The Catholic Diocese of El Paso has reassigned Rev. Michael Rodriguez of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church after he made a series of controversial anti-gay remarks and challenged city officials to a debate over their decision to extend health care benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian city employees. Rodriguez has publicly condemned homosexuality since 2010, writing numerous newspaper columns and speaking out at city council meetings, describing the gay “lifestyle” as “gravely harmful to the common good our city.” In one article titled “Every Catholic Must Oppose Certain Things,” Rodriguez accused “any Catholic who supports homosexuality” of “by definition, committing a mortal sin”:
Furthermore, a Catholic would be guilty of a most grievous sin of omission if he/she neglected to actively oppose the homosexual agenda, which thrives on deception and conceals its wicked horns under the guises of “equal rights,” “tolerance,” “who am I to judge?,” etc. […]
Abortion and homosexual acts are unequivocally intrinsic moral evils. And friends, this objective truth doesn’t depend on the opinion of the majority. Frighteningly, if the majority chooses to deny the objective moral order, then we will all suffer the pestiferous consequences.
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The Catholic Diocese condemned Rodriguez’ “intervention in the political process,” saying that it “is not permitted under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.”
Rodriguez is not the only Catholic leader to be disciplined for spouting anti-gay rhetoric. Father Donat Gionet, a Catholic priest in Canada was recently relieved of his duties after the diocese ruled that his strong anti-gay comments were “dividing a community.” Gionet claims the Church should be fighting homosexuality to “destroy it, or do our best to invite people to change their life.” “I have to teach the truth to the people. I have to tell them how they should live to be with the church because if you’re gay you’re not with the church,” he says.