Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bishop Raúl Vera López: "Homophobia is an illness"

by Christian Rea Tizcareño (English translation by Rebel Girl)
August 19, 2013

You have to be "sick in the head" to think that a gay man or a lesbian is a degenerate or depraved person. Homosexuals are human beings worthy of respect, stressed Raúl Vera, Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila [Mexico].

Interviewed by Terra, after his participation in the program "Tejemaneje" -- the first program of political analysis and debate on the Internet in Mexico, Vera López talked about the question Pope Francis asked the international press recently: "Who am I to judge homosexuals?"

The winner of the Rafto Prize 2010 for his fight for human rights in Mexico acknowledged that the words of the Argentine pontiff conrast with what many hierarchs of the Catholic Church think about it, that is, that homosexuality is a form of human perversion.

"A mom came talking to me about her son, and she had a lot of issues because he was going around with 'those degenerate gays!' I told her, 'Well, condemn yourself, because your son was formed that way in your womb and he wasn't formed as a degenerate or a pervert! He was generated with a composition that you're getting tied up in knots about. Calm down! You're the mother of this child and this child started to be what he is today in your womb!," says the head of the Diocese of Saltillo.

Homosexuality has a scientific explanation that we still don't want to admit, and from the religious point of view, it's important for pastors to review the historical context and carefully re-read "the Biblical texts that we've beaten homosexuals over the head with to say that they're condemned in the Bible," the Dominican prelate explained.

Homophobes think a priori that homosexuals and lesbians are degenerate and promiscuous people, but having those thoughts is a mental illness, the Catholic hierarch thinks.

Francis is a "Spring" in the Church

With respect to the coming of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the Vatican and his way of leading the Church during the first months of his papacy, Vera López calls Pope Francis "a Spring, a new hope."

According to the Mexican prelate, Francis is just applying what the Holy Spirit told the Church at the Second Vatican Council and what Latin American theology has done in the [Latin American] bishops' conferences: "understanding the world and drawing near to it." However, he ackowledged that those who followed that line in the past were condemned by the Church itself.

"The princes become vassals and henchmen become princes"

Fray Raul Vera recently celebrated a Mass for indigenous professor Alberto Patishtán, sentenced to 60 years in prison on charges of participating in an ambush on June 12, 2000, where seven policemen were killed and two people were injured. However, human rights organizations in Mexico and the world, such as Amnesty International, have documented serious irregularities and contradictions in that trial.

What does Don Raúl Vera think about the circumstance of the Tzotzil teacher in the face of the release of such characters as the drug kingpin Rafael Caro Quintero on August 9th because of procedural errors in the case of the assassination of U.S. agent Enrique Camarena?

To answer, he quoted a phrase from Fray Bartolomé de las Casas to the King of Spain which, from his point of view, applies to the Patishtán case: "In these lands, the princes become vassals and the henchmen become princes."

All Mexican politicians "are cut from the same cloth"

For the bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, the change in the parties in power in Mexico hasn't served to improve the conditions of the citizens since the political class "are cut from the same cloth."

It used to be said that the parties had an ideology and members of those institutions were true to their principles. Today a standard prevails of "shoddy, ambitious and greedy politicians." "You didn't make me a candidate? Oh no, then I'm going with those ones over there," he said by way of example.

In that context, the prelate emphasized that the current federal administration, headed by PRI member Enrique Peña Nieto, doesn't differ in any way with his predecessors' form of governing.

He argued that the presence of self-defense groups is explained by Mexico's failure in its duty to ensure the safety, peace, justice, and human rights of its citizens.

He noted that in places like Michoacán, federal authorities, instead of arresting and trying criminals, have devoted themselves to disarming the self-defense groups.

"What you're also seeing here is: Where is the sense of justice? Where is honesty? Where is corruption? Where is organized crime? Because today we don't just have organized crime in the mafias. Today we have organized crime in all those corrupt officials. They're partners in crime. Many of our political structures in the public service are delinquent associations," the priest and activist warned.

Even though people who are corrupt or tied to organized crime prevail on the political stage, the founder of the "Fray Juan de Larios" Diocesan Center for Human Rights reiterates that the only solution to the problems of the country lies in these same people.

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