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Pope Francis, homosexuality and Ghana

Pope Francis, homosexuality and Ghana

In a landmark ruling in December 2023, Pope Francis said Roman Catholic priests should be allowed to bless same-sex couples.

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Blessing of same-sex couples by Catholic priests must, however, not be part of “regular church rituals or liturgies, or given in context related to civil union or weddings”.

A document from Pope Francis’ office, released in December 2023, said such blessings would “not legitimise irregular situations but be a sign that God welcomes all”.

According to the document, the Pope supports the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex”.

However, “these blessings should never be impacted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union and not even in connection with them”.

The document asked priests to administer the blessing of same-sex marriages on individual-case basis and “should not prevent or prohibit the church closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing”.

Elaborating on the matter, the document stated that blessing of same-sex marriage should not be conferred at the same time as civil union using such rituals or even with the clothing or gestures that belong to a wedding.

It added that blessing of same-sex marriages must not be denied if requested and that persons seeking a transcendent relationship with God and looking for his love and mercy should not be a subject of “an exhaustive moral analysis” as a precondition.

“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God.

The request for a blessing thus expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life which is no small thing in the world in which we live.”

To the Catholic Church, marriage is an indissoluble union between man and woman.

Therefore, the Catholic Church is opposed to same-sex marriage.

In 2021, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, pronounced bluntly that the Catholic Church could not bless same-sex marriage because “God cannot bless sin”.

Despite the Roman Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality, Pope Francis recently criticised laws passed by some countries that criminalise homosexuality.
He said such laws were unjust.

The Pope added that ‘‘God loves all hischildren just as they are’’.

He asked Catholic bishops who supported such laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

In 2008, the Catholic Church refused to sign a United Nations’ Declaration that called for decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The text and wording of the UN’s Declaration, according to the Catholic Church, “went beyond the original scope’’.

The church said it found it problematic to accept the Declaration in that form.

Since he was appointed in 2013, Pope Francis’ popularity has increased.

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Some 90 per cent of Catholics have approved of the way he was managing affairs of the Roman Catholic Church of about 1.3 billion people.

Some 74 per cent of white-skin protestants, 68 per cent of unaffiliated, and 60 per cent of white-skin Evangelists, have also supported the Pope.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the “homosexual acts” in Catechism expressed by the LGBTQ+ children continue to be characterised as ‘‘intrinsicalisation, in contrast to natura law, (and) close the sexual act to the gift of life”.

According to the Pope, homosexuality is not a crime but a sin.

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“Being homosexual is not a crime. 

It is not crime.”

He described laws against homosexual as “unjust and asked Catholic bishops to show “tenderness” as God does with each of his children.

He added that it was also a sin to lack charity with one another.

What does the Holy Bible state about homosexuality?

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Judaism, the religion of ancient Israelites, condemned homosexual practice, as recorded in the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible.

In Romans 1:26-27 (English Majority Text Version): “For this reason, God gave them up to passions of dishonour, for even their females exchange the natural use for that which is contrasting to nature and likewise also the males having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful and receiving in themselves the recompense which is fitting for their error.”

In Genesis 19 (KJV), it is recorded that two angels came to Lot in the city of Sodom and the men of the city wanted to mate with them and they were rebuked by Lot.

In Leviticus Chapter 20:13, it is stated: “If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed abomination: “they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Was Pope Francis wrong when he asked Catholic priests to bless same-sex marriage couples?

Few senior Catholic priests disagreed with him on the homosexual issue.

They thought that the Pope was diluting Catholic theology with his own ideas.  

In asking Catholic priests to bless same-sex marriages, Pope Frances has said that it was not to be construed as an approval of homosexuality or same-sex marriage.

He added that blessing same-sex marriages was to be done out of compassion and closeness to God and Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ taught his disciples and followers to have compassion toward other persons.

In Matthew Chapter 5, verse 7, it is written: ‘‘Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.’’

Jesus demonstrated this gesture in John, Chapter 8, when he rebuked the accusers of a woman accused of adultery.      

Jesus asked the accusers to cast a stone against the woman, as demanded by law, if any of them was without sin.

None of them hit the woman with a stone. 

She went away free, because Jesus asked her to go away and to sin no more.      

In the Holy Koran, Allah or God, is described as ‘’Most Gracious and Most Merciful’’.  

Mercy or compassion is one of the most cherished virtues of both the Christian and the Moslem religions.  

How do all these connect with the Promotion of Proper Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill passed by the Ghanaian Parliament last February?      

The bill seeks to increase the scope of punishment against homosexuals by introducing a wide range of restrictions and punishment.      

It imposes a three-year imprisonment on homosexuals and five years for those who advocate homosexuality.      

It also denies access of homosexuals to basic medical services, education and housing and imposes a five-year imprisonment for ‘’wilful promotion and sponsorship or support of LGBTQ-plus activists’’.

Among others, the bill violates the privacy of individuals and rights to freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.      

In its present form, the bill is too harsh and lacks the virtue of compassion.

Ghanaian Christian and Moslem leaders were among promoters of the bill that they monitored until it was passed by Parliament.      

It is my considered view that their support and promotion of the bill was not done in the true and faithful spirit of Christian and Islamic teachings of Lord Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed.      

In this wise, I plead with the Christian and Moslem leaders of Ghana to emulate the example of Pope Francis by stretching their hands of compassion to other sinners; because there is no one without sin.            

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