On June 10, 2011, the "European Forum of Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups" sent a letter to Pope
Benedict XVI asking for respect of the human rights and the personal
integrity of LGBT people. They appealed to the Pope for a clear
statement against homophobic violence, calling on the church to grant
LGBT people the fundamental right to get involved in a relationship with
a beloved other without being afraid of negative consequences.
The European Forum represents 44 Christian LGBT member groups from
23 European countries. Originally initiated by the Polish group
"Faith and Rainbow," the letter was approved by the
Forum's Annual General Meeting in May 2011. The letter was
presented to the public at the Europride conference in Rome,
"Homosexual and Transsexual People and Christian Churches in
Europe: Fears and Opportunities for Full Acceptance and Inclusion,"
organized by the Italian member group "Nuova Proposta" in
cooperation with the European Forum.
From: European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups
To: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
The Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State
Dear Holy Father
LGBT CHRISTIANS APPEAL TO YOUR HOLINESS TO PAY ATTENTION TO HUMAN
We appeal to Your Holiness to condemn acts of violence against
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people, and to Your
Holiness' co-operation in lifting the penalization of homosexual
Silence from Your Holiness is interpreted by people engaged in
violence, torture, and murder as consent to their actions. For example,
in January 2011, David Kato, an activist for the rights of LGBT people,
was brutally murdered in Uganda. Violence, torture, and murder of LGBT
people happen often in various parts of the world, and the perpetrators
are often convinced that they comply with the will of the Catholic
Church. This belief is compounded by the fact that in December 2008, the
Holy See refused to support the United Nations declaration on sexual
orientation and gender identity. This declaration included a paragraph
calling upon states to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity
may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in
particular executions, arrests, or detention.
Furthermore, we appeal to Your Holiness to provide clear
information to all Christians concerning the passages of the Bible that
are used to justify these abhorrent actions. As with the passages
supporting slavery, the verses advocating the killing of persons engaged
in same-sex sexual activity must not be interpreted literally.
There is still pressure from some Roman Catholic clergy on LGBT
Christians to undergo "reparative therapy" in order to change
their sexual orientation. This strategy--in addition to the official
Church demand for LGBT people to live in sexual abstinence--results in
many life tragedies including suicides and severe forms of depression as
people try to be obedient to the Church's teachings and to follow
However, according to modern studies in psychiatry and psychology,
sexual orientation cannot be changed and any such attempts usually lead
to serious psychological damage. Also, a celibate life cannot be
demanded from people who are not personally called to it. LGBT
Christians cannot be denied their fundamental right for a relationship
with a beloved person, regardless of gender.
As science has testified that homosexuality is a variant of
sexuality, we appeal that this scientific knowledge is included in the
teaching of the Church. Consequently, we appeal to Your Holiness to make
sure that it is no longer preached that homosexual people must undergo
therapy, but that they are entitled to pursue their lives in a loving
and faithful relationship.
The personal and social benefits are: a happy life, mental health,
ability to work fruitfully and to support others. Otherwise, life often
turns into a sad existence, marked by a series of unsuccessful
psychological and psychiatric therapies as well as loss of belief in
God, humanity, and love as is frequently described in letters and
testimonies of LGBT Christians.
Worldwide, many lesbian, gay, and transgender people live in
relationships rooted in love, fidelity, and mutual interest. Just like
in mature heterosexual relationships, love is, first, a spiritual
experience and, second, a physical one. Unfortunately, due to
stigmatization and lack of knowledge, many people associate the concept
of homosexuality only with physical love.
Referring to the statement of Your Holiness from December 2008
about the protection of humanity like a tropical forest in an ecosystem,
we can say that LGBT people are a less common species but one that is
permanently represented in the ecosystem. As we know, every species is
important and needed to ensure the balance of God's creation.
We appeal to Your Holiness to reconsider the Church's position
on same-sex and transgender relationships and to support these
relationships as accepted and blessed by the Church. We appeal to Your
Holiness to cease urging Catholics to vote against the law authorizing
Same-sex and transgender relationships are not dangerous to
traditional families but, in fact, support and enhance marriage and
family values. LGBT people constitute a small percentage of each
population, and their number remains constant.
The lack of acceptance of young LGBT people both in their families
and by the Church almost always causes problems in the development of
their personalities. The effects are often dramatic and are seen in
people's desperate attempts to enter heterosexual marriages or to
disguise their sexual orientation and attempt to live in a seminary or
monastery, though not necessarily because of personal vocation.
For these reasons, creating a safe and friendly atmosphere for
"coming out" is important for each society.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual persons
should be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Respect and
sensitivity should be given to everyone regardless of sexual orientation
or gender identity. If this were truly the case, then compassion would
not be necessary. Homophobic behavior and opinions are especially
painful when perpetrated by Christians, both clergy and laity, and are
not in keeping with showing respect.
(Co-Presidents of the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transsexual Christian Groups on behalf of the member Groups).
The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups: Urgerplein street 16-b
n1-3033 bv--Rotterdam (The
Members: Adverta Evangeliska Draudze (Latvia), The Anglican Clergy
Consultation (UK), Arcus (Finland), Associacio Cristiana de Gais i
Lesbianes de Catalunya (ACGIL) (Spain), AG (Arbeitsgemeinschaft) Schwule
Theologie e.V. (Germany), "C+H" (Chretien(ne)s et
Homosexuel(le)s, Geneva (Switzerland), Changing Attitude (UK), Church of
St Cornelius (Ukraine), CooL (Christliche Organisation von Lesben),
(Switzerland), Courage (UK), La Communaute du Christ Liberateur
(Belgium), David & Jonathan (France), Drachma (Malta), Riks EKHO
(Sweden), Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians (UK),
Faith and Rainbow (Poland), FELGBT-The Spanish Federation of Lesbians,
Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (Spain), Gei Kristlaste Kogu (Estonia),
Gruppo del Guado, (Italy), Gionata (Italy), Gruppo Varco-Refo (Italy),
HomoDiversus (Moldova), Homosexuelle und Glaube, Wien (HUG) (Austria),
HuK (Germany), Labrystheia, Netzwerk Lesbischer Theologinnen in und nach
der Ausbildung (Germany), Landelijk Koordinatie Punt groepen kerk en
homoseksualiteit, (Netherlands), Lesben und Kirche, Okumenische Arbeits
gemeinschaft (Germany), Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (UK),
Lesbische und Schwule Basiskirche Basel (Switzerland), Light of the
World (Russia), Maria und Martha Netzwerk, (Germany), Metropolitan
Community Church, European District region 4, Metropolitan Community
Church Region 5 (Romania), Netwerk Mirre (Nederlands), Netzwerk
Katholischer Lesben (Germany), Nuova Proposta (Italy), Open Church Group
(Norway), Projekt Schwul und Katholisch in der Gemeinde Maria Hilf or
PSK Maria Hilf, Frankfurt (Germany), Quest (UK), Roman Catholic Caucus
in the LGCM (UK), We for Civil Equality (Armenia), Werkverband van
Homotheologen (WHT) (Netherlands), Werkverband van Katholieke
Homo--Pastores (WKHP) (Netherlands), Zwischenraum (Switzerland).
God bless Your Holiness