African Bishops Reaffirm Opposition to Homosexual Practice

People hold rainbow flags as they take part in the Gay Pride parade in Entebbe on August 8, 2015. Ugandan activists gathered for a gay pride rally, celebrating one year since the overturning of a strict anti-homosexuality law but fearing more tough legislation may be on its way. Homosexuality remains …
Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

The Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the West African nations of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau reiterated their opposition to homosexual practice Friday following a meeting of their conferences.

“We have a positive teaching, which is to say that God created man and woman,” said the archbishop of Dakar, Benjamin Ndiaye, reporting on the meeting.

“They are complementary and different, and we do not intend to have another opinion imposed on us, neither in the sense of a vigilante repression nor in the sense of a permission that would go against our convictions,” the archbishop said.

The bishops have reiterated earlier declarations to “reject homosexuality and denounce pedophilia, which are contrary to our values,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference at Cap des Biches, Ndiaye insisted the Church’s position on homosexuality is based on divine revelation.

“God created humans so that they are fruitful and multiply,” he stated. “Originally God created man and woman and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and fill the Earth.’ Such is the order desired by the Almighty and the bishops hardly intend to derogate from it.”

“This is how life was organized by the Creator,” he asserted.

The archbishop said the Church would resist efforts to pressure Christians into accepting homosexual practice but insisted that this does not necessarily translate into coercive measures by the state.

“We do not intend to have anyone dictate to us another orientation, because we have this orientation from revelation,” Ndiaye said. “The fact that God created man and woman for his own purpose is so that man can, in union with woman, give birth to children.”

Regarding the criminalization of homosexuality, however, the archbishop asserted that “the Church does not want to be the judge” of people.

“This is what we want to avoid. We are not God’s tribunal to say who deserves to be put in hell and who deserves to be burned or put to death. This is not our responsibility,” he said.

Along with the issue of homosexuality, the bishops’ meeting addressed the woeful decline in good citizenship while urging the formation of a “civic conscience” as well as “respect for the institutions” of their countries.

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