For the bill to be passed into law, members of the upper house, the Senate, must adopt it in the same terms.
In their collective statement signed by Archbishop Jean-Patrick Iba-Ba, the Bishops say, “In the name of the wisdom of our ancestors, contained in our various cultures, which celebrate life, Love, and Family, we say NO to the decriminalization of homosexuality.”
“We, the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Gabon, cry out in pain as we note, once again, the fracture that is being created between the representatives of the people in decision-making bodies, the institutions of our country, and the entire Gabonese nation,” the members of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon bemoan.
“In the name of our Constitution, which proclaims attachment to our deep and traditional social values, to our cultural, material and spiritual heritage, in the name of the consideration we have for the family as the natural basic unit of society and marriage, the union between two persons of different sexes, its legitimate support, we say NO to the decriminalization of homosexuality,” the Catholic Bishops in Gabon reiterate.
As Pastors, they say, it is their “commitment to respect every person, whatever the orientation of his or her life. It is therefore not a question of demonizing anyone, nor of throwing stones, but of opening ourselves to the Truth.”
“At this point, the Bible enlightens us by affirming that homosexuality is not a human right but an alienation that seriously harms humanity because it is not based on any value proper to human beings,” the Bishops say and cite the book of Leviticus, “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
They also cite the book of Genesis saying, “The Bible declares that the human person is created male and female, male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27). This difference is the basis of their relationship and complementarity and is fulfilled in marriage.”
“Rejecting homosexuality is a duty, a protection of the age-old values of our civilizations and not discrimination,” they clarify and add, “Whereas homosexuality falsifies anthropology and trivializes sexuality, marriage and the family are the foundation of society. And it is in the name of our Christian faith that We say NO to the decriminalization of homosexuality.”
They term as “regrettable” the fact that “some international organizations tend to condition their assistance on the acceptance of modes of behavior alien to our morals.”
As a way forward, the Bishops implore “decision-makers to rebel against these unhealthy methods by opting for the fight for freedom. Today, more than ever, we must get out of the patterns that make us slaves. The promised land of real democracy is at this price.”