Dominican Cardinal Attacks U.S. Gay Diplomat, Saying He is "Wife to a Man"


Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez

A church leader with a history of homophobic remarks has again lashed out against the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who is gay.

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, speaking to journalists after Mass earlier this week, lashed out against Ambassador James Brewster. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the cardinal said:

” ‘That man needs to go back to his embassy. . .Let him focus on housework, since he’s the wife to a man.’ “

López attacked Brewster ostensibly because the ambassador criticized corruption in the Caribbean nation after U.S. businesspeople were threatened by uniformed police.

This is not the first time the cardinal has attacked Brewster over his sexual orientation, previously using an anti-gay slur upon the ambassador’s appointment and suggesting last year Brewster should “take his gay pride elsewhere.” More generally, the Washington Blade reported that López has described LGBT tourists as “social trash” and “degenerates.”

Bishop Victor Masalles, auxiliary of Santo Domingo, though agreeing corruption is problematic, added his own homophobic remark against Brewster. Dominican Today quoted Masalles as saying:

” ‘[Brewster] is right in regard to corruption, he doesn’t seem interested in solving that problem, and rather use it as a bridge to get his well-known LGBT agenda.’ “

Ambassador James Brewster

Ambassador James Brewster

Ambassador Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake, responded to the attacks during a Thursday interview with a local television outlet. Brewster described them as “noise,” according to Dominican Today, and said further:

” ‘When you marginalize any group and minimize its values, without being able to express all that it has achieved is to perpetuate discrimination. That’s something which I´ll speak strongly against.’ “

Satawake identified an upside to the bishops’ homophobia in a June profile by The Advocate, saying critics “did us a favor. . .They put this conversation on the front page of the newspapers.” He added that many Dominicans were appalled by the bishops’ homophobia and had welcomed the couple warmly.

LGBT advocates in the Dominican Republic took aim at Catholic leaders for their homophobic remarks. Rosanna Marzan of Diversided Dominicana, told the Washington Blade:

” ‘The ecclesiastical representation of the Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic continues to perpetuate homophobia in the country, and violence against women by relegating them to housework. . .This man [López] should stop meddling in the private affairs of people, with his continuous speech that perpetuates discrimination against people of a different sexuality.’ “

Deivis Ventura of Amigos Siempre Amigos said the cardinal’s words “show his lack of understanding of his role as a pastor in the Catholic church.”

López’s repeated and quite vicious attacks on Ambassador Brewster’s sexual identity and marriage reveal not only homophobia and sexism, but an attitude against a particular person that is wholly inconsistent with his position. The cardinal’s views seem to be shared by other church officials in the Dominican Republic, too.

An apology is a necessary first step.  Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy begins formally in just a few days. Dominican church officials should use the jubilee year to discern not only how they will make amends to those LGBT harmed by their remarks, but how they will pastorally accompany LGBT communities in their nation in ways displaying the “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” called for in church teaching.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

28 replies
  1. Gary Cox
    Gary Cox says:

    If this Cardinal can’t be fired the the church needs to be. There are other churches and just as likely to get you to heaven. Who needs this abuse? Are we all masochists?

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen says:

      Dear Gary, Isnt it just so hard to let go? We keep hoping and praying for a clear message of love and acceptance from the Church, but it hasnt happened. Not yet at least. Instead, these rogue hardline bishops are allowed to rule the church with superiority, comfortable in their stations, glistening gowns, jewelry, and caps. This Cardinal Rodriguez is not only responsible for his own nasty thoughts/words against Ambassador Brewster, he is also responsible for reinforcing discrimination and violence against lgbt people. He deserves to be fired from hisCardinal job and assigned to menial work so he can learn humility and respect for homemakers too! Keep in touch, peace, Kathleen

  2. Paula Mattras
    Paula Mattras says:

    Sadly, so un-Christian. And we wonder why there is an exodus from our beloved Church. We need an educated clergy as well as the general population who desire to know the truth about our good and contributing LGBT brothers and sisters. Why isn’t the subject studied and taught rather than just opinions on it based on “feelings” rather than “knowledge?” Ignorance is not bliss……….it is hurtful beyond belief to those affected by misrepresentation.

  3. Friends
    Friends says:

    This incredibly insulting and abusive behavior by a senior Church official seems to be ample cause for a direct outreach to Pope Francis himself. Francis needs to “woodshed” this rogue Cardinal — just as he did in the case of the notoriously homophobic Cardinal Burke, who was removed from most of his senior assignments because of his hateful and completely anti-pastoral attitudes. Does any official channel exist for bringing this crude and insulting behavior to Francis’ personal attention?

  4. Tom
    Tom says:

    What is this cardinal so nervous about? Most of the time, people who shout shrilly about these things are drawing attention away from themselves. He has forgotten the basic precepts of being Christian.

  5. amagjuka
    amagjuka says:

    Pope Francis must speak out forcefully for the dignity of LGBT people. He cannot allow the name-calling, insulting, isolating, and aggressive discrimination being perpetuated by some of his bishops and archbishops. If he does not act, many Catholics will disavow the church. Right now, the “rules on the books” leads to the marginalization and harm to a group of people who are being bullied by the church who should be showing love, acceptance and compassion. This is wrong, plain and simple. It is past time for decisive action by the Pope.

    • rachelfs
      rachelfs says:

      Sometimes I think our Catholic appreciation for the beauty of Latin dulls us to the meaning of certain words, as, for instance, homophobia. A phobia is a significant thought/emotional disturbance. This fellow is not the only homophobic in high office. Why are they not diagnosed and treated? Holding high office not only leaves the flock in the lurch, it dulls the perception of a significant psychological illness. So much for the work of mercy: care for the sick.

      • Will
        Will says:

        I agree with your sentiments entirely! This Cardinal’s comments go way beyond any doctrinal concerns about homosexuality and certainly do not fit with the catechism: “They [homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” While I have reservations about the weasel word ‘unjust’ in this – I hardly think that the Cardinal’s insult can be be declared ‘just’.

        However the pedant in me cannot resist pointing out that homophobia is a word derived from Greek! It’s a strange modern word coined as a response to the slightly less modern word homosexual – which is a hybrid word of Greek and Latin. The homo- means ‘same’ in greek (not, as commonly misunderstood, ‘man’ in Latin!); -sexual is derived from Latin and -phobia derives from Greek!

  6. Thomas Bower
    Thomas Bower says:

    If the Pope is sincere about this being a Year of Mercy, he is off to a bad start leaving LGBT people in Africa without any support and allowing the hierarchy all over the world to continue to stand by the hateful tone and details of the Ratzinger letter of 1986. Sadly I see no sign of the grace of Christ coming rom the chair of Peter.

    • saddingo
      saddingo says:

      Thomas Bower – I was heartbroken when he left Africa without saying a word in defense of LGBT people. I recently read a story about a gay woman living in London (at least for the time being) from Nigeria. Her significant other was murdered as were some of her family members. She had to run for her life. She has, literally, no safe haven and it looks like the UK is going to send her back to Africa to be killed. Right now the UK is saying that many, if not all, the LGBT refugee’s that have come to them seeking help are going to be forced to go back to where ever they came from due to hardline anti-gay viewpoints from the Torys. This means certain death for the majority of them but the Pope couldn’t say something? He didn’t have to say, “Hey, gay’s the way to be!” He could just say, “Whatever we feel about same sex marriage we do not EVER perpetrate violence on another person. We treat other’s with love and kindness.. GOT THAT?” But … nothing. When I think of our brothers and sisters over there – living with that level of hate and violence… I just break down and cry. It’s just so very wrong. 🙁

  7. Larry
    Larry says:

    I wonder if the Cardinal lashes out at the gay Ambassador because the Ambassador is challenging the civil corruption that he sees in the country. This suggests that the Cardinal is tied to those who are civilly corrupt and they are using him to attack anyone who shines a light on that issue. If this is so, the Cardinal is as corrupt as they are.

    • Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
      Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Although his pronouncements are vile and his position is a mockery, he has successfully moved public perception from the civil corruption to the LGBTQI community. He has achieved a double goal of oppressive policies. So sad.

  8. Eva Velasquez
    Eva Velasquez says:

    There is very old saying I learned early in my psychotherapy training, that when someone protests too much its projection. To have this man who represents the church speak with such hate it makes wonder why. Such hateful sarcasm . I hope his flock have more Christlike acceptance than this crazy old guy.

  9. mjleahyphd
    mjleahyphd says:

    That cardinal is 79 years old, well past retirement. Francis should accept his resignation.

    He will be 80 in Oct of next year and thus will no longer vote for a future pope.

  10. Barb Puscas
    Barb Puscas says:

    The cardinal would do well to study the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy! Perhaps this “Year of Mercy” will speak to him. In the meantime let us not forget our LGBT brothers and sisters and embrace them with our love today and every day!

  11. Mark
    Mark says:

    This Cardinal has been trying to deviate the attention w all his attaks and accusations but people havent forgotten about the pedophiles, especially the one that had to be put away because he could not cover up thar priest actions any further. It simply amazes me how this cardinal underestimates peoples knowledge of what is really happening in the Catholic chuch in the Dominican Republic. ..


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] “take his gay pride elsewhere.”  Last December the cardinal said that Brewster was “wife to a man” and should stick to housework. The Washington Blade reported that López once described LGBT […]

  2. […] como legítimo o casamento homoafetivo. Ele ainda está por censurar subordinados seus como o cardeal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez, que chamou o embaixador norte-americano na República Dominicana de bicha, ou outros sob seu […]

  3. […] attacked gay U.S. Ambassador James “Wally” Brewster and his husband, and used anti-gay slurs in the […]

  4. […] comments by Cardinal López, the leading prelate in the DR. He said previously that Brewster was “wife to a man” and should stick to housework. In 2013, López used an anti-gay slur, and he said Brewster […]

  5. […] de Jesus López Rodriguez, the leading prelate in the DR, has previously said Brewster was “wife to a man” and should stick to housework. In 2013, López used an anti-gay slur to refer to the […]

  6. […] Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodriguez. The cardinal most recently said Brewster was “wife to a man” and should stick to housework. López used an anti-gay slur to refer to the ambassador in […]

  7. […] A U.S. senator has asked Pope Francis to reprimand an anti-gay cardinal who has repeatedly attacked a gay ambassador. […]

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