Mumbai News: Vatican's Latest Document On Abortion And LGBTQ+ Issues Sparks Mixed Reactions In Catholic Community

Mumbai News: Vatican's Latest Document On Abortion And LGBTQ+ Issues Sparks Mixed Reactions In Catholic Community

The Vatican declaration, called 'Dignitas Infinitas', or infinite dignity, was released on April 8 and gives the church's viewpoint on different issues

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 11:40 PM IST
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Pope Francis | X

A document released earlier this week by the Vatican, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, reiterating its conservative views on abortion, surrogacy, sex-transition surgery, and gender theory, has elicited both approval and surprise in Mumbai. 

While the document has received support, many Catholics who want the church to reform its stand on these issues, have said that they were surprised, especially because Pope Francis, the head of the 1.2 billion-strong church, has been lauded for his outreach to sexual minorities. One group, the Rainbow Catholics India, which represents LGBTQ church-goers, said that the conservative views were taking them away from the church.

The Dignitas Infinitas

The Vatican declaration, called 'Dignitas Infinitas', or infinite dignity, was released on April 8 and gives the church's viewpoint on different issues, including poverty, human trafficking, violence against migrants and women, child surrogacy, digital violence, gender theory, and sex change, all of which are listed as violations of human dignity. The document rejects euthanasia, saying that 'suffering does not cause the sick to lose their dignity '. The church also disapproves of what it calls 'disproportionate and aggressive medical treatment.

The document said that discrimination of homosexuals should be avoided, but added that sex change surgeries are a threat to personal dignity. Church groups said they were surprised at the statement, especially because Pope Francis has been sympathetic to the cause of gay people.

People Blame Vatican's Outdated Views on LGBTQ+ Rights and Human Dignity

Virginia Saldanha, co-founder of Rainbow Catholics India, said, "It is sad that the church in the 21st century chooses to stick to an anthropology that is absolutely outdated. I ask if Jesus were with us today would he reject Queer people and tell them that they do not fit in?  Jesus broke so many barriers in his time to free sinners, women and so called outcasts and integrate them into society.""It is truly sad that the institutional Church does not demonstrate the understanding and compassion of Jesus.," Saldanha added.

Daniella Mendonca, a trans person and a member of Rainbow Catholics, said that the church, with its entrenched views, was taking LGBTQ members away from its embrace. "The Vatican has, once again, tried to talk about human dignity, and in the process taken the transgender peoples' human dignity and gender-fluid persons' human dignity by their hands. They have forgotten once again that LGBTQ are people of faith and have the right to choose what they want and what they do not want to be," said Mendonca.

Diverse Voices Emerge In Response To Vatican's Stance On LGBTQ+ Issues And Human Dignity

"By telling them what to do and what not to do they are not bringing LGBTQ persons and the church together. We are losing faith in the church and it's people, and it's saints.'The Roman Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Bombay, which has around five lakh members, did not give an official comment on the document, but Father Anthony Charanghat, editor of 'The Examiner', the church's weekly newspaper, said that gender-change surgery was a complicated process that violated human dignity.

"Artificial change from male to female is not allowed," said Charanghat who added that surrogacy and gender-change surgeries were attempts to play God.Dolphy Dsouza, president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, which represents lay Catholics, said, "Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez , the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith calls it a document fundamental for remembering that everyone has their inalienable dignity. As I look at the document,, it has the  impactful message namely "God loves everyone with infinite love".

Vatican's 'Dignitas Infinitas' Declaration Triggers Debates on Human Dignity and Traditional Values

This document also includes other assaults on poverty, tragedy of migrants, human trafficking, violence against women,  death penalty,  to name a few indignities on humans. Interestingly it will also open up discussions about what ' Human Dignity ' means since the Catholic Church firmly re-affirms  'Human Dignity' ."Another group,  the Association of Concerned Christians, said they werevery happy with the document. "It is exactly as per the Catholic scripture written 2000 years ago.

Today's  generation and world should accept this  happily, for betterment  of future generations," said Melwyn Fernandes,  Secretary of the group.

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