Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, of Germany, a doctrinal conservative, was elected the 265th pontiff Tuesday evening, choosing the name Pope Benedict XVI. Gay Catholic groups are bumming.
"Gay and lesbian Catholics are going to be very hurt by this election because Cardinal Ratzinger was the lighting rod for so much of the anger they felt under the previous pope," said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the New Ways Ministry, a "gay-positive Catholic group. "We are very disappointed that the cardinals chose someone whose hallmark seems to be doctrinal authority," he said.
Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, "Someday, the church will apologize to gay people as it has to others it has oppressed in the past. I very much doubt that this day will come during this pope's reign. In fact, it seems inevitable that this pope will cause even more pain and give his successors even more for which to seek atonement."
"We didn't have misconceptions that whoever won this election would all of the sudden be a marvelous change for us," said Sam Sinnett, national president of DignityUSA. "We have to be realistic about this."
Why this reaction?
From his position as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger issued instructions for Catholic lawmakers to oppose any effort to give legal status to homosexual unions in January 2003. "The Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
..."In no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.
"If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way."