It’s time to understand homosexuality


Homosexuality is misunderstood. It should not be a criminal offence says Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson.

People should be helped to understand the issue better, Turkson says.

La Croix International reports that the comment is at odds with the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ conference, and has stoked outrage on social media.

“The position of the Catholic Church on LGBTQIA+ has remained the same; such practices are against not only Christian values, but Muslim and Ghanaian Traditional values as well,” the bishops said.

“May God have mercy on him,” posted one Ghanaian Catholic.

“Just because you’re a Catholic leader doesn’t mean that, whatever you say, Catholics can listen and do it,” said another person on Facebook. “We have the right to oppose and no one can impose the law on us!”

Turkson’s views are also at odds with Ghana’s parliamentary discussions about a bill imposing harsh penalties on LGBT people.

Turkson, who has at times been regarded as a future candidate to become pope, says “LGBT people may not be criminalised because they’ve committed no crime.

“It’s time to begin education, to help people understand what this reality, this phenomenon is. We need a lot of education to get people to… make a distinction between what is crime and what is not crime” he went on to say.

Law change proposed

In July, Ghanaian MPs backed a proposed bill that would make identifying as LGBT punishable with a three-year prison sentence.

People who campaign for LGBT rights could also face up to 10 years in jail.

At the moment, the bill has not completed its passage through parliament,

Gay sex is already against the law in Ghana. It carries a three-year prison sentence.

Catholic view – bishops, cardinal, pope

Turkson’s views on the proposed law change challenge Ghana’s Catholic bishops’ views.

The bishops say homosexuality is “despicable”.

In August, they made a statement along with other leading Ghanian Christian groups.

Western countries should “stop the incessant attempts to impose unacceptable foreign cultural values on us” the Catholic Herald newspaper reported the bishops as saying.

Cardinal Turkson refutes homosexuality as an outside imposition on Ghanian people.

He points to the Akan language (one of several Ghanian languages).

In Akan there is an expression “men who act like women and women who act like men”. He argued that this was an indication that homosexuality was not an imposition from outside, Turkson says.

“If culturally we had expressions… it just means that it’s not completely alien to the Ghanaian society.”

Turkson thinks the current efforts to pass strict anti-gay measures in several African countries stem from “attempts to link some foreign donations and grants to certain positions… in the name of freedom, in the name of respect for rights”.

Pope Francis is indicating the Church is willing to be more inclusive of homosexual love. Last month he suggested he would be open to having the Catholic Church bless same-sex couples.

“Neither should this position also become… something to be imposed on cultures which are not yet ready to accept stuff like that.”


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News category: World.

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