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A Response to the remarks made by Nigerian Catholic Priest Fr. Kelvin Ugwu On Why Homosexuals are allowed to marry in Catholic Church

Recently Fr. Kelvin Ugwu, a Nigerian Catholic Priest spoke out about his views of Gay marriage .

It was a very confusing article from the go with Fr Kelvin saying that being homosexual is not normal and that such people need help.  Later in the article he says he does not think homosexuals should be condemn but then spends the rest of the article doing just that.

Fr. Kelvin says he has done extensive research on the topic of homosexuality but he only ever quotes from articles and research from the early 70’s and 80’s  which have all been superseded by much more modern thinking and research about the LGBT community. However, Fr. Kelvin completely disregards this more modern reports. He goes on to say that Pope Francis recent remarks on gay marriage and LGBT community in the church have been totally misquoted and misunderstood.

Fr Kelvin begins the article saying he feels forced to accept homosexual people but totally disagree with the notion that it is a natural behaviour for humans to be homosexual. He says that homosexuals like to justify their behaviour by comparing homosexual behaviour in animals. He does not believe this can be be used as an argument in favour of such behaviour in humans as normal.

Then again, I say, nor should the absence of homosexual animal behaviour be used as an argument that homosexuality among humans is ‘against nature’. Platon and Christian authors from antiquity have made such arguments before that form the basis of the ‘against nature’ argument.

Interestingly, Fr Kelvin does not speak in terms of ‘against nature’, but writes, ‘not normal’. The word normal in fact has 2 meanings: the average and then also the normative. Fr. Kelvin does not make it clear about which meaning he is referring to.

Fr Kelvin says he ‘stumbled’ on a manual of mental disorders published in 1968 by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) which says that homosexuality is a mental disorder. He says that gay activists ‘threatened APA with strong words’ to make them remove this which they did in 1973.

Fr Kelvin is using a myth. No member was ever forced to vote for the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder; they responded to a change of social reality which made them understand that homosexuals are mentally completely functioning. Is Fr. Kelvin insinuating that lesbian and gays are mentally ill? In Germany, they compared this kind of collective understanding with that of the hunting of witches, which was also based on irrational myths and beliefs.

Fr. Kelvin talks about actions that former US President Obama did to Uganda over their anti-gay laws.  He never elaborates what actions he is talking about nor do I remember what he did, but I do know that Obama acted against the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts. Fr Kelvin does not mention this grave punishment at all. Why is he silent about this? He, instead, uses simple anti-colonial rhetoric by connecting anti-homosexual statements found on Facebook with access to visas.

Fr Kelvin seems to believe that Pope Francis has been misquoted. He wants to make us believe that the Pope is just a nice guy to everybody; that the Pope has no clear understanding of what he says. He does not take into consideration that Francis did really want to say what he said. By this, Fr. Kelvin shows no respect to the Pope.

In addition, as a Catholic priest, Fr. Kelvin says nothing on what he, himself does to welcome LGBT people in his own parish. What kind of pastoral care does he offer to them? How does he follow the numerous examples that Pope Francis has given?

A recent article in Independent Catholic News (Matthew Charlesworth SJ- https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/40759) talks about a new documentary by Evgeny Afineevsky entitled ‘Francesco’ in which the Pope is reported to say, ‘Homosexual people have a right to be in a family … They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it.’

This is obviously a continuity of the opinion that the pope holds on civil unions because he already supported them when he was archbishop in Buenos Aires. He considers same-sex couples in the framework of the family and accepts that they need to have rights in order to live undisturbed.

Fr. Kelvin, on the other hand, does not come close to understanding this perspective at all.  He does not use the framework of human rights when it comes to LGBT people.

But I do agree on one thing that Fr. Kelvin says at the end of his report, indeed do ‘pray for your Christian Leaders’ and do ‘prayer for the Pope.’ However, I suspect I might well be praying for a very different outcome.

Davis Mac-Iyalla
October 2020