ROGERS WADADA: Dear Pope Francis, the words “sin” and “crime” can be used interchangeably

Pope Francis attends a Mass for the feast of the Epiphany earlier this month in Vatican City.Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Pope Francis attends a Mass for the feast of the Epiphany earlier this month in Vatican City.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

KAMPALA – To all my Catholic friends and enemies, kindly treat what I am going to say in these lines as fair comment or an intellectual debate and if you can’t, I will understand, brain wash is not so easy to deal with.

It is your right to throw rotten eggs at me but be reminded I also reserve the right to defend myself to the logical end. We cannot let the Pope to mislead the world just because he is a head of the Catholic Church where I belong. I fully understand the implication of challenging the Pope and I am ready to be banished if I am not allowed to comment about the alphabets.

What we are defending here is our heritage, our values and our culture. These existed way before the white man came into the interior of African with a bible in one hand a gun in another.

They manipulated our fore fathers and made them believe whatever the white man brought and said was good for us including paying allegiance to the Vatican. It is now clear the future of our children is under attack, it is our duty to fight back.

Deviants as the Catholic Church has previously called LGBTQ people must not be allowed to mislead us and our leaders.

In a shocking twist of events, Pope Francis has come out openly to criticize laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are. He therefore called upon Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Pope Francis said during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. In all fairness, I don’t know who told the Pope LGBTQs were denied access to catholic churches but it appear he was directing the Bishops to relax the rules of the Church for LGBTQs.

Asked whether the church should work towards repealing these laws, Francis said, “Yes, yes, they have to do it, they have to do it.” Francis said there needed to be a distinction between sin and a crime when it came to homosexuality.

The Catholic Church considers homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered” and a sin, but believes that people in the LGBTQ community should be welcomed with respect and sensitivity. This is where my bone of contentions is and I hope the readers will treat this write up as “Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagates”

The word “welcome” as used by the Pope in so broad in nature and carries a different meaning from what we see. A literal interpretation would infer that the Pope was telling his Clergy to allow LGBTQ people to enjoy every right or sacrament like all other catholic. That is the meaning of the word without discrimination. Otherwise what would be the purpose of welcoming the LGBTQ community into church and then discriminate against them by denying them Holy Communion, Holy matrimony, baptism excetera. If welcoming and avoiding discrimination means what I have said, then the world is in trouble.

Unless our government puts its foot down, these are very bad signs, and it appears we have lost the war and the battle to these forces. I don’t see the Catholic Church standing up to oppose that directive more so that it has come from the man considered a Holy Father. We are closer to facing a serious conflict between the laws of the land and the laws of the holy books. He is asking the public to oppose laws that criminalize homosexuality and asking us to live with sin yet the very bible that should guide the Pope tells us to shun sin, what a contradiction.

Pope Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone. “These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.”

To make sure I don’t misunderstand the Pope, I quickly opened the dictionary and the bible to find out if the two words “Sin and Crime” have different meanings. I actually realised the two are one and the same thinks parked differently in the penal laws and the holly books.  Crime is defined as an action that is against the criminal law of the society. Sin is an Abrahamic concept that is a violation of God’s will. Crime is identified by the government but sin is identified by God. The punishment of crime is given in this world but the punishment of sin is given after death or forgiven before death.

All criminal laws in many parts of the world derived their origins in the holy books. Infact, most of the early law makers were religious leaders famously known as teachers of the law. There were minor modifications of the laws based on the various cultures at the time. There is nothing that the holy books consider as a sin that was not captured in the penal laws as crime. Thus, I agree with Evelyn Kasamba that every crime is a sin but every sin is not a crime.

Sin is a subjective term, and has no parameters to base exactly what it is. It is believed by religious people and ignored by others as a delusion. Crime is something that is set by social codes of the country you live in and if broken a penalty is to be paid. Brief of crime is given in criminal statutes while a brief of sin is given in religious books. For non believers anti-social activities are not sin but for both believers and non believers anti-social activities are crime. To buttress his argument, Pope Francis quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church in saying gay people must be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against. “We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity,” To him, dignity includes the right to be who you want to be.

Right from the beginning, Pope Francis has exhibited signs of being so liberal towards the LGBTQ people starting with his famous 2013 declaration, “Who am I to judge?” Besides, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he is on record for having favored granting legal protections to same-sex couples as an alternative to endorsing gay marriage, which Catholic doctrine forbids.

Despite such outreach, Pope Francis was criticized by the Catholic LGBTQ for a 2021 decree from the Vatican’s doctrine office that said the church cannot bless same-sex unions. However, soon we may hear of a catholic ordained marriage of people of the same sex.

In 2008, the Vatican declined to sign onto a U.N. declaration that called for the decriminalization of homosexuality, complaining the text went beyond the original scope.

In a statement at the time, the Vatican urged countries to avoid “unjust discrimination” against gay people and end penalties against them. Some 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty, according to The Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws. Experts say even where the laws are not enforced; they contribute to harassment, stigmatization and violence against LGBTQ people.

It is a known fact that some time back in the year 2019, Pope Francis was expected to issue a statement opposing criminalization of homosexuality during a meeting with human rights groups that conducted research into the effects of such laws and so-called “conversion therapies.” In the end, after word of the audience leaked, the pope didn’t meet with the groups. Instead, somebody else within the Vatican was delegated and reaffirmed “the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence.”

With these remarks, you can see they have been trading very carefully more so because Pope Francis Predecessor was a very conservative guy.

If I had a say, I would have demanded for an apology from the Pope as his remarks were an insult to many countries of the world that have put their foot down against the new world order of promoting LGBT agenda.

It is my humble conclusion that homosexuality and lesbianism are not any different from the infamous Female Genital Mutilation that is now a crime against humanity. If anyone should find my fair comments derogatory, just know I prefer to face the truth and if the Pope is the password to heaven, I am ready to stay here on earth alone.

The author, Roger Wadada Musaalo is a Lawyer, human rights activist, researcher, and politician

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