Just in time to brighten the holidays, Roman Catholic Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, 76, recently retired as head of the Vatican’s Council for Health Pastoral Care, pronounced: “Transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Speaking online on Pontifex News, Barragan took refuge behind the redoubtable Saul of Tarsus, hedging, “It’s not me who says so; it’s St. Paul”—quoting the apostle’s Letter to the Romans (1:26-27).
Wrapping himself in the mantle of St. Paul, Barragan expatiated on his thoughts, stating knowledgeably, “One is not born a homosexual. One becomes a homosexual.”
One voluntarily and deliberately may transform oneself in a number of ways, as Barragan noted, “It is for various reasons, such as education, or for not developing one’s own proper identity in adolescence; perhaps they are themselves not responsible, but acting against the dignity of the human body, certainly they will not enter Heaven.”
To hammer home his point, Barragan stressed, “All that goes against nature and against the dignity of the human body offends God.”
Deliberately choosing celibacy over procreation by that token also might be seen as a contravention of Yaweh’s exhortation: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth….” (King James Version, Genesis 1:28—another discussion.)
After Barragan’s pronouncement, the Vatican itself, via the Catholic News Agency, stepped in to say that his No Gays in Heaven is not official teaching of the Catholic Church.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, went so far as to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358, which instructs followers concerning GLBT folks in their midst by teaching that “the number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives, and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”
So, every time you sit through another showing of It’s a Wonderful Life in the next few weeks—and little Zuzu Bailey warbles, “Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings”—it may be a newly fledged transsexual or homosexual harbinger of Heaven.