The-Catholic-ChurchThe Catholic Church is all but extinct in The Middle East where it began. It is largely irrelevant in Western Europe, its former stronghold. In America, a one-time bastion of Catholicism, the church is in decline after having surrendered its moral authority by covering up sexual abuse with minors.

The future of Rome is clearly in developing countries where it is locked in a death match for supremacy with Evangelical Churches, Anglicanism and Islam. A microcosm of this struggle is best witnessed in religiously fractious Nigeria, where sectarian strife has repeatedly led to violence.

To effectively compete with these homophobic religions, The Vatican has adopted a strategy of using virulently anti-gay rhetoric and opposing equal rights. The Church has become a bully, kicking a helpless minority in nations where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are already persecuted. This is pure cowardice by a Church that hardly has the moral standing to discuss sexual morality, given the outrageous sins against children that have taken place within its walls.

The latest gay bashing came this week from Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan who called homosexuality an “insult to God”.

“Transsexuals and homosexuals will never enter the kingdom of heaven and it is not me who says this, but Saint Paul,” the cardinal said, in comments reported by the Ansa news agency. “People are not born homosexual, they become homosexual, for different reasons: education issues or because they did not develop their own identity during adolescence. It may not be their fault, but acting against nature and the dignity of the human body is an insult to God.”

Barragan, the retired head of the Vatican’s Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, quoted a passage from Paul’s epistle to the Romans which speaks of “men committing indecent acts with other men”.

“Homosexuality is therefore a sin, but this does not justify any form of discrimination. God alone has the right to judge,” the cardinal said. “We on earth cannot condemn, and as human beings we all have the same rights.”

Well, I guess we will give him credit for arguing in favor of equal rights after stepping all over us and saying we are morally inferior. That is better than we are getting from other Catholic leaders these days.