VATICAN CITY, JULY 9 (ZENIT.org).- Christians must regard homosexuals with respect and sensitivity. However, the "Gay Pride" manifestation that paraded on the streets of Rome yesterday, was nothing less than an "affront" against the Jubilee, John Paul II said, when he met with some 30,000 pilgrims at noon today during his traditional Sunday appointment in St. Peter's Square.
The week of celebrations organized by homosexual groups in the Eternal City, ended yesterday with speakers in the Circus Maximus. According to official figures given by the police, on that very hot afternoon, 70,000 people paraded on the streets of Rome, although it was anticipated that 200,000 would participate. It was an essentially peaceful manifestation, of a carnival nature, including transvestites dressed as brides and individuals wearing bishops' miters, interspersed with vulgarities and obscenities as usually happens during such events.
The march did not have the financial support of the Municipality of Rome, as the organizers refused to disclose details of the activities they had planned, but it was supported by politicians of parties of the Left (the majority communists or former communists). It was opposed by Catholic parties, as well as other groups of the Center-Right. In general, all agree that the meeting in Rome, at the height of the Jubilee, was not a struggle against discrimination but a provocation.
"On behalf of the Church of Rome I cannot but express the disappointment for the affront caused to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offense to Christian values of a City that is so dear to the heart of Catholics throughout the world. The Church cannot silence truth, because it would diminish fidelity toward God the Creator and would not help to discern what is good from what is evil," the Pope said.
Consequently, the Pope limited himself to read number 2358 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which, states, ""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 form 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." ZE00070911
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