A Maltese priest became a lightning rod for criticism Tuesday (October 27) after claiming same-sex attraction is “harmful to society at large”.
Writing for the Times of Malta in a piece titled “Homosexuality and the Church”, Patrick Pullicino agued that being gay is “contrary to natural law” among many other ghoulish comments.
Pullicino, a trained surgeon based in Britain, lit into Pope Francis’s recent endorsement of same-sex civil unions.
The remarks from the leader of the Roman Catholic church were a seismic shift for the institution, unsettling more homophobic Catholic leaders in the process.
Pullicino’s article was quickly dubbed “dangerous” and considered by policy advisers as “hate speech”.
Father Patrick Pullicino: LGBT+ people treat children as ‘possessions’.
In his attack against progressive Catholic teachings, Pullicino listed various homophobic figures – including US evangelical Franklin Graham and Trump ally Tony Perkins – who have criticised the Pope’s stance.
“Same-sex attraction may be experienced by individuals as an involuntary feeling,” the priest wrote, “especially during puberty.
“Cardinal Burke says that Catholic tradition has always held, however, that it is homosexual acts that are wrong. They are contrary to natural law; they cannot produce new life and they do not represent true affective or sexual complementarity.
“Homosexual acts are not only harmful to the individuals who engage in them but also to society at large.
“Those who actually identify as homosexual often argue that it is important gay people are treated equally.
“Conservatives, however, believe that people who identify as homosexual should and do enjoy all the same rights as any other citizens.”
Pullicino continued by with the played-out claim marriage equality “undermines marriage” and halts the “cycle of life”, saying that LGBT+ people treat children as “possessions”.
LGBT+ campaigners and Maltese officials denounce priest’s homophobic piece.
The piece drew intense criticism from various LGBT+ activists as well as lawmakers and public officials in Malta.
Désirée Attard, a policy-advisor or Malta’s Equality Bill, told Lovin Malta that Pullicino’s words “should be considered as hate speech, over and above hate speech”.
” I do believe it could have serious implications and repercussions on the LGBT+ community,” Attard said.
“It’s one thing to say what the church says, it’s another to call another community unnatural.”
Drag queen Chucky Bartolo described the “wrong” and “dangerous” piece as the “twisted ravings of an old man losing power by the day” in a Facebook post.
“Queer lives have existed long before your church and will continue long after it’s gone. To any queer youth (or adults) reading this and feeling scared or hurt: it’s not true.
“You’re a beautiful individual who is worthy of love.”
MEP frontrunner Cyrus Engerer said on Facebook that it is not being gay, but the views of people like Pullicino “that do great harm to society and instil hatred”.
LGBT+ NGO Allied Rainbow Community called for businesses to boycott advertising in the newspaper, adding in a Facebook post: “We will not be making business with companies supporting papers that allow messages of hate against the LGBTIQ community.”