Philippines: Archbishop agrees with Pope Francis about judging others, but says that gay people must ‘behave’

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Archbishop-emeritus Oscar Cruz has said he agrees with Pope Francis that gay people should not be judged, but also urged they should avoid actions that would make them “laughing stocks”.

Archbishop Cruz, who is also the former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said on Tuesday: “Just like women and men, the third sex should also not lower their dignities.

“When they dress up as females, wear high heels and other such acts, they are lowering their dignities as they make themselves laughing stocks. I think that is not fair to them because they are being laughed at.”

His comments came as a response to Pope Francis who said on Monday that gay people should not be judged or be marginalised.

The Archbishop-emeritus said he agreed with the Pope that gay people deserve respect from others. He also clarified that being gay does not mean that they are sinning more than anyone else.

A CBCP official said: “As far as the Church is concerned, everybody deserves respect. Let us not mock. Let us not malign.

“If a man has an inclination with another man, he is still a man. If a woman has an inclination with another woman, she is still a woman.

“We also have to respect them because they are also children of God. They are humans too. Don’t tell me that homosexuals commit graver sins than ordinary men and women. No. That is not true,” he commented.

At the same time, Archbishop Cruz stated that the Catholic Church could never agree to legalise the same-sex marriage.

He said: “Marriage is just for men and women. Same sex marriage is another thing. You can call it marriage a hundred times but it will never be a marriage”.

The Philippines’s population is largely Roman Catholic with a large Muslim minority, it is one of the more liberal countries in Asia regarding same-sex acts, and allows gay people to serve in the military.

In 2011, the Philippines Health Secretary was criticised after saying at an AIDS conference that parents “should rein in their homosexual children and get them tested”.

Last month, the Archbishop of New York said that Pope Francis still remains opposed to same-sex relationships.

He said: “Homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual acts are. Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside a marriage, lifelong, life-giving marriage between a man and a woman, that would be sinful.”