A couple of weeks ago the Europe-based International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, better known for their old name and acronym International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), joined Italian LGBT advocates to call for worldwide protests against the Catholic Church and the Vatican. Their reason?
From their alert:
On April 13 the number two in the Vatican hierarchy, the Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, claimed that there is a link between homosexuality and paedophilia.LGBT advocates throughout the world have answered the call. AFP reports that more than 100 people gathered in Paris on Saturday while a number of agencies reported a demonstration in Rome, Italy, on the same day. On April 4th, Easter Day, a number of people here in New York, mostly members of the LGBT activist group Queer Rising, also protested outside New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.
The LGBT movement worldwide has risen up against this false, despicable and anti-scientific statement from the Vatican, which is trying to deflect attention from priests’ sex crimes by blaming LGBT people.
While they are trying to hide the truth about the abuses perpetrated against innocent children, by making absurd parallels between homosexuality and paedophilia, ILGA and the Italian LGBT movement has launched an appeal to all citizens and associations all over the world to join an international protest against child abuse and support for victims in front of the Vatican embassies or the main Catholic churches.
Turning the paedophilia issue into a matter of sexual orientation, as the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone did, can only lead to failing to address the serious allegations coming from around the world. The point is not whether to identify the sexual orientation of paedophiles, but firmly prosecute those responsible for such abuses, especially if they have an educational or spiritual role.
The Catholic Church must answer to the courts and the world public opinion for the serious cover-up occurred worldwide. This is our call, to all women and men of goodwill, of any religion, who cannot be silent in front of these abuses against innocent children. Take Action Now! Contact your local lgbt association to organise a protest in front of the Vatican embassy or the main catholic church of your city.
Meanwhile, in Latin America, there were very visible reactions from advocates in Venezuela, Argentina and Peru.
Holding signs that read, among other things, "Pedophilia is a crime, homosexuality is not", marchers arrived at the embassy and handed a statement "repudiating the discriminatory attitude of the church against the human and civil rights of gays and lesbians".
An article in Aporrea also indicates that activists in neighboring country Colombia also staged a protest on April 17th at Bogota's main cathedral but there are no other details.
Participants of the Venezuela action included renown transgender activist Tamara Adrián (holding the sing in the photo), José Merentes (standing behind her), Carlos Aray and representatives from several Venezuelan LGBT organizations.
Argentina: The Argentinian Homosexual Community (CHA), one of the leading LGBT organizations in the country (link here), also called for a protest outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires. MDZ says it was a small group of people (so was the one at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York). Participants carried similar signs as those carried by activists in Venezuela: "Abuse is a crime, homosexuality is not".
Another one read "We express our rejection of the abuse against boys and girls, let's denounce the Vatican's silence."
Crítica also has a report which includes an image of the protest.
LGBT advocates in Lima, Peru, organized perhaps the most successful of the recent protests, at least in the American continent. El Comercio reports that over a hundred supporters of the LGBT Peruvian Network gathered outside the residence of the Vatican's diplomatic representative in Lima (link here and photo at the top of the page).
The protest, which had been announced days earlier, also drew an estimated thirty counter-protester, says the paper. They arrived an hour early and waited for the LGBT advocates by counting the beads on their rosaries and praying.
Once the LGBT advocates arrived, the paper reports that there were non-violent clashes for more than two hours. It culminated when a Catholic priest named Carlos María Stiegler stepped out of the residence to shout at the activists that they were "the work of the devil".
"This manifestation is not God's work," he said, "the Devil is present here."
"To cover a crime is also a crime," responded the LGBT advocates.
Speaking for the LGBT advocates, Marbel Reyes told the EFE news syndicate that the Network had kept their protest peaceful even when Stiegler attempted to proffer his blessings upon those gathered (supposedly to drive away the devil inside them).
And, while few in the United States paid attention, the US right-wing religious right certainly did.
The US-funded and Peruvian-based ACI Prensa highlighted the good work of those who gathered to defend the Vatican's sorry record on child abuse and saluted those who would stand up to a "small group of hostile feminists and homosexuals".
They also provided the pro-Vatican video below...