Bishop Soc: Jesus Christ died for all, including LGBTs
But CPCP president says a same-sex union is ‘not a marriage’
“Be holy and aspire to become saints.
This was the challenge posed by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual (LGBT) community as lay Catholic leaders gathered in Cebu City yesterday for a national convention on family life.
Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said they will issue by the end of August a pastoral letter on the care of homosexual persons, as well as the Church’s doctrine and position on same-sex unions.
He said the LGBT community has always been a part of the Church and its mission to draw all people to God.
“The first thing we should call to mind is that Jesus died for all. At the cross, there were only seven words attributed to Jesus, and at the cross, He did not ask ‘Are you a homosexual? If you are, I’m not dying for you.’ No. There was no such thing,” Villegas told about 400 participants to the three-day National Convention on Family and Life, which will end today at the Summit Circle.
“Jesus wants everybody to be saved, and come to a degree of sanctity while here on earth. So if the heterosexual person is called to holiness, homosexual persons are also called to be saints. And it is possible for a homosexual person to become a saint, not only in heaven, but already here on earth.”
During the open forum, Villegas addressed questions on same-sex relationships.
“We do not judge. We constantly bring to them God’s invitation ‘Come follow me. Come and be holy. Come and be a saint.’ That is a call given to all of us,” he said.
He told the participants to be careful in using the term “marriage” when referring to persons who have relationships with partners of the same sex.
“Number one, it (same-sex union) is not a marriage. It is an agreement,a union, or call it whatever it is, but it is certainly not marriage,” he said.
In an interview later, Villegas was aksed his view about same-sex unions.
He replied, “It’s an error, a tragic error of humanity.”
He cited the Book of Genesis, which states that “God created them male and female.”
“We must be firm in proclaiming the truth. It is in Gods’ plan that a man and a woman enter into that sacrament of matrimony which Jesus Himself instituted,” he said.
Even if same-sex unions are legalized, he said it doesn’t mean it has God’s blessings.
“These are human laws, and human beings can be fickle-minded. We can be swayed by service, by whims, by popular types, but in the end, all these will disappear and what remains is just the Ten Commandments,” he said.
In his main speech, Villegas discussed next year’s big events: the Year of the Eucharist and the Family in the Philippines, 25th Anniversary of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines; and the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the whole world.
Asked to comment on inaccuracies in media reports on matters concerning morals, Villegas advised the participants to do their share in evangelizing their children.
“Why do we have catechists? It’s because some parents are not doing their roles in catechizing their children. It all starts in the family. Let us not entrust to mass media the task of teaching children what is proper and not,” he said.
“Let us start teaching our children what is right so that by the time they grow up and become leaders of this country, they will have better understanding of things,” Villegas added.
To counter “errors” in media reporting, he said the best thing to do is not to retaliate, but to do good, and remain faithful to what the Lord teaches.
“The best way to overcome evil is by the power of doing good. You don’t have to wrestle with evil directly. You can fight evil by increasing the influence of goodness. Example, instead of attacking columnists, we should spend more time to discuss about the beauty of marriage, persons, the sanctity of human life, and protecting the family,” he said.
“Because if you teach positively, error will be corrected. If we keep of rebutting and rebutting, reacting and reacting to errors that we see, what will happen? Never get tired of teaching the values contained in the teachings of the Church,” he added.
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