The church in Kenya has said the church still stands against homosexuality, but all the same loves those in such unions because they were created by God.
A pronouncement by Head of the Roman Catholic Church on the controversial same-sex marriages topic has set tongues wagging and fuelled another round of debate.
In what many could have misconstrued as a departure from the doctrines of the church, Pope Francis on Wednesday made comments about the rights of homosexuals as covered in civil law during an interview for a documentary featured at the Rome Film Festival.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family.
They are children of God; you cannot kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” said the Pope.
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While the comments have been attributed to the Pope as an individual, it comes as a shocker to many of the church’s faithful.
The Catholic Church in Kenya, however, says that the Pope’s views were taken out of context mainly by the Western media. Kisumu Archbishop Phillip Anyolo said the Pope had not indicated that he supports homosexuality, but made the comments in support of human integrity and dignity. “Pope Francis said those in same-sex unions also deserve love and while the church does not preside over such unions, they are covered under another set of laws but that does not mean they are less human,” said Anyolo, who is chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The archbishop also reiterated that the church stands with the right to human life, still stands against homosexuality but all the same loves those in such unions because they were people created by God.
While theological pundits will be spending days on end trying to explain the Pope’s view, the worldwide Anglican Communion also finds itself at crossroads following a landmark ruling on gay marriages in the Episcopal Church of the US.
Bishop William Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York, was earlier this month found guilty of not following National Church rules on same-sex marriages after refusing to allow such marriages in his diocese and prohibiting clergy from performing the rights or even attending them. In a letter to churches following the ruling, he stated he had accepted the decision despite strongly disagreeing with it.
“Unfortunately, given the nature of this case, I have no reason to believe that appealing the Hearing Panel’s Decision would result in any different outcome,” said Love.
The battle between conservative and moderates in the communion seems to be heightening.
Mid last year and earlier this year, a division played out openly between Head of the Anglican Communion Archbishop Justin Welby and Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit over the Lambeth Conference. Sapit clarified he will not attend unless invitation to three homosexual bishops from North America was revoked.
The primates of Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria also turned down the invitation.