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Interview with Guillermo Rosas sscc, from the Province of Chile

"We all have a placin the Church"


For several years now, you have been involved in the pastoral care of diversity. What do you bring to this ministry and what do you think you receive from it?

Since May 2014, my participation in the Sexual Diversity Pastoral in Chile (Padis-Chile) has been for me a clear experience of immersion in an "existential periphery", as Pope Francis calls it.

Accompanying believers who, because of their sexual orientation, have suffered misunderstanding, discrimination, rejection and often violence in their own families, in their Church communities and in society, has made me feel more the pain and also the strength of faith and hope of the brothers and sisters who come to the community. Padis has confirmed me in the certainty that our faith saves (it has literally saved more than one person's life), and that the Church must welcome all human beings who come to her. At the same time, I believe that as long as there are "Padis" for people of sexual diversity, as long as they are not normally integrated into all Church communities, there is still a long way to go to become the community that Jesus dreamed of. Since I came to Padis eight years ago, at the invitation of a gay friend, I have felt a deep joy to be able to accompany these sisters and brothers. What Padis has brought me is the joy and the certainty of being in a place where Jesus would be, if he were to come into our world today. My contribution is really very modest. Apart from the celebration of the Eucharist at the end of each meeting and, occasionally, the sacrament of reconciliation, my service is to be there, to accompany, to listen, to talk, sometimes to console, and to participate in everything as a member. I try to be a father and a friend: first a friend and then a father. It is a pastoral ministry of presence and friendship. Participating with Padis in the massive annual Gay Pride demonstration has been one of the great experiences of solidarity in my life..

Do you believe that our charism is able to enter into dialogue with this pastoral reality?

Yes, our charism is that of two Hearts open to all humanity, especially wounded humanity. If there is anything contrary to our family spirit, it is, in my opinion, the exclusion of any human being. The irruption of the world of sexual diversity that we have been experiencing for decades in our societies cannot go unnoticed by those of us who want to live attentive to the signs of the times. I believe that it is an authentic cry of the Spirit that moves the Heart of Christ who suffers in every excluded sister or brother.

On the other hand, the moral judgement of homosexuals, albeit condemning only "homosexual acts" and not homosexuals themselves, is in fact experienced by homosexuals as an unjust condemnation of the whole person, since, like all human beings, they experience couple love as a right, a gift and a joy that includes bodily expression.

In the moral doctrine, the importance of love is reduced to practically nothing and forced into an inhuman dissociation from its bodily dimension. Love - in all its manifestations - is, in fact, central to Christian faith and to our charism. As a Congregation that believes in love, it seems to me consistent to be in solidarity with those who, in the vast majority of cases, are unable to accept that on account of having an orientation other than heterosexual, they must be celibate in order not to live in a permanent situation of sin. Something needs to be repaired when we have condemned love just because it does not conform to a certain vision of the Bible and traditional morality. Moreover, repairing what wounds the Heart of Christ is also at the heart of our charism. Reparation which is an ongoing personal conversion, involves the effort to restore all that harms, wounds or kills the faces of Christ in every age.

Many LGBTQ+ people choose to leave the Church. Why stay where they are not wanted? Why put up with uncomfortable silences?

I have heard, with pain, stories of the many people from the LGBTQ+ world who have left the Church in response to these questions. But the most painful thing for me happened last year, when a close and cherished person, already feeling overwhelmed, decided to leave after the negative response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on blessings for same-sex couples was made public. I felt ashamed of our Church as I have rarely felt before. I experienced that even the existence of Catholic communities like Padis is meaningless if the whole Church does not move towards inclusion and does not radically question its traditional dogmatic and pastoral positions on sexual diversity. Pope Francis often reminds us that there is room for everyone in the Church, that it is not a community of the perfect, but of people on the path to holiness. The exclusion of people from the Church is always read as a condemnation by a group of perfect people of those they consider imperfect. Is this not far removed from the spirit of Jesus and the Gospel?

However, there are many others who do not want to leave. Why leave a house that they feel is as much theirs as someone else's?

I have great admiration for people of sexual diversity who stay in the Church in spite of everything. I admire their deep faith in Jesus Christ and the gratitude they experience when they know that in the Church there are inclusive spaces where they can live and celebrate their faith without being judged or considered sinners, but sisters and brothers like everyone else. For those who have left the Church, my only word is one of hope: I believe that there are many of us who are making a conscious effort to walk, step by step, towards a Church that is closer to the Gospel of Jesus. Perhaps too slowly, but with conviction. The members of Padis day by day confirm me in this hope: to see them happy because they can live and celebrate their faith without judgement or condemnation is to experience the "already" of the Reign of God, however much weight and reality the "not yet" may have.

Did God create the rainbow?

No doubt about it...! And He created it not only of seven, but of seven thousand colours. There is no better icon to evoke life, diversity, joy, the union of heaven and earth, than the rainbow. As long as we continue to think of sexual diversity as a flaw or a tragic mistake of nature, we will continue to see humanity in black and white. When one realises that every human being is unique and that one cannot apply stereotypes or abstract categories of normal or abnormal, good or bad, one opens up not only the world, but also the understanding we have of the God of Jesus Christ. God may be infinite simplicity, but he reveals and manifests himself in the infinite diversity of all that is created. God is also infinitely coloured.

In one of his first statements to the media on his return from World Youth Day, Pope Francis, said in respect of homosexual people, “Who am I to judge?” What did he mean by that?

It is a phrase that believers in sexual diversity have treasured as it was the first time that a Pope has referred so explicitly to their orientation without condemning it from a doctrinal point of view, but instead took on that contemporary attitude of respect and understanding that is gaining more and more ground in humanity every day. With these words, Francis suspends traditional moral judgement in favour of a more humane, more personal and more merciful view of homosexual persons. He invites people not to judge, but to welcome. He opens the door to embrace difference and relativizes judgement. In a certain sense, he invites us to live not by making our sexuality explicit, as if that were the only determining factor in our relations with others; no, before having this or that sexual orientation, human beings are already persons. This is the basis of our dignity, our right to love and to be loved.

For Francis that was a small phrase, but for the Church it was a tremendous step in humanity. This is how the people of the rainbow experience it.




  • 1. Sandra ha scritto il 06/05/2022 alle 13:58:

      Excelente entrevista y que bueno sería compartir con los adolescentes que viven esa disyuntiva y como lo plantea el Hermano  Guillermo y citas del Papa realmente muy bueno,me servirá para comentarlo con los pequeños y grandes chiquillos Se agradece.