Pope urged to rein in cardinal who attacked gay diplomat

A US senator has called on Pope Francis to intervene over a Dominican Republic cardinal who made derogatory remarks about a gay US ambassador.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois took exception to what he called “hateful” attacks against openly gay ambassador James “Wally” Brewster.

Earlier this month, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, 79, said Mr Brewster should “focus on housework”, since he is the wife to a man.

This comment came after Mr Brewster criticised corruption in the Dominican Republic.

The ambassador also accused police officers of threatening and assaulting several US investors who were attending a conference.

Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez also used an anti-gay slur with reference to Mr Brewster and accused him of promoting a gay rights agenda on Dominican soil.

The cardinal also reportedly organised a protest against Mr Brewster.

Senator Durbin, who is Catholic and the number two Democrat in the US Senate, is a long time friend of Mr Brewster.

In a letter to Pope Francis, the senator described the cardinal’s words and actions as “hateful”, “personal” and “mean-spirited”.

“The Church’s teachings on gay marriage are well known, but the Church also teaches us to show tolerance for those with different sexual orientations,” Senator Durbin wrote.

“The intolerant public statements of Cardinal Rodriguez are inconsistent with that clearly stated value.”

“Since your selection as pope, you have shared a message of compassion, tolerance and love,” Senator Durbin added.

The senator said he distinctly remembered when Francis spoke to a joint session of Congress in September and “reminded us of our responsibility to defend and preserve the dignity” of fellow citizens in pursuing the common good.

“I accept that challenge and I am calling on you to ask nothing less of the hierarchy of the Church,” Mr Durbin wrote.

The senator urged Francis to ensure that Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez treats Mr Brewster with respect.


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