Spanish Homosexuals File Criminal Charges Against Bishop for Condemning Sodomy

Mon Jan 14, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

TENIRIFE, SPAIN, Janauary 14, 2008 ( - The Spanish State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGT) has filed a criminal complaint against the Catholic bishop of Tenerife, Bernardo Álvarez, for making statements against homosexual behavior and comparing it to child sexual abuse.

Since making the statements in late December, Bishop Álvarez has been widely criticized throughout the mainstream Spanish media for reiterating the Catholic Church’s consistent teaching on the subject.

After being asked "what is your opinion of homosexuality," by the Spanish newspaper La Opinion de Tenerife, the Bishop stated that people who had the condition for "physiological" reasons were deserving of respect, but went on to say that "it is another question if homosexuality is or isn’t a virtue."

"It is necessary to be very careful these days because one can’t say that someone suffers from homosexuality," Álvarez continued. "It isn’t politically correct to say that it is an illness, a lack of something, a deformity of human nature itself.  Something that all the dictionaries of psychiatry said ten years ago can’t be said today."

"It is very clear that, in this sense, my thinking is that of the Church: the greatest respect for people, but logically, I believe that the phenomenon of homosexuality is something that damages people and society.  Eventually we will suffer the consequences just as other civilizations have."

The bishop went on to say that children needed to be inculcated with the virtues of masculinity and femininity, defending his position by noting that children receive guidance to avoid various pathologies, including violent behavior.  He said that in most cases homosexual orientation is not biologically determined and is a search for sexual "novelty", comparing it in this sense to pederasty.

Denouncing the Bishop for "identifying homosexuality with the sexual abuse of minors" and for "promoting an attitude of violence and discrimination" against homosexuals, FELGT president Antonio Poveda responded this week by filing formal charges against the bishop with state government prosecutors.

Poveda also attempted to portray the bishop as a defender of child sexual abuse, when in fact the bishop was showing the similarity between adolescent sexual abuse and homosexuality. When the La Opinion interviewer objected that homosexuality and sexual abuse were different because sexual abuse was not voluntary, the bishop pointed out that there are cases of minors who consent to it and even seek to provoke it.

"It seems that he is justifying the abuse of minors, coming from an institution that has been condemned the most times in the world for sexual abuse," said Poveda.  "It is necessary for the hierarchy to be respectful and to know that as citizens they have freedom of expression, but they also have to respect the standards that are set by the laws in this country and in this case they have passed that boundary, therefore we hope that the Attorney General will intervene to prevent such lamentable declarations from being made again."

The FELGT’s complaint follows another similar complaint the group made recently against a protestant minister in the province of Galicia.  Marcos Zapata is accused of having given a talk on how to encourage heterosexual development in children.  The organization has threatened to sue Zapata and has asked the government of Galicia to investigate him because he conducts anti-drug and anti-violence programs in government schools.

To read the full text of La Opinion de Tenerife’s interview with Bishop Alvarez, see:

See related coverage:

Spanish Clergyman Investigated for Encouraging Heterosexual Child Development

Section of Interview with Bishop Bernardo Álvarez, December 24, 2007
  Full Interview Text in Spanish can be Found at

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives

Share this article