Bishop backs down on remarks about early gay disciples

A Colombian bishop who linked same-sex orientation with one of Jesus’ disciples and Mary Magdalene has apologised for his use of words.

In a conference at a Colombian university, Bishop Juan Vicente Córdoba of Fontibón said there is no explicit rejection of homosexuality in the Bible.

“We don’t know if one of Jesus’ disciples” had a same-sex orientation, he said.

“We don’t know either if Mary Magdalene was a lesbian.”

Bishop Córdoba said parts of the New Testament might suggest otherwise, as far as Mary Magdalene is concerned, but “we don’t know”.

According to a report in Crux, Colombia is currently debating same-sex marriage and adoption rights.

Bishop Cordoba, who heads the Colombian Episcopal Conference’s Commission on Life, told the conference the Catholic Church does not oppose same-sex couples making a life together.

He also said that: “No one chooses to be gay or straight – one simply feels, loves, experiments, is attracted, and no attraction is bad”.

During the conference, he reportedly also used a pejorative term in Spanish for a gay man, which some in the audience found offensive.

The next day he apologised for his “unfortunate colloquial expressions”.

Bishop Córdoba stated that his words were not intended to modify the “solid and unchangeable moral position of the Church”.

Rather, they were to express respect in a gathering which, according to the prelate, was mostly composed of leaders and members of the LGBT community.

He said in a clarification published by the Colombian Bishops’ Conference: “Even if homosexuality as an inclination doesn’t constitute a sin, it’s regarded as a disordered conduct.”

The bishop stated he only used colloquial expressions because of the academic and dialogic context of the encounter, adding that they had no theological or moral value.

At the conference, Bishop Córdoba reiterated Church teaching that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, permanent, and open to children.

He also said that children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father.


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