Election Of Pope Benedict XVI Portends Further Conflict Between Church And GLBT Community

The Human Rights Campaign pointed to years of statements by
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the newly elected pope, in expressing concern
about the Catholic Church's future treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender people.

"We hope that Pope Benedict XVI will follow the biblical tradition of
expressing love and compassion for all," said HRC President Joe
Solmonese. "In the past, he has made deeply disturbing comments
regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people so his selection
as the 265th pope is distressing. It's imperative that there be a
positive conversation with the Catholic Church about GLBT people of
faith and we welcome that discourse."

"The selection of a new pope is a time of hope and anticipation," said
John Mattras, member of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in
Manhattan and President of the Scriptorium. "While we welcome the
opportunity for open dialogue with the new pope and church leaders,
we're deeply concerned by a pattern of homophobic and uninformed
statements and opinions relayed by Pope Benedict XVI that fall wholly
outside modern western norms."

In 1986 as Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger delivered a Letter to the Bishops
of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. He
said, "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is
not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an
intrinsic moral evil."

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith website, directed
by Cardinal Ratzinger, includes the following statement: "Those who
would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for
cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or
legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of
evil."

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