Top Vatican Official Meets With Activists On Call For Pope To Condemn Laws That Criminalize Homosexuality

The Washington Blade reports:

A group of more than 50 LGBTI rights advocates on Friday met with a high-ranking Vatican official and renewed their calls for the Catholic Church to condemn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.

ILGA World in a press release said the activists met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, and presented him with “the preliminary findings of a research project” that focuses on the criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual relations in the Caribbean. National LGBT Bar Association Executive Director D’Arcy Kemnitz, ILGA World Co-Secretary General Luz Elena Aranda and IBM Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Tia Silas are among those who met with Parolin.

“On receiving the research, Cardinal Parolin pointed out that the church is against all forms of violence, and supports respecting the dignity of all persons,” said ILGA World. “He also vowed to convey all information to the Holy Father to continue the dialogue.”

America Magazine reports:

The delegates requested that the church declare that “human dignity implies the respect of every person as created by God” and “hence criminalization of L.G.B.T. people is today, as in the darkest times in the history of humanity, a manifestation of irrational hatred for that which is different from the norm and that homophobia is, in effect, a feeling of hatred and rejection which the church condemns, wherever it takes place.”

The group also asked that the Catholic Church “call upon the international community to recognize that criminalization of homosexuality and any form of consented intimate acts, sexual or not, between adults is an intolerable affront to human dignity.”

Gay City News reports:

The pope was notably absent after attendees said he backed out of plans to attend the meeting and make a “strong statement” endorsing the decriminalization of homosexuality. The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting or the pope’s absence.

Helen Kennedy, who attended the meeting in her capacity as the executive director of a Canadian LGBTQ human rights group known as Egale Canada, told Gay City News that it was unfortunate that the pope decided not to attend the meeting.

“However, I don’t think that the relevance of the meeting is lost on any of us,” she said in a phone interview from Rome shortly after the meeting concluded. “We are still very encouraged by the meeting that we had. We are still hopeful that a strong statement will soon be coming from the Vatican.”