Raul Vera Lopez, the Catholic bishop of Saltillo, Mexico, has
described homophobia as a form of “mental illness.”
Vera was asked by Mexican television network Terra his thoughts on
Pope Francis' recent statement on gay priests. “Who am I to
judge?” Francis told reporters on his return flight to the Vatican
Francis says he won't judge gay priests.)
Gays “are human beings and deserve respect,” Vera answered.
“And the Holy Father knows … I am certain he knows because the
reality is many in the church do not want to acknowledge the
scientific reality on the issue of sexuality.”
“They want to keep homosexuality as a form of human perversion,
an illness. But that no longer is the case, scientifically speaking.
They are a very small part of the population and we already have an
explanation. [The answer lies] in that which constitutes a person
whose anatomy does not correspond with their hormones. And if that's
the case, who is to blame when a person has to go through that?”
“What does the book say? Why would I immediately think a gay or
lesbian person is perverse or depraved the moment they approach me?
That's how people who are homophobic react. It's a mental illness in
which you see gays as depraved and promiscuous. You have to be sick
in the head for that.” (The video, with English subtitles, is
embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
In 2011, Vera's outreach to the gay community made headlines when
he was summoned to the Vatican to answer questions about his
outreach to the local gay community. He said at the time that
officials had not reprimanded him and vowed to continue his work.
“I will not abandon these children,” he said, referring to
children with gay parents. “We cannot abandon people who depend on
return from Vatican, Mexican Bishop vows to continue gay outreach.)