Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917-691-5118

Truth Wins Out Condemns Advisor to U.S. Catholic Bishops for Saying Homosexuality Comes From Satan

dan_avila2BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out condemned Massachusetts attorney Daniel Avila today for calling homosexuality a “natural disaster” caused by Satan invading the wombs of mothers of LGBT children. Avila, who serves as Policy Advisor for Marriage and Family to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, made the inflammatory remarks in an article for the Boston Pilot, the official newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. In the article, he discussed a theory that homosexuality is caused by “random imbalances in maternal hormone levels,” which he falsely labeled as “the most widely accepted scientific hypothesis.” Avila went on to say:

“…the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture’s account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God’s handiwork.

Therefore, whenever natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God.”

“Avila’s bizarre theories are unscientific and defamatory,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Telling Catholic mothers with LGBT children that Satan entered their womb and caused their child’s homosexuality is spiritual abuse of the highest order.”

“It is outrageous for an official advisor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to make such an appalling statement at all, much less in the approved newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston,” added John Becker, Truth Wins Out’s Director of Communications and Development. “The USCCB and the Boston Archdiocese must unequivocally condemn Avila’s bigoted remarks, or explain to LGBT Catholics and their parents why they refuse to do so.”

While the Catholic Church has increased its public anti-gay efforts in recent years, Avila’s words directly contradict those of the American Catholic Bishops in their 1997 pastoral letter entitled Always Our Children, which gave a far more nuanced view of the topic of homosexuality:

“…it seems appropriate to understand sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual) as a deep-seated dimension of one’s personality and to recognize its relative stability in a person. A homosexual orientation produces a stronger emotional and sexual attraction toward individuals of the same sex, rather than toward those of the opposite sex… There seems to be no single cause of a homosexual orientation. A common opinion of experts is that there are multiple factors—genetic, hormonal, psychological—that may give rise to it. Generally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore, a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose.”

The bishops’ letter also told parents of gay children not to reject them in a society full of violence and discrimination, that “God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual,” and that “the Christian community should offer its homosexual sisters and brothers understanding and pastoral care.”

“There is nothing remotely understanding or caring about Avila’s anti-gay smears,” said Becker. “His statements are in direct conflict with those of the bishops he counsels, and contribute to the continued marginalization of LGBT Catholics and their families within their church communities.”

Added Besen: “If America’s Catholic bishops are looking to Daniel Avila for advice about the LGBT community, it’s no wonder that so many fair-minded people are leaving the Catholic Church for other, more reasonable and rational denominations.”

Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to create a world where LGBT individuals can live openly, honestly and true to themselves. TWO fights anti-LGBT religious extremism, monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies and exposes their leaders. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

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