Philippines Abp. Says It’s Okay for a Gay Man to Marry a Lesbian Woman. Huh?

Archbishop Oscar Cruz

Archbishop Oscar Cruz

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine what a bishop was thinking when he makes a statement that is so incorrect and irrelevant.  A case in point is the news from the Philippines that retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz recently said that it would be permissible for a gay man and lesbian woman to marry because procreative possibility would be present.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer quotes the archbishop’s statement, made during a meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal:

“May a lesbian marry a gay man? My answer is ‘yes’ because in that instance the capacity to consummate the union is there. The anatomy is there. The possibility of conception is there.”

Archbishop Cruz, who has served as an auxiliary bishop in Manila, the nation’s capital, and as head of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, was also a Judicial Vicar for the nation’s bishops’ conference.  Despite his education and experience, his remarks reveal an amazing lack of knowledge about the dynamics involved in intimate sexual relationships.  A Filipina LGBT activist was quick to respond with statements that reflected not only a more humane approach, but one that is also more in line with what the Catholic church really teaches about sexual relationships.  Gay Star News reported:

Angie Umbac

Angie Umbac

“Filipina LGBT rights activist Angie Umbac told Gay Star News she is ‘speechless’ at the comments of the Archbishop. . .

“Umbac, who campaigns for Filipino LGBT rights organization Rainbow Rights, said that people should marry ‘not because their parts “fit”‘ but ‘for the right reasons’.

‘I’d like to believe that human beings are more than the sum of their parts,’ said Umbac. ‘How about the brain? The heart? The soul? At what point do love, free will, and self-respect come in? They are important components of marriage that the Archbishop’s careless statement choose to ignore.’

The archbishop’s comments didn’t stop there, though.  He went on to acknowledge that homosexuality is a permissible reason to receive a marriage annulment from the church.  While this is true, this statement also highlighted the illogic of his statement about a gay man marrying a lesbian woman. writer Mary Elizabeth Williams was quick to point out this problem:

“But if the Catholic Church can sanction marriage between lesbians and gay men, Cruz also acknowledges it can also retroactively declare that it was never even legitimate in the first place. In the same speech, the Archbishop admitted that homosexuality was valid grounds for annulment, though he added it is rarely invoked.”

The Philippines is currently considering a proposal to legalize marriage for lesbian and gay couples, and the Catholic hierarchy is, predictably, opposed to it.   Despite the hiearchy’s opposition to LGBT equality, a recent Pew poll showed that the Philippines population, overwhelmingly Catholic, is very accepting of LGBT people.

An incident such as this is a reminder that our church leaders are in deep need of education about sexuality and human dynamics.  One can try to think of reasons why Archbishop Cruz made such a wrongheaded statement:  Did he let personal homophobia get the best of him?  Was he caught up in some sort of political fervor to try to block the nation’s marriage proposal?  Is he so totally removed from the lives of real people that he is unaware of the many elements that are involved in relationship-building?

Whatever the reasons, the best thing he can do now is to apologize and promise to educate himself better not only about LGBT people, but about basic Catholic teaching about sexuality and relationships.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry



4 replies
  1. Friends
    Friends says:

    I swear, the headline for this article looks like something out of The Onion or the National Lampoon! Perhaps the real place to begin , if we want to tackle such an “appalling ignorance” problem, is to start ordaining married men (and women?) to the Roman Catholic priesthood.The current crop of clergy — but most especially the bishops and Cardinals — are living in their own very private La-La Land! The spectacle is alternately hilarious and infuriating, but I can’t imagine that it’s anything like what Lord Jesus Himself intended, when he chose twelve very down-to-earth fishermen and carpenters as the progenitors of His Church.

  2. duckman44625
    duckman44625 says:

    Bishop Cruz’s comments approving marriage between a gay man and woman point out the GLARING lack of understanding of our Church leadership when it comes to human sexuality. However, can we expect otherwise from an institution which treated clerical pedophilia with indifference towards our children’s fates ? Did they really believe that moving these clergy would somehow erase their sociopathic urges ? Where was the Church in invoking the limits of NATURAL LAW when it came to pedophilia ? Oh, I forget – pardon me – they were priests – “holy” men, not mere mortal, disposable laity like us. Bishop Cruz needs to keep his mouth shut, sparing the Church further embarrassment.

  3. Richard Novak
    Richard Novak says:

    These appalling comments and contorted reasoning by Archbishop Cruz aids and abets the growing lack of credibility for the Catholic hierarchy’s teachings on sexuality and relationships. It seems like the articulators of these teachings – and likely the teachings themselves – continue to be formed within an outdated and overly “physical-biological” framework for interpreting Natural Law that reduces sexuality and relationships into exclusively pelvic issues and processes. Human persons – and their relationships – involve much
    MORE than mere interactions between body parts toward narrowly defined ends – in isolation from the larger contexts of their lives. I believe that Cruz is “correct” – within his frame of reference – and he expresses SOME of the truths about these matters. However, his analysis and directives ignore other significant truths necessary in moral decision-making on these issues.


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  1. […] Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Philippines approves the idea of gay men and lesbian women marrying each other because “The anatomy is there. The possibility of conception is there.”  1% […]

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