02 October 2007, 16:09
Russian Church leader launches new attack on homosexuality
Strasbourg, October 2, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, speaking at the Council of Europe on Tuesday, reiterated the position of his Church that gay and lesbian parades amount to "propaganda and advertisement of sin."
"When persistent attempts were made to hold a homosexual parade in Moscow, we believed that that meant propaganda and advertisement of sin," Alexy told a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, France.
Attempts are made to justify homosexuality by calling it a disease, the patriarch said. Yet kleptomania can also be considered a disease, he argued. "Why then no one advertises kleptomania while homosexuality gets advertised via gay parades?" he said.
"It is advertisement that is being forced on people who are a very long way from it," Alexy said.
The patriarch also said the Church commiserated with all sinners, including homosexuals, "sinners whom we love while we hate their sin."
"But at the same time, we Orthodox Christians cannot depart from what is taught by the Bible and by the apostolic tradition of the Church," Alexy said.
"Somebody may think otherwise, and nobody must be discredited on the basis of the character of their private lives," he said.
"In the same way, nobody must try to force me or my brothers and sisters in faith to be silent and [to prevent us from] using the word sin for something that is called sin in God's Word," the patriarch said.
It is the right of religious believers to question the acceptability of legal and political support for a feature of society, he said.