By Hilary White

ROME, December 3, 2009 ( – A leading Vatican cardinal caused a flutter in the secular press yesterday by stating that homosexuals who act on their sexual impulses cannot go to heaven. 

“Transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven and it is not me who says this, but Saint Paul,” said Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, a Mexican and the former head of the Vatican's Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers. The cardinal was reiterating the Catholic teaching that states that any sexual activity outside of marriage that is not repented of before death is a mortal sin, and therefore precludes entrance into heaven.

In his comments published on the Italian online news site, Pontifex, the cardinal also pointed out that Catholic Church does not condemn the condition of being a homosexual as such. Instead, it is homosexual acts themselves that are mortally sinful.

“People are not born homosexual,” Cardinal Barragan was quoted as saying. “They become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence. It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God.”

While the cardinal's statement of Christian sexual ethics was expressed with theological precision, the world's media and homosexualist groups have reacted with shock and outrage. The Italian homosexualist activist organisation, Arcigay, issued a statement saying, “Yes, it's true, we won't ever get into your heaven, which is a murky and unjust place.”

Cardinal Barragan's reference to St. Paul was mostly likely from the saint's letter to the Romans, in which he rebuked those who indulge in a variety of sins, one of which is homosexuality. St. Paul wrote, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth.” The result of this denial is for these people to be given over to “degrading passions.”

The letter continues: “Their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural. And in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Also condemned in the passage are greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander and disobedience to parents.

Barragan's reference to the disorder of homosexuality is reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published during the pontificate of John Paul II, that says that while the “psychological genesis” of the homosexual inclination “remains largely unexplained,” the acts themselves are “acts of grave depravity,” and are “intrinsically disordered.”

“They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” The Catechism goes on to say that homosexuals, like all persons who want to live ordered lives, are called to “chastity” and “the virtues of self-mastery.”

Cardinal Barragan also reiterated the section of the Catechism which urges against discriminating against homosexuals, saying that, “This does not justify any form of discrimination.”

“We on earth cannot condemn, and as human beings we all have the same rights.”


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