Arrest Suspended for Colombian Catholic Archbishop over Dismissal of Homosexual Seminarian

By Gudrun Schultz

  MANIZALES, Colombia, April 27, 2007 ( - An arrest order against Archbishop Fabio Betancourt Tirado has been temporarily suspended for ten days by a Columbian court in Manizales—the order was issued after the archbishop refused to comply with a lawsuit over his decision to dismiss a seminarian for robbery and homosexual activity, according to a Catholic News Agency report April 26.

  The former seminarian accused Archbishop Betancourt of discriminating against him over his homosexual activity while he was in seminary—he is now enrolled in a Protestant seminary. The archbishop declined to explain to the court why he dismissed the seminarian.

  Archbishop Betancourt said he has received support from Catholics in France, Germany, the United States, Ecuador, Costa Rica and other countries. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos and Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo each communicated support through phone calls.

  Archbishop Betancourt thanked God for the suspension of his arrest order and said the decision was the "fruit of a prayer crusade" in the archdiocese.

"This decision is proof that God is not sleeping or dead. It is the fruit of a prayer crusade in Manizales, which has resulted in the Church coming out victorious and the country great," he said in a Colombian radio interview.

  The Manizales court must decide within ten days whether or not to revoke the arrest order.

  Colombia was thrust into the forefront of the push to establish pro-homosexual legislation in Latin American countries with the Colombian Supreme Court decision in February to permit same-sex couples the same inheritance rights as married couples.

  The country remains strongly Catholic, however, despite 1991 constitutional reforms that dropped Catholicism as the official religion. Support for homosexuality remains low among the general population.

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  Colombian Court Grants Property Rights to Same-Sex Couples

  Cardinal Pleads for Worldwide Prayers to Protect Colombia from Abortion 

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