The Human Rights Campaign pointed to years of statements by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the newly elected pope, in expressing concern about the Catholic Church's future treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
'We hope that Pope Benedict XVI will follow the biblical tradition of expressing love and compassion for all,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese. 'In the past, he has made deeply disturbing comments regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people so his selection as the 265th pope is distressing. It's imperative that there be a positive conversation with the Catholic Church about GLBT people of faith and we welcome that discourse.'
'The selection of a new pope is a time of hope and anticipation,' said John Mattras, member of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan and President of the Scriptorium. 'While we welcome the opportunity for open dialogue with the new pope and church leaders, we're deeply concerned by a pattern of homophobic and uninformed statements and opinions relayed by Pope Benedict XVI that fall wholly outside modern western norms.'
In 1986 as Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger delivered a Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. He said, 'Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.'
The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Web site, directed by Cardinal Ratzinger, includes the following statement: 'Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.'