Rev. Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has joined with other campaigners and community leaders in renouncing Pope Benedict XIV’s comments concerning the Equality Bill currently going through Parliament.
Pope Benedict addressed Bishops of England and Wales on 1st February exhorting them to oppose the Bill which seeks to bring together various strands of legislation which will ensure greater protection and equal treatment for women and LGBT people among others.
The Pope has said that the Bill contravenes ‘natural law’ and discriminates against Christians who do not agree that homosexuality is part of God’s natural order.
His comments reinforce the concerns expressed by Anglican Bishops and other Peers in the House of Lords who succeeded in amending aspects of the Government Bill in the belief that religious liberty was being undermined.
LGCM rejects the Pope’s comments and reaffirms its own commitment to equality and fairness for all, both inside and outside of the churches and other faith-based organisations.
Rev. Sharon Ferguson said: “In criticising British Government legislation the Pope is speaking about matters outside of the reach of core Catholic doctrine, and misunderstanding the issues at stake. He is showing that he and the leadership of the Catholic church have failed to engage with the experiences of the people which the equality Bill seeks to protect and which a rigid unyielding interpretation of Scripture and tradition continues to do violence to. Furthermore, the concern about being forced to ordain gay Bishops highlights the extent of the institutional homophobia as all Catholic clergy are required to take a vow of celibacy which makes sexual orientation irrelevant.“