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Wikileaks: Vatican Lobbied Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

September 11th, 2011

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable dated December 15, 2009, reveals that the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican lobbied the Catholic church to oppose the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. According to the cable:

Embassy Vatican has actively lobbied Holy See officials to take a stand against pending legislation in Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality and in extreme cases, even punish it with death (reftel). On December 11, after the Ambassador raised USG (U.S. Government) concerns, Cardinal Antonelli Ennio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, reaffirmed the Church’s position that legal approaches to homosexuality are inappropriate. Antonelli admitted that he had not followed the Uganda controversy closely, but agreed that Catholic bishops there or anywhere should not/not support the criminalization of homosexuality. The Ambassador urged the Cardinal to make sure bishops in Uganda understood this. Embassy poloff followed up with the Cardinal, providing information about the bill and USG concerns about it

On December 8, DCM met with Monsignor Peter Wells, Assessor in the Vatican Secretariat of State’s Section for General Affairs (NSC equivalent) and raised these issues. Monsignor Wells expressed the Vatican’s view that the Church considers homosexuality sinful but does not believe it should be criminalized. Moreover, the Church is opposed to the death penalty.

…The Vatican likely will not want bishops in Uganda to support the criminalization of homosexuality, so Embassy efforts may well translate into Vatican officials communicating with bishops in Uganda to reaffirm the Church teaching that homosexuality is a personal moral decision, which should not be penalized in any way by judicial authorities. The Vatican, however, likely will shy away from instructing the bishops directly to denounce the bill, as bishops everywhere are given a lot of leeway in deciding how to conduct pastoral work in their own dioceses. Embassy Kampala may want to reach out to the Holy See’s Nuncio and to the President of the Ugandan Conference of Catholic Bishops to further underline USG concerns.

On December 10, 2009, the Vatican released a statement which opposing “all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons,” particularly “the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State.” The statement didn’t reference Uganda by name, but that last statement was taken as an oblique reference to the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Shortly before Christmas Day that year, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga, denounced the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his annual Christmas message from Rubaga Cathedral. That message was broadcast over several Ugandan television channels.

See also:
Feb 17, 2011: Wikileaks Posts Cables from US Embassy in Uganda Concerning Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Feb 17, 2011: More Wikileaks Cables on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 10, 2011: Wikileaks: Ugandan First Lady “Ultimately Behind” Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 11: 2011: More On Ugandan First Lady’s Support For Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 11, 2011: Wikileaks: Vatican Lobbied Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 12, 2011: Wikileaks on Uganda’s Homosexuality Bill: Museveni “Surprised” and Buturo “Obsessed”
Sep 12, 2011: Ugandan Presidential Aide Confirms Wikileaks Conversation
Sep 23, 2011: Ugandan First Lady Affirms Support For “Kill The Gays” Bill

Comments

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Lucrece
September 11th, 2011 | LINK

Wouldn’t want the entire sector of Ugandan Catholic priests and bishops annihilated should this bill pass!

Lynn David
September 12th, 2011 | LINK

So they actually weren’t speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the issue.

Priya Lynn
September 12th, 2011 | LINK

Quite an about face for an organization that opposed the U.N. statement condemning the criminalization of gayness.

David Waite
September 12th, 2011 | LINK

Although I am an atheist child of Dominionist missionaries and have never been a Catholic, I have many Catholic friends and some of them rely on me for moral advice, particularly the GLB ones. This news greatly relieves my mind, and makes it possible for me to say certain comforting things I wasn’t till now able to say. Thank you, BTB, for bringing this good news via Wikileaks, which once again demonstrates their own righteousness.
This may sound weird from an avowed atheist, but I actually feel like breaking into a song of praise; the Doxology by preference. If God is, He is snickering at me right now.

Timothy Kincaid
September 12th, 2011 | LINK

If God is, He is snickering at me right now.

I love that.

As a believer in God, I only know one thing for certain: whatever it is that I think I know about God is probably comically off base and God’s probably chuckling over it.

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