GENEVA, Switzerland, July 8, 2011 ( – A new resolution passed by the UN last month on “sexual orientation and gender identity” has the Vatican’s permanent representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council concerned for the Church’s freedom.

“The resolution marks a change. It is seen as the beginning of a movement within the international community and the United Nations to insert gay rights in the global human rights agenda,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Holy See’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, in an interview with Catholic News Agency.

In addition to condemning acts of violence against homosexuals, the statement also expresses a “grave concern” about “discrimination” based upon sexual orientation, broad language that critics say paves the way for the marginalization of those who believe homosexual acts are sinful.

“I think that violence against homosexual persons is not acceptable and it should be rejected, even though this does not imply an endorsement of their behaviour,” said Vatican delegate.

But he points to the huge discrepancy between the words of such resolutions condemning violence and discrimination, and the meaning some people derive from them, and the purpose they use them for.

“The terms ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ are not defined in international law,” he said. “To the extent that they are not external behavior, but feelings and thoughts, they cannot be subjected to punitive laws. [However] For some people these words are a code phrase for types of conduct.”

Archbishop Tomasi maintains the document is part of a concerted effort for new “international norms.”

The archbishop says he fears that in time true marriage “will be socially downgraded with the eventual legislation that puts homosexual ‘marriage’ and the marriage between a man and a woman” on the same level, and that gay activists will seek to mandate “compulsory sex education at school that clashes with Christian values.”

The agenda is clear at the international level, he said. “In fact, it seems that terms such as ‘gender’ or ‘sexual orientation’ are devised to escape reality and to accommodate a variety of feelings and impulses that then are transformed into rights.”

These “rights,” continued the archbishop, are worrisome for the Church because they conflict with the rights of freedom of religion and freedom in child education.

“There is confusion in some people’s mind,” he noted, “in combining a just respect and protection for every person – including homosexuals – and support for the indispensable role of the family, the parents right to educate their children, the support of the natural family for the common good.”

Earlier this year, Tomasi denounced the vilification of those who oppose homosexual behavior, emphasizing the difference between sexual orientation and sexual behaviour.  In response to the recent UN resolution he has reiterated previous remarks stating that “orientation” can only refer to “feelings and thoughts, not behaviour.”