One year of Francisco’s papacy: only gestures and many debts to be paid to the LGBT community

After one year of having been elected Pope, Jorge Bergoglio still owes a significant debt to the LGBT community. The protection and concealment of priests accused of sexual abuse, the continued silence of the Vatican despite the grave human rights violations of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders in countries such as Iran, Nigeria, Uganda, Russia, and India, the accusation of a so-called “gay agenda”, and the support of a sole family model, clearly show that the change that was presumed to have been undertaken is no more than a mass of gestures without meaning.

After a year of the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope, the FALGBT takes into account the outstanding debts still waiting to be settled that the new pope has decided not to make good on.

During the period of a year, the supposed changes that Francisco suggested be implemented in respect to sexual diversity have remained empty words, showing a continuity in the Vatican’s policy regarding lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders.

This continuity is expressed on the part of the Catholic hierarchy by the protection and concealment of the thousands of priests accused of pedophilia and sexual abuse throughout the world, which was recently denounced by the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child. At the same time the offensive accusations publicly dumped on the so-called “gay agenda” by Francisco, did not do more than discriminate against sexual diversity, branding it as a corrupt practice.

Still more pressing are the Pope’s statements to the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, in which he affirms that for the Catholic hierarchy, “marriage is between a man and a woman. Laic states want to justify civil unions to accommodate for diverse situations of cohabitation, being faced by the need to regulate economic issues between persons, such as, for example, health care.” This declaration shows Bergoglio’s enormous contempt and disregard for diverse family situations, and for the commitment of various states in the world to recognize the valid relationships and family members that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders have.

However, without a doubt the most serious grievance that Francisco has with the LGBT community is the Vatican’s complicit silence in the face of the growing persecution and violence that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, are living in Africa and Asia, as brought to public knowledge by the implementation of anti-gay laws in Uganda, Russia, India, and Nigeria, among other nations, which have earned the swift reprove and response of the international community.

Esteban Paulón, President of the FALGBT expressed, “One year after having assumed the role of pope, Bergoglio has demonstrated that in spite of the words and gestures, he continues to maintain contempt and disregard for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders. He has not taken a single step since taking his office, made clear first during the debate for the law of Marriage Equality in Argentina, in which he branded sexual diversity as the ‘plan of the devil’.”

Paulón also remarked “More serious still is the complicit silence of the Vatican before the advance of laws in diverse nations of the world that have criminalized sexual diversity, and imposed the threat of imprisonment and even the death in some cases, of persons whose sole ‘crime’ is to be themselves and express themselves openly. The feigned ‘compassion’ that was lavished in speeches during the Meeting of the World’s Youth has yet to be shown in these cases.”

In conclusion, Paulón says, “By way of creating this tally, it is evident that despite the gestures —clearly insufficient— there has not been a will to truly change the Catholic hierarchy’s views on sexual diversity. This continuity is expressed in the large quantities of situations that range from the concealment of priests accused of pedophilia, to the validation of the heterosexual family as the sole possible model. Again the Vatican demonstrates that in reality, nothing has changed, in spite of the ‘friendly’ gestures, and words of ‘commitment’.”