By Jesús Colina
ROME, DEC. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The retired president of the Vatican’s health care council says he has been misrepresented by the press, which has reported him as asserting homosexuals cannot go to heaven.
On Wednesday, the Pontifex.roma Web site published comments attributed to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán that state “transsexuals and homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The cardinal, however, said in a statement sent to ZENIT on Thursday that his words were taken out of context. The cardinal said he was referencing the Bible, specifically St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 1:26-27, which says (in part), “Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.”
“This is what the Word of God says, it isn’t what I said,” Cardinal Lozano Barragán affirmed. “Now, I have never said that a particular homosexual cannot be saved, because he can be saved.”
“Many times one is not a homosexual through one’s own fault; it all depends on one’s education and environment,” the prelate clarified.
Cardinal Lozano Barragán reiterated the Church’s teaching on grave sin: “The only thing I can say is that for grave fault to exist, in addition to needing grave matter, one needs full knowledge and full consent: Where one of those three conditions is lacking, there is no grave fault.”
Above all, the cardinal stressed that he is not the one who judges people, since God is.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, responded to the media reports by pointing to the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Nos. 2358 and 2359 state: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”