HIS CAME Across the AP yesterday, pointed out to me by a friend on Twitter.
“IS OUTRAGE!” says Fr Vasili, I’m sure: not lamenting the sudden embrace, but rather the misleading headline. Be sure to read the AP story: essentially gay is still bad, but we oppose persecution of gays. This is a huge step in the right direction for a church that was totally silent whilst people with icons in Moscow spat on and kicked gay people in the streets a couple of years ago. This is a huge step in a world-wide denomination that has been totally silent in Uganda where the local hierarchy is either being misrepresented in the press or else supporting the anti0gay law that even forbids counselling gay people in Church.
But the Russian statement – still a huge step – isn’t all that: the UK’s “Pink News” provides a bit of historical context that puts the lie to His Holiness’ statement that “we have repeatedly spoken out against discriminating people for their nontraditional sexual orientation…”
But it is the interfax article from Russia that presents the fullest version of the Patriarch’s recent statement on the topic.
“We accept any choice a persons makes, including in the field of sexual orientation. It’s a personal choice. However, it doesn’t change our position on the phenomenon,” the Patriarch said at his meeting with General Secretary of the Council of Europe in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
Patriarch Kirill reminded, “religious traditions of all nations confirm that homosexuality is a sin as well moral disorientation of a person.”
However, a person with homosexual inclinations “shouldn’t be punished, that’s why we’ve always spoken against any repressions and discrimination of people with different sexual orientation.”
“Considering homosexuality a sin, we are categorically against equaling homosexual relations to natural,” the Patriarch further said.
Hedging His Holiness’ bets a lot there… but “Shouldn’t be punished” is pretty clear, Uganda. Of course the Ugandan church is not a Russian plant.