The LGBT response to Archbishop Kaigama’s turnaround

PicturesNigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama recently made a remarkable about-turn on Nigeria’s anti-gay law, saying that he does not support jailing gay people, this after he, earlier this year, and on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the draconian bill into law. At the time, Kaigama, wrote to Jonathan that his approval of the law “is indeed a courageous one” and “a right step in the right direction.”

It now appears that a visit to the Vatican has cleared Kaigama’s head and helped him realise that the Catholic Church is actually opposed to locking up gay people.

Following his insistence that the media’s reporting of his views was a “gross misinterpretation” and that he only supported the parts of the Nigerian law that banned same-sex marriage, Davis Mac-Iyalla, a Nigerian LGBT activist, responded to the archbishop’s hypocrisy, noting that, “there was and continues to be wide-spread violent attacks against those suspected of being homosexuals in Nigeria. Indeed, the persecution of gay people in Nigeria is strongly influenced by religious homophobia.” Continue reading

Gay rights groups laud new Catholic tone

pope-laugh_2629894cGay rights groups are cautiously cheering a shift in tone from the Catholic Church toward homosexuals, encouraged that Pope Francis’ famous “Who am I to judge?” position has filtered down to bishops debating family issues at a Vatican meeting this week.

There is no discussion that church doctrine on homosexuality will change or that the Vatican will soon endorse gay marriage or even gay unions. It will not, as the Vatican’s top canon lawyer made clear Thursday.

But for the first time, a Vatican meeting is discussing gay and lesbian issues and how to provide better spiritual care to Catholic homosexuals. Day after day, bishops have spoken of the need to change the church’s language about gays from words of moral condemnation and judgment to words of welcome and respect.

“I think what we’re seeing is a crack in the ice that we have been waiting for, for a very long time,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group. “It’s a sign of a first step.” Continue reading

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama Admonishes FG To stop Punishing Gay Nigerians

Archbishop-Ignatius-Kaigama2The Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama has said Nigerian government is “wrong” for “punishing” gay Nigerians.

Speaking at a press briefing with The Tablet at the Vatican yesterday, the Archbishop stressed that the Catholic Church in Nigeria is opposed to any discrimination of gay people.

According to him, after Nigeria adopted a law that hands out 14-year sentences to gay Nigerians earlier this year, he had announced the Church’s support for the legislation. However, there was a “gross misinterpretation” of this by the media.

The Catholic Church, he now says, only supported the elements of the law that set out that marriage is between a man and a woman, but is against “the criminalization of people with different sexual orientations.” He told The Tablet:

“We are not supporting the criminalization of people with different sexual orientations. We would defend any person with homosexual orientation who is being harassed, who is being imprisoned, who is being punished. The Government may want to punish them – we don’t. In fact we will tell the Government to stop punishing those with different orientations.”