Catholic cardinal accused of being homophobic in Spain

Former prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and current archbishop of Valencia, Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, is being charged of hate crime after an alleged homophobic speech delivered in his sermon May 13 at the Catholic University.

Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera after an audience in the Vatican City State | Wikimedia Commons

"We have legislation contrary to the family, the acts of political and social forces, to which are added movements and acts by the gay empire, by ideologies such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender ideology," Cañizares said in his homily, as reported by LifeSiteNews.

The Feminist Platform of Alicante submitted an official request on Friday, June 3 to the Spanish government to prosecute the cardinal for "inciting discrimination and hatred" in his May 13 sermon.

"We ask the administration and the prosecutor's office not to leave those comments unpunished," said the feminist group's Coordinator Yolanda Diaz.

The group also stated they would not be content with a mere apology from the cardinal, LifeSiteNews reported.

Other supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and feminist organizations including Lambda, the LGBT Collective of Valencia, the Collective for the Sexual-Affective Diversity, and the Association of Families with Transsexual Minors also announced their intent to file an official complaint, according to Crux.

Ximo Puig, the governor of Valencia, added his voice to the backlash against the cardinal whom he accused of "fomenting hatred." The governor said that "the whole world understands that each person can love whom he wants."

In response to what Cañizares referred to as "censorship and condemnation," the cardinal decided to publish his homily while calling on "objective" lawyers to assess his speech.

He asked, "Is it homophobic to defend the family?"

Cañizares also likened the censure and condemnation to a particular period in Spanish history when the Catholic clergy were persecuted by socialists.

On the other hand, supporters of the cardinal argued that Cañizares was only "defending the family amidst the challenges the pope talks about" in the alleged homophobic speech titled "In defense and support of the family." They even cited Pope Francis' document "Amoris Laetitia" released last year as similar to the one delivered by the cardinal.