Bishop Calls Being Gay a “Gift from God,” Seeks to Save LGBT Lives

Homosexuality is a “gift from God” according to one bishop in Brazil, who said his intentions in preaching on the topic were about saving the lives of LGBT people who may be at risk.


Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos

Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos of Caicó made the positive remarks in a July homily, telling Mass-goers:

“‘If [being gay] is not a choice, if it is not a disease, in the perspective of faith it can only be a gift. . .The gospel par excellence is the gospel of inclusion. . .The gospel is a narrow door, yes, it is a demanding love, but it is a door that is always open.'”

Cruz added that perhaps “our prejudices do not get the gift of God” in LGBT people. Prejudice, he said, puts “concept before experience” and creates a negative impact.

As a black bishop, he related the situation with homosexuality today to a time when black people were enslaved due to white people’s prejudices, adding:

“‘Just as we were able to leap, in the wisdom of the Gospel, and overcome slavery, is it not the time for us to leap, from a perspective of faith, and overcome prejudices against our brothers who experience same-sex attraction?'”

Cruz also preached that people discover their sexual orientation rather than choose it. People of all sexual orientations have a choice about how to express that sexuality either “in a dignified, ethical way, or in a promiscuous one,” he added.

Crux reported that Cruz was prompted to make these statements after hearing a radio segment on the high rates of suicide in transgender communities. Moved by their suffering, Cruz considered the many LGBT people “who feel misunderstood and unloved by us, who are Church, by their families, by their society and even by themselves.”

Facing criticism, Cruz clarified his intentions in a statement the following week, saying his concerns were pastoral and not doctrinal. He wanted to “save lives, contributing so that we can overcome the prejudices that kill and enter into the dynamic of God’s mercy that respects, rescues and saves people.” Cruz’ statement continued:

“As Pope Francis told us many times, people already know by heart the doctrine of the Church about abortion, divorce and homosexual acts. . .He asks us not to be obsessed with sin, increasing the wounds of these people, and insists that the doors of the church are open to welcome, instruct, discern, love in order to bring salvation to all without exception.”

It is an often repeated but never tired truth that having one’s heart really broken open is key for committing oneself to solidarity with people forced to the margins. From the radio story, through his own reflections, and using contemporary knowledge about sexuality, Cruz was enabled to offer words of compassion and hope. His homily and statement were wonderful first steps, and I hope he will keep that commitment growing by not only preaching but acting to save lives and affirm people’s dignity wherever LGBT communities are under attack.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 10, 2017

13 replies
  1. Francis
    Francis says:

    One of the best article’s I’ve read.
    I hope every bishop in the world reads this article and be aware of the good relationship that can be achieved with the lgbt community.

  2. Sharon Brady
    Sharon Brady says:

    Bishop Cruz’s words are beautiful, wise, loving, and logical. They should be required reading for the entire hierarch. Thank you, Bob, for this much needed message.

  3. John R. Hoffman
    John R. Hoffman says:

    This is wonderful to hear. I always believed I chose it or agreed to it before being reincarnated to help perfect my soul.

    John in Boulder

  4. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    It is indeed a wonderful and meaningful testimony. But my stomach clenched when he said his words were not doctrinal but Pastoral. I understand BUT it seems to me that is analogous to saying blacks are gifts from God but the popular science (sic) at the time said the brains were less developed than whites or whatever such excuse used to rationalize ongoing contempt. But, I don’t want to be negative. The bishop’s comments are welcome and healing.

    • Felix Xavier
      Felix Xavier says:

      It’s like saying, the “intrinsic disorder/objective disorder/intrinsic evil” is a gift from God. But I think the bishop had to be cautious, considering what happened to Fr. Robert Francisco Daniel and Fr. Fábio de Melo in Brazil. I do applaud the bishop for pointing out that the gift could be homosexuality itself. Too often being gay was mistakenly considered the same as possessing the gift of celibacy.

    • Craig
      Craig says:

      Clergy is obligated under oath to obey the Holy See. He would be less of a man were he to break his oath – no matter how much he may disagree with people within the Church.

  5. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    It appears that this bishop knows a bit about what he is talking about. However, it will be a good day when bishops can question and challenge the doctrine about same gender sexual behavior, without risking suspension, removal or excommunication.

  6. Richard R.
    Richard R. says:

    Quite a refreshing, positive statement from a Brazilian bishop as opposed to most of the
    negative, doctrinaire statements of American bishops.

  7. Lee Anne
    Lee Anne says:

    He may think we are a gift from God but his boss, the Pope, does not. He recently said this about being trans, “This is against nature,” I do hope the Bishops words help as Brazil is one of the deadliest places on earth to be openly trans.


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