Raul Vera Lopez, Catholic bishop of Saltillo, Mexico, has spoken out against homophobia in an interview with El Pais.
The newspaper asked Bishop Lopez his views on the issue after it was made public that he had baptized the daughter of a lesbian couple.
When asked what his stance on the issue of homosexuality was, Lopez replied, ‘That is a topic that we have refused to address.’
‘The people who say homosexuals are sick are sick themselves. The Church needs to come to them not with condemnation, but with dialogue. We cannot cancel out a person’s richness just because of his or her sexual preference. That is sick, that is heartless, that is lacking common sense.’
Lopez said he agreed with the church’s teaching against abortion but complained about the hypocrisy of Catholics who only cared about homosexuality and abortion while ignoring other sins.
‘Abortion, just like same-sex marriage, has served us subterfuge to tell ourselves that we in the Church have our morals,’ Lopez said.
‘It is very easy to go against a woman who has an abortion, it poses no trouble and we have support from the ultraconservative right … [They] are hypocrites. It would seem [to them] that the only moral rules deal with condemning same-sex couples and abortions. You do that and you’re [their] perfect Christian.’
The newspaper noted that under Pope John Paul II, Lopez had been investigated over his ties to the Mexican LGBTI group Gay and Lesbian Community of Saint Aelred but said under Pope Francis I his views were becoming more mainstream in the church.
‘For a long time, Raúl Vera was the Catholic Church’s black sheep, the old-fashioned left-winger,’ El Pais’ Jan Martinez Ahrens writes, ‘But that was until the ideological earthquake represented by the new pope, Francis I, gave renewed relevance to his words.’
‘Now, other bishops are suddenly turning to Vera for guidance.’
This is not the first time Bishop Lopez has spoken out against homophobia.
Last year during a television appearance on Terra Mexico he called homophobia a mental illness.