27 November 2015
As Pope Francis started his Apostolic tour to Uganda, Kenya, and Central African Republic, LGBT activists across Africa are calling for the Pontiff to preach peace and tolerance towards LGBT Africans.
African LGBTI activists hope the Pontiff will not only condemn violent attacks against LGBTI people but call for increased tolerance. Catholic leaders are mixed in their response to the calls for an end to intolerance, with many suggesting the Pope will avoid discussion of LGBTI issues entirely.
“I doubt that Pope Francis will talk about homosexuals,” Archbishop John Baptist Odama, who heads the local conference of Catholic bishops, told the Associated Press. “There is a clear teaching of the church on homosexuality. Because the aim of it is not to promote life but to act against it, those with that tendency are called to abstinence.”
Frank Mugisha, who directs Sexual Minorities Uganda, said he realises Pope Francis may be reluctant to speak out but doing so could do a lot of good for the local LGBTI community.
Kenyan advocate David Kuria, who was raised Catholic, echoed his sentiments:
Kuria is particularly concerned for Catholic parents of LGBT children who often face pressures in their local churches and communities. These social mores cause faithful parents to “doubt themselves as parents or as Christians,” he said.
Being openly gay in countries such as Uganda can be very dangerous. LGBTI people can not only face jail sentences but can become victims of mob justice, with beatings, murder and corrective rape commonplace.