Test 2

Please select your preferred language.





Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us

24 Mar 2009

Pope's visit to Cameroon raises questions about gay and lesbian rights

Since the Holy See had said that it advocates against criminal penalties against homosexual persons, Amnesty International attempted to engage the Pope while on his first pilgrimage to Africa.

On his first trip to Africa last week, Pope Benedict XVI visits Cameroon, a country that criminalizes same-sex sexual relations.

Pope Benedict was widely criticised worldwide after he told reporters aboard the plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS, rather, they ''increase the problem.''
Amnesty International has asked Pope Benedict during his visit, to urge the government of Cameroon to eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A senior Cameroonian Roman Catholic Church leader was reported by local media in December 2005, to have publicly denounced homosexuality. Before and since, many have been persecuted.

The Holy See said at a meeting of the UN General Assembly in December 2008 that it "continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination towards homosexual persons should be avoided, and urges States to do away with criminal penalties against them."

"The Pope should take the important opportunity of this visit to Cameroon to make clear that the Holy See abhors any attacks or persecution of people based on their sexual orientation, and call on the government to decriminalize homosexuality," said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme.

Over the past three years, Amnesty International has documented the arrest and detention of several dozen young men and women, some of whom have been sentenced to prison terms and fines for allegedly engaging in consensual same-sex sexual relations.

In a typical case, two men were arrested on 16 August 2007 by gendarmes in Yaound, accused of engaging in same-sex sexual relations. The suspects were held at Nlongkak gendarmerie until 31 August 2007, when they were transferred to Kondengui prison.

While in custody, the detainees were subjected to anal examinations in an attempt by the authorities to establish if they had been engaged in sexual acts.

The men appeared in court on 23 November 2007 and pleaded not guilty to engaging in same-sex sexual relations. The court found them guilty of same-sex acts on 13 March 2008 and sentenced them to six months' imprisonment and a fine of 25,000 CFA Francs (approximately $US44). They were released soon after their trial because they had already spent more than six months in custody.

Twelve young women were permanently excluded from a college in Douala in March 2006, for their alleged same-sex sexual relations. Amnesty International is concerned that the girls were expelled solely because of their sexual orientation, depriving the girls of their right to education.

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have made numerous appeals to the Cameroonian authorities, religious organizations and the media to uphold, respect and protect the human rights of all people in Cameroon, regardless of their sexual orientation.

On Thursday, Pope Benedict will be meeting with members of the Special Council for Africa of the Synod of Bishops at the Apostolic Nunciature of Yaound.

"Dozens of Cameroonian men and women have been detained solely for their actual or perceived engagement in consensual same-sex sexual relations - this is simply unacceptable. We hope that the Pope will make this clear to the government and the Church's leaders and many followers in Cameroon during his visit," said Tawanda Hondora.

Reader's Comments

1. 2009-03-24 20:33  
The Roman Catholic Church and all it's talk on fighting for justice for the LGBT community is pure doubletalk. This current ultra-conservative Pope has done more harm to the worldwide LGBT community than any Ayatollah ever has. This imbecile has blood on his hands. It is not likely Pope Benedict will ever speak out against any nation that criminalises LGBT individuals. The Roman Catholic Church + The Pope = HYPOCRISY!
2. 2009-03-25 00:05  
Now take a good look at the photo. I mean really, how can anyone take a cult seriously that still gets dressed up in such a garb? Living in a country that houses Versace, D&G, Armani and a host of others, you would think that they would drag (no pun) themselves into the 21st Century and at least TRY to look a bit with it. Although, admittedly, if you threw them in with a bunch of KKK members they'd look pretty cool. At least they don't cover their faces.
Comment #3 was deleted by its author
Comment #4 was deleted by its author
5. 2009-03-25 02:13  
I agree with euro-asian. Ayatollah Benedict has blood on his hands and deserves to be put to death himself.

This message comes to you from a Catholic.
6. 2009-03-25 02:29  
percole, ThayT, euro-asian: It's not fair for you guys to post comments like these. Have you ever tried to understand the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality from the horse's mouth, instead of reading anti-Catholic gay media?

The Church is as accepting of homosexuality as Jesus himself. If there is any confusion, I blame it on those who claim to be Christian but act in an un-Christian manner.

I am a Catholic and gay. I can vouch for a fact that the Church is NOT homophobic.
7. 2009-03-25 04:24  
I know very well that ordinary Catholics are nothing like those Talibangelists; I did say I was Catholic.

I am opposed to the official position of the Church, which is an entirely different matter.

Isn't it curious how a largely tolerant and even gay-supportive laity can always manage to throw up only ayatollahs to represent us?

Does the Ayatollah Benedict truly represent Catholics then?
Comment #8 was deleted by its author
Comment #9 was deleted by its author
10. 2009-03-25 05:36  
I sincerely believe that the TRUE Essence and Spirit of Jesus lives in those who abide by God's commandments. Unfortunately, only a scarce few do so in this world today-including the clergy.

Any good Catholic will be familiar with the Marian prophecy of the 3 secrets of Fatima; the 3rd and last one being the most controversial. It is widely believed that the true 3rd message speaks of the devil entering the Church and causing great apostasy amongst its clergy and the world.

It is very important then for anyone who listens to the Word of our Creator, be able to, under His grace, discern the Truth from false teachings and movements, even if they come from Church itself;especially the Church!

11. 2009-03-25 07:51  
i want a hat like that>
12. 2009-03-25 08:49  
Their own bible foresaw such stupidity that now eminates from the Pope in Rome...."professing themselves to be wise, they became as fools". That pretty much describes whats happening in Rome and abroad. Benedict needs to stick to church matters and keep of things like....condoms...where he makes a complete ass of himself. Can't the Bishops keep this looney toon at home so he doesn't make the Catholic Church the laughing stock of the world?
13. 2009-03-25 09:29  
Religion breeds, like a disease...welcome to the Brave New Century!!!!!!!!!

So my friend, pheramones, you are right.
NEVER give a rats' ass what Il Papa the Backstabbing Biatch says!!!!!!
14. 2009-03-25 13:40  
Connerkent, yes I most certainly do understand the position of the Roman Cathollic Church on homosexuality: " Do as I say, not as I do " (and the younger I "do", the better). That horse speaks out of both sides of its mouth and anyone that buys into it is somewhat of a horses ass, not to mention gullible as well. As far as the current Pope goes, we can have only one regret: It's unfortunate that his father didn't use a condom.
15. 2009-03-25 13:44  
you guys are right...what a great costume for next Halloween!! The popes garb is DRAG at it's ultimate worst....The "church" (ALL organized religions...not to pick only on the catholics) has wandered far, far away from the truth. Religion is and always was about CONTROL, power and the aquisition of wealth by use of: guilt, fear, false hope, lies, opression, murder, torture, exploitation, and exclusion, sprinkled with just enough "plausible truths" to make it highly effective, successful, believable and unprovable. The real Armeggonwill include the end of religion as we know it, the end of monitary wealth-based economies, the end of political borders, and the rise of a new, equality based, global social structure...hope I'm still here to witness it!! Until then, I'm GAY and PROUD!!
16. 2009-03-25 14:23  
connerkent, I was raised Catholic and do understand the Church's position on homosexuality. The Church teaches that it is not sinful in itself to be homosexual. But engaging in sexual acts with someone of the same gender is a grave sin. So connerkent, as a practising Catholic and a gay man, the Church teaches that you need to remain celibate (like most of their clergy). If you do, however engage in gay sex, you would have committed a mortal sin worthy of damnation (courtesy of the Church). If you follow the Church's position on this issue, you will at some point have to ask yourself - 'Do I accept the Church's teachings completely on gay sex and abstain from it?' OR 'Do I choose what comes naturally to me as a gay man and simply cherry pick whatever doctrine suits me best?' Which ever way you choose, something will have to give in - you'll either be less of an observant Catholic or a frustrated gay man. You can't have it both ways.
17. 2009-03-25 14:31  
serious discussion about the church and homosexuality are welcome to me ... with a sincere understanding that the stance of the Pope and the official Church are not rooted in anything personal against any individual gays but in theology and philosophical stances. I may not agree with it personally ( in fact I definitely don't) but I do respect the Church as an institution on many other stances. I am mature enough to differ with them on this one ... and leave it at that.
but some of the threads on here are just downright childish ... attacking him because of traditional vestments? ... (would anyone attack the Dalai Lama because of his red cloak? - I think not) and ridiculous exaggerations such as "he has blood on his hands?"
come on guys. when anyone is ready to begin serious discussion in a respectful tone - fair enough. I realize some of this may be tongue in cheek, but I also think some people need to seriously grow up.
Comment #18 was deleted by its author
19. 2009-03-25 17:34  
re Post #9 girlongirl... hey girl, i heard you calling so i came running :).... as homosexuals, we are obliged to think critically about the world... to understand ourselves and our nature, we have to challenge all those irrational traditions and foolish religious beliefs that tell us that we are sinners or unnatural... papa benedict and the vatican are much too busy manning the barricades against the onslaught of even crazier religious nutsos to be able to figure out the rights and wrongs of the mind-numbing beliefs that religion has tried to impose on the world... the fundie nutsos are attracting followers in the usa, south america, africa and asia so catholics feel obliged to be just as nutso to compete... we can not look to the catholic church or any other religion for understanding and tolerance... they are the enemy... what they promote is elaborate irrationality.... and what we need is simple reason and dignity.

and yes, papa benedict, enjoy your trip... I hear the mangoes in the cameroons are delicious... and while you are down there, maybe you should drop by a few other good god-fearing countries where homosexuality is also illegal.... like catholic rwanda (no need to make a fuss about all those priests who were cheerleaders during the genocide in the '90s... it might take away from the glory of the few that tried to stop it)) .... or bankrupt disease-ridden zimbabwe where fellow catholic robert mugabe has done such a splendid job of suppressing homosexuality but, oops, hasn't done very well with his country's economy and human rights record (and shhh, he might be a wee bit crazy) .... or liberia (no need to worry about getting your pretty shoes splattered with blood now that the national pastime of rape, pillage and hacking folks to death has, unlike the laws against homosexuality, been temporarily suspended)... and hey, papa benedetto, just a thought: maybe, just maybe those places that make homosexuality a crime aren't very nice places anyway... just enjoy yourself and pretend that your ringing cliches of brotherly love and peace will actually make one ounce of difference.
20. 2009-03-25 18:46  
Nothing surprising abt it.
That the Catholic Church had always been this double-faced towards homosexuals, is plainly clear to those familiar with its modus operandi.
21. 2009-03-25 18:57  
...scrap any concept of the immaterial and we reduce the human being :-)
...what's next? another new world order...another El Dorado?...
Comment #22 was deleted by its author
Comment #23 was deleted by its author
24. 2009-03-25 23:53  
rjboy66...you obviously don't have a sense of humour and can't enjoy the fun one gets from poking fun at the Pope and his ridiculous garb. I wouldn't hesitate to make fun of the Dalai Lama's robes if I thought it looked silly. You would probably find adult cartoon comedies like South Park and comedians like Bill Maher and Kathy Griffin very offensive...and childish. If being mature and 'grown up' means having an opinion like you, I'd rather be called 'childish' any day and keep my a sense of humour just the way I like it. And yes, this Pope has blood on his hands.
25. 2009-03-26 00:51  
Pheremones, well said!

26. 2009-03-26 01:38  
I do have to continue weighing in on this discussion.

I am intensely proud of one thing that the Catholic Church has taught me and that is the dignity of human life.

It mabe me think:

1. I am against the death penalty - here I am aligned with the Church's teachings, and the Church takes this position because of the high value it places on human life.

2. As a politicizd gay man, the next logical step for me was to be pro-feminist. But I cannot bring myself to be a pro-choice in abortion (except if the mother's life is in danger) because the baby is unable to express its choice over its life - again I'm aligned with the church on this issue. I know I incur the ire of many other politicized gay men and especially lesbian feminsts here.

BUT ...

3. Why no condoms to prevent AIDS when it saves lives?

AND ...

4. While this is not a life and death issue, why not gay rights when that would enhance the dignity of being a gay person and a HUMAN being?

Heck, I think I'm more Catholic than the Pope because I apply the Church's important philosophical stand on the dignity of life to as many situations as possible; it's important to me that the Church has its internal critics - that too distinguishes Catholics from many other religions.
27. 2009-03-26 09:37  
euro-asian I definitely do have a sense of humour - as one who loves Bill Maher despite disagreeing with him on many things - also a huge Monty Python fan and other absurd humour .But that wasn't the tone as I saw it at the precise moment I read it. Perhaps i misinterpreted it - I will admit if I'm wrong. But as for the "blood on his hands" remark? I'm a history scholar - and there is nothing to justify that in the life of Josef Ratzinger aka Benedict XVI ; still nonsense in my opinion. We can agree to disagree on that. I could probably enjoy a good natured debate on the subject with you - but unfortunately I am too "boring" for you. Pity - but I think I'll live ;)
28. 2009-03-26 10:48  
Very interesting that religion still provokes such controversy. Being the 21st century, isn't it time we moved beyond fairy tales such as the belief in god?
29. 2009-03-26 15:19  
Congratulations to euro-asian and pheramones for such eloquent writing. I also agree with what you say. The RC church and religions in general are so irrelevant today. They survive on generational indocrination and are so set in the past as to be quite silly when you look at them. The papal vestments are just one visible proof of this. It is right and proper to make fun of the vestments.
Comment #30 was deleted by its author
Comment #31 was deleted by its author
32. 2009-03-26 17:46  
JeffBKK is spot-on...religion & its dogmas- most of which are oxymorons anyway- will only dominate you if YOU allow them to. So never ever...make that mistake. And to andy370: hear hear!!! :p
33. 2009-03-26 19:11  
Below, perhaps not the wisest photo of him to put out in America:

Comment #34 was deleted by its author
35. 2009-03-27 02:14  
steveuk...Is that the sacrificial child (s)he is holding? It looks like the poor child had no voice in this violation of her personal space and is reluctant to reciprocate with a kiss. I don't blame the little girl for not looking in his eyes, Benedict actually looks quite scary! I'm 41 and I think he looks frightful. I can't imagine what that 4 or 5 year old must have thought she was seeing. The Devil himself perhaps? Benedict should get a good wrinkle cream, maybe some botox and some pearly white veneers. I wouldn't send me company CEO out into the world looking like that. Especially if I have a worldwide business with 1.1 billion customers.
Comment #36 was deleted by its author
Comment #37 was deleted by its author
38. 2009-03-27 11:15  
Agre with euro-asian. There's this saying that what you are will most undoubtedly reflect what is on yr face. It's not so much Benedict's wrinkles nor less-than-perfect teeth per se, it's more his EXPRESSION, that look in his eyes esp.that gives off...a type of vibe that makes one feel very uncomfortable. Anyone else think so?
I'm sure you do, Pheramones ;>
Great piece btw...allez!! allez!! allez!! ;))
Comment #39 was deleted by its author
40. 2009-03-31 00:11  
Send Condoms to the Pope! Facebook group

Pope Benedict the 16th, on a flight which was taking him to Cameroon, Africa, declared that the "flea of HIV cannot be fought by distributing condoms" and that "their use makes the flea even worse". Such a shocking statement when it is of public knowledge that without the use of condoms the number of people contaminated would now be almost double.

Spain has already reacted by sending a million condoms to Africa.

It is our citizen of the world's duty to react as well. So... Let's all send condoms to the Pope.

This is very easy to achieve, place a condom or a picture of one in a stamped envelope and send it to:

Joseph Ratzinger
Prefettura della Casa Pontificia
00120 Citt del Vaticano

The consequences on the Vatican's postal system of a massive sending will be a clear message of our disapprobation with the Pope's ideas and his appliance of a completely outdated Christian Theology. This group has not been created to protest against the Catholic Church but against its spiritual leader whom is considered by many as a threat to modern civilization. How not to be considered such a threat when you place the condom second on the list of the gravest acts/things in modern societies after homicide, in 3rd place was the rape act! What a sense of priorities! Bare in mind that Joseph Ratzinger was a member of the Nazi Youths.

Ensure a full success to this movement by inviting your friends to join the group and by publishing it on your profile.

41. 2009-04-11 01:37  
Percole ... very well said. balanced and thoughtful without the venom masquerading as "open mindedness" Kudos!

Please log in to use this feature.

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook


 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia