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Catholic Cardinal gives his blessing to LGBTI phone helpline in India

Catholic Cardinal gives his blessing to LGBTI phone helpline in India

Wendell Rodricks, Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Ruby Almeida stand up next to each other looking at the camera and smiling

A leading fashion designer and LGBTI advocate has managed to get a top Catholic Cardinal’s blessing to run a LGBTI helpline.

Wendell Rodricks approached Archdiocese of Bombay to ask for a private meeting with its Cardinal, Oswald Gracias.

The fashion designer wanted Gracias to give his blessing to a planned LGBTI helpline he planned to set up. The helpline will not only provide support to LGBTI people but potentially reconcile them with their Christian faith.

Rodricks meeting the Cardinal went very well. The Cardinal gave his blessing to the hotline just months after the Supreme Court of India ruled to decriminalize homosexuality.

‘I was moved to tears when Cardinal Gracias not only gave his total approval and support but also agreed to advise his clergy to be more compassionate and less condemning of the LGBTQ community,’ wrote on social media.

‘At the end of our meeting, His Eminence placed his hand on my head and blessed me in a special way: “Christ bless us for the work we are doing for society”.

‘Suffice to say I felt blessed, grateful and immensely joyful. In smog-filled Bombay, my heart felt a rainbow in the sky.’

Rodricks got the idea for the hotline after spending much of his life in conflict over his sexuality and faith.

‘I have personally suffered,’ he told The Hindu.

‘If [a LGBTI person’s] faith goes against them, it leads to psychological damage because they can’t get the acceptance.’

You have our blessing, but we don’t endorse homosexuality

A spokesperson of the Archdiocese, Father Nigel Barett, said the Cardinal supported all their followers. But he reminded people of the Church’s stance on homosexuality.

‘The Cardinal has said that we have to be people who are supportive and the church has to be supportive of them. The church has been always welcoming and respectful of all people,’ Barett told The Hindu.

‘The moral position has been one that the sexual act between members of the same sex is not endorsed or accepted.’

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