The Bishop of Alcalá de Henares, Juan Antonio Reig Pla has come under heavy fire from LGBT advocates for allegedly encouraging homosexuals unhappy with their situation to undergo reparative therapy.
On April 2, around 150 LGBT protesters staged a demonstration outside of the cathedral of Alcalá, and a group of some 30 of them burst into the church while Mass was going on, shouting and carrying rainbow flags and signs bearing messages such as “Get out of Alcalá” and “I will praise the Faggot.”
For their part, the Spanish media have been waging an ongoing campaign against the bishop, accusing him of spreading homophobia and carrying on “illegal, clandestine courses to cure people of homosexuality.”
On April 5, the Spanish bishops’ conference released a statement in support of Bishop Reig Pla and denouncing the protesters’ “disrespectful entry” into the cathedral and their noisy interruption of the liturgy.
The bishops said that the campaign against Reig Pla has engaged in “manipulation of the truth and intentional misinformation, which ends up provoking the very ‘hatred’ they claim to be against.”
“We defend the freedom of conscience of each person to address their various existential situations seeking help and accompaniment in the people and institutions that deserve trust, among others, those of the Church,” the bishops said.
The bishops also underscored the freedom of the Church “to offer its vision of the person and to welcome and accompany those who freely approach it to help them grow in their integral human development.”
On Monday of this week, groups favorable to the bishop mounted their own counter-protest, with over a hundred rallying in front of the Archbishop’s residence in Alcalá to show their support for Reig Pla. The demonstrators carried their own signs, with messages such as “Stop the Bullying” and “Thanks for Being our Bishop.”
The president of the group Hazte Oír, Ignacio Arsuaga, said that the bishop of Alcalá is being subjected to a “witch hunt” and a “public lynching” for simply living out his role as a shepherd and pastor.
“Once again misinformation and defamation are the weapons chosen by the radical left in their desire to humiliate Bishop Juan Antonio Reig,” he said, “with demands that he renounce the meaning of his life, his pastoral mission, and commitment to his teaching.”
“The only objective of the left and the LGTBI lobbies is to execute a mediatic, political, and ideological witch hunt against Reig Pla,” he said, while schoolchildren are indoctrinated “without parental consent, in ‘workshops of lesbian visibility’ and ‘diversity training,” he said.
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