Homosexuality: South Sudan Responds to the Pope

February 05, 2023
Source: fsspx.news
South Sudan President announces public holiday for Pope's visit

As the Pontiff visits South Sudan, Juba has reaffirmed its firmness against same-sex unions. A week earlier, Pope Francis spoke out against the criminalization of same-sex relationships, acknowledging, however, that it is a “sin” under Church teaching.

For his 40th trip abroad, the Argentine Pontiff is going to Juba, capital of South Sudan, from February 3 to 5, 2023. Initially scheduled for July 2022, this visit had been postponed due to the 86-year-old pope’s knee pain, which causes him to use a wheelchair.

Officially, it is a visit of “reconciliation” in order to promote the end of violence in a country undermined by a bloody civil war, but which should not make us forget certain deep differences between the current Roman pontiff and the African peoples on the delicate subject of homosexuality.

Divergences arose once again during an exclusive interview granted on January 25 by Pope Francis to The Associated Press, in which he called laws criminalizing same-sex relations “unjust,” while recalling that it is all the same a “sin.”

A few days later, in a response addressed to Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit won over to the LGBT lobby, the Pope insisted: “I would say that anyone who wants to criminalize homosexuality is wrong.”

The South Sudanese government was quick to reply through its Minister of Information: “If Pope Francis is coming here and he tells us that marriage of the same-sex, homosexuality is legal, we will say no,” warned Michael Makuei Lueth.

For the minister, there is no question of compromising: “God was not mistaken. He created man and woman, and he told them to marry one another and go and fill the world. Do same-sex partners give birth?”

And he clarifies: “Our constitution is very clear, it states that marriage takes place between people of different sexes, and that any marriage between people of the same sex is a crime, it is a constitutional crime.” Words that one could not imagine being spoken on the Old Continent.

On the other hand, if he confines himself to his mission of peacemaker, the Pope is welcome, explains Michael Makuei without spelling things out: “He comes to bless us so that we might change our behavior because sometimes we behave abnormally. So he comes here to pray for us for peace to prevail in South Sudan. His visit is historic.”

There is no doubt that the Secretariat of State has received the message from the South Sudanese authorities loud and clear, and must deploy all its diplomatic talents in order to avoid – or to repair, if necessary – a slippage in the pontifical words, as was the case a few months ago on the Russian-Ukrainian dossier, where the Holy See had to present an – extremely rare – apology to Moscow.

A distinction must be made between the criminalization of an act and the prohibition of a state of life. If Pope Francis means that a State should not criminalize homosexual acts, that is to say impose a penalty on those who perform them, that is one thing. On the one hand, this could be understood because of the more or less hidden nature of these acts, and taking into account the current situation.

But the constitution of a state of life by a public homosexual union is something else. When it is authorized by law, it gives entitlement to benefits that are normally reserved for marriage. A State may prohibit such a union. In both South Sudan and Japan, the constitution defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman exclusively.

There is also a specific Roman document on this subject, published under John Paul II. On June 3, 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published “Considerations on the projects for the legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons,” signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The conclusion (#11) says this:

“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons can in no way lead to approval of homosexual behavior or legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good demands that the laws recognize, promote and protect the matrimonial union as the basis of the family, the primordial cell of society.”

“Legally recognizing same-sex unions or equating them with marriage would mean not only approving deviant behavior, and therefore making it a model in today's society, but also masking fundamental values that belong to the common heritage of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend such values for the good of men and of all of society.”

Unfortunately the Pope seems, as it is easy to see, to want countries to recognize these unions, thus clearly opposing the doctrine of the Church and his predecessors.