Homosexual Advocacy Group Criticizes New Pope

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Not everyone had words of praise for the selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope.

A homosexual advocacy group expressed "concern" that Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, "does not present a hopeful vision of the future or inspire optimism for affirming language, policies or outreach."

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) noted that Ratzinger "authored a Vatican document condemning marriage and adoption by gay men and lesbians in July 2003."

The Washington Blade described the document as a "battle plan for Catholic politicians." According to PLFAG, the document calls on the Catholic Church to "reject gay and lesbian families on the basis of 'basic values.'"

"Religious leaders like Ratzinger cannot dictate to us what our family values must be, particularly when their idea of family values excludes all GLBT people and loved ones," said PFLAG's Executive Director Jody Huckaby, a homosexual former Catholic, in a statement.

"Our PFLAG families have values of love, respect and compassion -- perhaps the most distinguishing thing about those values is that they don't exclude anyone," said Huckaby, who urged "GLBT people and their families to confront bigotry" in the Catholic Church "and other faith traditions."

"We cannot shy away from explaining how discrimination in organized religions can tear families apart. The fight for GLBT equality must include our willingness to challenge our religious leaders," Huckaby added.

PFLAG said the Catholic Church should be celebrated for its advocacy for the "marginalized and maligned people of the world -- the poor, the politically oppressed and those in war-torn countries."

"Ironically, however, the Church refuses to recognize the injustices it inflicts on its own families each time leaders like Cardinal Ratzinger vilify GLBT people. We hope that, as PFLAG families reach out to leaders of their faith, members of the clergy will realize the need for responsible religious rhetoric and the strength that comes from embracing all families," the group concluded.

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