Gay rights advocates assail bishop’s ‘discriminatory’ comments vs LGBT community  

Gay rights advocates assailed on Saturday a Novaliches prelate after he reportedly discriminated against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community when he said that they are committing sin every time they “give in to the temptation” of having sex with their partners and should seek the guidance of “spiritual directors.”

Ang Ladlad counsel and former vice chair Germaine Leonin said Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias’ position shows that the kind of “spiritual guidance” he espouses is one of “intolerance and hate.”

In his Radio Veritas program “Hello Father 911,” Tobias said that LGBT couples who are in a union are “immoral” and are therefore “barred from receiving Communion.”

“I would advise that those people should be under the care of a spiritual director. They really need one to guide them,” Tobias said in the radio program, excerpts of which were posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CPCB) official news service CBCPNews.

In a prior episode of the program, he also stressed that while “same-sex attraction is [in] itself not a sin, engaging in homosexual acts is.”

“So long as [it’s just] attraction and friendship, that’s not a sin yet. [F]or me, we are not yet bordering the area of morality there. But this tendency, this attraction shows a danger sign for a person that needs to address,” the bishop said.

Leonin said members of the LGBT community should not be barred from Communion just because they “follow what our hearts desire.”

“We can’t disassociate who we are with who we love. It’s part of us. If they can’t accept who we are, we will just pray directly to our God, who we believe to be a loving God, who created us,” Leonin told the Inquirer, adding that the position taken by priests like Tobias is “purely judgmental and the height of hypocrisy.”

Aranna Laine Pardilla, president of UP Babaylan, said Tobias might want to “educate himself more” and follow the lead of Pope Francis, who in recent years has taken a more open approach by setting aside judgments on the LGBT community.

“Our fight for equality is not a hindrance to our faith, our devotion to the Church. LGBTs should not be treated less of a human. Hopefully the bishop would learn that LGBTs deserve basic human rights,” she said.

Similarly, Brian Tenorio, chair of the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said Tobias should reflect on his position against the LGBT community, especially that nowadays “humanity needs leadership that shows respect and compassion.” /ee

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