Cardinal could be prosecuted for ‘gay empire’ jibe

LGBT and feminist activists want to have a Spanish cardinal penalised for hate speech after he said a “gay empire” is one of the threats to the family.

On May 13, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Valencia delivered a homily in which he stated the family has become a target in various ways.

“The family is haunted today, in our culture, by an endless threat of serious difficulties, and this is not hidden from anyone,” Cardinal Cañizares said.

“There we have legislation contrary to the family, the action of political and social forces, with added movements and actions of the gay empire, of ideas such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender theory,” he said.

The cardinal is a former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Soon after Cardinal Cañizares’s remarks, several pro-LGBT and feminist organisations announced they were going to file an official complaint with the local “Office of Hate Crimes”.

Technically, they intend to charge Cardinal Cañizares with “apologia”, a term in Spanish law for encouraging or defending a criminal act.

Spain has had anti-discrimination laws including penalties for “hate speech” since 1996.

Seeing the reaction to his remarks, Cardinal Cañizares decided to publish the homily in full, with an accompanying note asking, “Is it homophobic to defend the family?”

He also requested “objective” lawyers and jurists to look at the homily content and decide if what he said is in fact “against the law” or homophobic.

In his letter, the cardinal said that the “censorship and condemnation” he received in some media, and the attacks from organisations and politicians, made him recall “stages of our past history” during which homilies and preachers were “censored and condemned”.

He was referring to Spain’s fascist past in which sermons deemed seditious could see priests heavily fined.

Pope Francis has also warned against an “ideology of gender” with one recent example being in his exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Valencia’s auxiliary Bishop Esteban Escudero defended Cardinal Cañizares, noting that he was “defending the family amidst the challenges the Pope talks about”.


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