someone with a good understanding of the politics of the Catholic church could say whether it would be worthwhile to ask the Vatican to correct the Archbishop's repeated public apparent misstatements of the Vatican's position.
 The Vatican has already done this with respect to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan (Cardinals are at a higher level than an Archbishop; they are second only to the Pope.):
F Young said...
I want to clarify my earlier comment about the inconsistencies between the ICRU statement and the positions of the Vatican. See my earlier comment for the links.
 Firstly, the ICRU statement fails to call for the decriminalization of adult consensual homosexual sex. This is a major element of the Vatican's official position and a life-changing/saving omission for LGBT's in Uganda. On the contrary, the ICRU statement says that homosexuality "should not be allowed in our society," and impliedly supports section 145 of the Penal Code by using its continuation as the basis for its argument that the Bill is unnecessary.
 Secondly, the ICRU statement fails to call for an end to "every sign of unjust discrimination" to homosexual persons, to "all forms of violence against homosexual persons," to "all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as , , , , , torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment," all elements of the Vatican's official position that are hugely relevant to Uganda.
 Lastly, the ICRU statement deplores that the "proposed law does not provide for the rehabilitation of repentant homosexuals." When read with the criticism that "the proposed death penalty and life imprisonment do not provide the sinner an opportunity to repent" and the statements that the churches "welcome the sinners to confess, repent and seek a new beginning," and "believe homosexuals need conversion, repentance, support, and understanding and love," one is left to wonder whether the churches are calling for "conversion" "therapy" as a "get-out-of-jail" card for those condemned to prison.
 Surely that is not the Vatican's official position, but then what does the statement mean when it deplores that the "proposed law does not provide for the rehabilitation of repentant homosexuals?" Conversion therapy, but you stay in jail anyway?
 What to make of all this? Has the Catholic Church changed its mind? Does it fear the government or a reduction in tithes? Does the Ugandan Catholic church disagree with the Vatican? I don't know.
 So, what do we do now? Is it best not to do anything? I don't know enough. The stakes are very high. Personally, I would appreciate input from people who are very familiar with Ugandan politics and the politics of the Catholic Church at the Vatican and Ugandan levels.

     Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    A definite NOT meeting of the minds.

    Now, let me answer your questions. The Catholic Church in Uganda, in my assesment, was completely ignorant of the Vatican's actual 'doctrinal guidance' on homosexuality.
    Their statements have shown that. And, they were not alone. So was the rest of the churches, mosques, etc. The homophobia in Uganda is fueled by an appaling ignorance, which they reinforce by branding any contrary information as 'promotion of homosexuality'. That is a literal mindset. We see it everywhere, in legal circles, with the MPs, with the Anglican church, and with the Catholics of course.

    It must have been a shock for them to even discover that the Catholic Church does have a very detailed position on homosexuality. And, that it is very contrary to what the people here believe.

    No, It is not government coercion. Actually, the religious people here were the ones trying to force the government to have the bill become law as soon as possible. Minimal debate mandated.

    It is just plain ignorance.

    And, I bet you that they are going to need more self education. Because, even though they will not show porn in Church, [how would the Vatican react???], they still have the same.... spirit?

    Hey, I am allowed to be this forthright and brutal in my assessment.

    And, my assessment is that they have been ignorant, are trying to educate themselves, but are still sticking out their prejudices.

    No, icearc. I don't believe the Catholics forced the others to sign that statement. I think the matter of self education is occurring because too many people are suddenly understanding that most of the religious leaders are actually hate pedalling, and ignorant at the same time.


    New knowledge? They could have asked me, long time ago!!!!


    1 comment:

    icearc said...

    I always thought the IRC was a bad idea because of the divergent interests of its corporate entities. Who does the IRC speak for? The Vatican was clear on this issue not only at the UN but in pastoral letters to all its Bishops Here. I am sure his grace Arch Bishop Dr. Cyprian Lwanga was aware of this from the start. The Vatican's stand has led to several gay catholics to join the priesthood and take the vow of celibacy as a form of chastity. In this way poor recruitment from hetero's was mitigated by the entry of celibate gay priests, hence a doctrine of necessity!
    The hard line the IRC took can be attributed solely to Hid grace the Most Rev. Dr. Luke Orombi; The Mufti Sheikh Ramadhan Mubajje. Incidentally the evangelicals are not represented as an entity as a result of lack of clear organisational hierarchy.
    In fact, I did remember one of the Sheikhs suggesting that all gays be exiled onto one of the numerous islands in Lake Victoria!

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