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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Should the Catholic Church change its stance on homosexuality?

The Pope seems determined not to let bygones be bygones over the issue of last week's gay pride festival in Rome.

Speaking on Vatican Radio after Saturday's closing march, he spoke out against the "disorder" of homosexuality and the offence the events had caused in the church's Millennium Year.

For the Europewide debate, Europe Today's Dan Damon brought together two Catholic priests who represent opposing views in this argument within the church.

Father Domenico Pzzini in Milan runs a group campaigning for gay rights. Father Kevin Doran is a priest in Dublin in Ireland, who believes homosexuals should renounce the physical side of love and remain celibate.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction I hope he continues to resist the gay lobby. It's refreshing to see a person express a viewpoint that is held by many millions, but most are muzzled by the ongoing tide of political correctness. A small social group in the world has come out of the closet, but a far larger group has been bludgeoned into it. Gays can't handle dissenting viewpoints, they try to censor all speech that's contrary to their dogma - how ironic.
Stephen Kenney, USA

As far as personal relationships go, the Church offers two solutions for gays: a) stay home and pretend to be a monk; b) marry a heterosexual and try not to make someone else too miserable. Both of these "solutions" have filled history with local disasters.
Don Nolan, USA

Like myself, the Church should be totally indifferent to homosexuality. I am straight and not homophobic. I do not think homosexuality is right or wrong as it doesn't have anything to do with me. I generally keep out of it and the Church should do the same.
Anonymous, UK

I attended the World Pride march in Rome with my Italian partner

Graham Bradford, Italy
I attended the World Pride march in Rome with my Italian partner. The real threat to civil liberties demonstrated by the Vatican's attempts to intimidate city, regional and national government into forcing the march to be banned or held in the provinces, resulted in massive support for the demonstration from people not directly involved in the struggle for equal rights for transsexuals, lesbians and gays in Italy and around the world. Partly, we have to thank the Church hierarchy in the Vatican which is so evidently out of touch with the views of "ordinary" people in Italy, for giving us such a resoundingly successful World Pride.
Graham Bradford, Italy

It seems to me that many of the responses to the question posed are based on a misunderstanding of the Catholic position on homosexuality. The Church does not "attack" or "denigrate" homosexuals. In fact the Catholic Catechism is careful to warn that discrimination against homosexuals is wrong. The Church does not believe that humans can be reduced to a description based merely on their sexual orientation and distinguishes between the persons and act. Homosexual acts are regarded as being "per se malum" (intrinsically evil) and "contrary to the natural law", but these terms do not describe individuals with homosexual tendencies. This distinction is not trivial - heterosexual lust and fornication are described in the Catechism as "morally disordered" - but that is not to say that the Catholic Church condemns heterosexuality!
Joseph, UK

I fully agree with the Pope. Homosexuals should keep a low profile and not try to promote it in any way, then they can be accepted as a reality. We must remember that the vast majority of people have evolved with different tendencies and therefore, homosexual tendency can only be considered as a failure of the mainstream. There are many other failures that will similarly be accepted if they do not try to convert the failure into success contrary to evolution.
Mikko Toivonen, Finland

The man who planted the bomb in Soho probably never read the Bible, but he was almost certainly exposed to the tabloid publicity surrounding the homophobic outpourings of the likes of Cardinal Winning (who likened gay men to Nazis) and Brian Souter's defeated "Keep the Clause" publicity machine. A warped mind like his would feed on this sort of bigotry. Gay men are not anti-family. We are the product of a loving sexual relationship between a man and a woman. We love and respect our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters - just like so-called "normal" people do.
David, UK

As a Catholic, I'm saddened by what the Pope has to say and also by his choice of timing and location

Paul McMichael, UK
As a Catholic, I'm saddened by what the Pope has to say and also by his choice of timing and location. Can he not see and make the linkage between upholding a belief that gays are against nature and the violence and discrimination that we suffer? "Objectively disordered" is a dehumanising statement in the context. Such hypocrisy to hold that we are deserving of compassion but are not fully human.
Paul McMichael, UK

The Pope and some other leading Catholics should go to Church more often, where they would learn about real Christian values, rather than the feelings of hate and prejudice they seek to condone. The Church can be a real force for good and Catholics everywhere should stop the current leadership from perverting the true meaning of the Christian message.
Keith, UK

It's funny that the Church condemns so harshly what seems to be such a popular activity among its clergy, who choose to have their homosexual affairs with underage boys. It's good to know that hypocrisy is alive and well, within the Church.
Viktor, Finland

Nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus say it was wrong to be homosexual

Morgan O' Conner, USA
Yes, the Church should change its stance. Nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus say it was wrong to be homosexual. They do less environmental damage, anyway. If they are allowed to be true to themselves, they don't have accidental children.
Morgan O' Conner, USA

I am pleased that the Pope has made a stance as it now looks like this Church is the only one to keep to the Gospel. If the Roman Church relents then it will only face increasingly disorder as the United Reformed Church in England has now found by accepting homosexual ministers for ordination and which the Church of England will do so in the near future. This issue has split the Church and I cannot see the need for it.
Ray Antieul, England

Does the Church think that their antagonism towards homosexuals is any greater than that shown towards Samaritans at the time of Jesus? They are supposed to follow his teachings - what would Jesus do?
Mike Birch, USA (British citizen)

What does a supposedly straight, celibate man know about the laws of nature? Nothing. I am gay because I was born this way and there is nothing evil, sinful or otherwise wrong about it. Funny how Christians (it doesn't matter what denomination) never seem to realise that I am offended by their ridiculous, superstitious beliefs left over from the Stone Age. It is time for all religious people to reassess their outdated views (not just about homosexuality) and think about what it really means to be human on a planet with 6 billion souls.
Steven Roelofs, USA

Why is it acceptable to attack and denigrate gay people while we would be outraged if a similar attack was launched on black people or Moslems? The Pope would do better to tackle real sexual morality issues such as compensation for the victims of the culture of acceptance of paedophile priests maintained by his own church.
Peter FitzPatrick, Ireland

The Roman Catholic Church is simply perpetuating bigotry behind which all homophobes and gay bashers can hide. We have seen an increase in violence against gays in Scotland since a leading member of the Church referred to them as perverted earlier this year. It is high time that those who have no sex lives of their own should stop dictating what consenting adults do in private.
John, UK

The Church would do well to follow its founder, Jesus Christ, who had nothing to say against homosexuals.
John Nevitt, UK

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See also:

08 Jul 00 | Europe
Gay pride triumphs in Rome
09 Jul 00 | Europe
Pope condemns gay rights march
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