I have only just come to know of this: On 10 December 2009, at a panel discussion about the treatment of homosexuals by governments around the world, Philip J Bene, the Vatican’s legal attaché to the United Nations issued a statement putting the Holy See on record as opposed to “violations of human rights against homosexual persons.” The discussion was held as part of the observance of Human Rights Day, which commemorates the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Here is the full text of the statement, which I found on the website of the California Catholic Daily. Link.
Of course, it is still open to interpretation. What did he mean by saying “unjust discrimination”, as opposed to “discrimination”? What did he mean when, after saying “discriminatory penal legislation” he added the qualifier “which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person”.
Or are we nitpicking? Is the drift of the letter not significant by itself? It would seem to me to be quite clear – that the Vatican opposes laws like our Section 377A. Clearly criminalising something like our personal lives undermines our inherent dignity and worth. How else can one put it?
Interestingly, I had heard at the beginning of November that something like this was afoot. Someone with a clerical background had told me that the Vatican was beginning to shift its position on homosexuality and was drafting something. I just didn’t expect to see it so soon.