Riazat Butt religious affairs correspondent
Thursday July 31 2008
Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour that must be condemned, a Vatican official said yesterday.
Walter Cardinal Kasper made the remarks during an address at the Lambeth conference, the once-a-decade gathering of the world's Anglican bishops in Canterbury.
Kasper, who is president of the pontifical council for promoting christian unity, reminded delegates of the catechism of the Roman Catholic church on homosexuality: "This teaching is founded in the Old and New Testament and the fidelity to scripture and to Apostolic tradition is absolute."
Quoting from a key document on Anglican and Catholic relations he said: "Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour. The activity must be condemned; the traditional approach to homosexuality is comprehensive ... A clear declaration about this theme must come from the Anglican Communion."
Such a statement would "greatly strengthen the possibility" of the two churches giving common witness regarding human sexuality, something that was "sorely needed in the world of today".
Kasper was saddened that dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church had been seriously compromised over the issues of women's ordination and homosexuality. These developments had also caused the Communion to enter into a period of dispute, he observed.
"Many of you are troubled, deeply so, by the threat of fragmentation. In such a scenario, who will our dialogue partner be? How can we appropriately and honestly engage in conversations with those who share Catholic perspectives on the points currently in dispute, and who disagree with some developments within the Anglican Communion or particular provinces?"
The decision to allow the ordination of women in 28 Anglican provinces implied a turning away from the common position of all churches of the first millennium, he said.
The Catholic perspective on the Anglican Communion was that it was moving a "considerable distance closer" to Protestant churches of the 16th century.
Kasper's comments are one in a series of Catholic carefully worded expressions of dismay to have been aired at the conference.
Yesterday's address was well attended, with more than 150 bishops squeezing into a room designed to hold 50 people.