Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur © CBA
Catholic Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur has apologized "to all people" who "felt hurt" by his remarks on homosexuality.
His much-discussed lecture on marriage, family and sexuality at the end of July in Fulda was at one point "not well thought out," he told the Swiss tabloid Blick. He would "comment in more detail today, and first present the whole talk to someone".
Bible quotes on presumed sanction for homosexuality
Among other things, Huonder had quoted biblical passages from the Old Testament book of Leviticus. In it, sexual acts between people of the same sex are called "atrocities" that are "punishable by death". These quoted passages alone, Huonder said in his lecture on 31. July, "would be enough to give the right turn to the question of homosexuality from the point of view of faith".
Bishop defends statements in context
In the current interview, the bishop now said that the remarks were "purely academic-theological": "People did not interpret my lecture, but what was put in front of them by the media." He was concerned with a "pastoral turn" at the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome, he said. "Who reads the whole passage, can surely not say that I have called for the death penalty," Huonder said further. He did not want to comment on the criminal complaint of incitement filed by the Swiss gay organization "Pink Cross" because it was an "ongoing proceeding".
"I am a bishop who stands 100 percent by the teachings of the Church. Sometimes I make mistakes too, then I stand by them," the 73-year-old said. Huonder stressed, "If the Catechism of the Catholic Church says homosexual people are called to abstinence, then that is binding on me as a bishop. It applies to all bishops. There I am not isolated."
Three-page letter to employees of the diocese of Chur
Also on Thursday, Huonder sent a three-page letter to all priests, deacons and employees of the diocese of Chur. According to the Internet portal "kath.ch", the bishop also emphasized in it that the biblical passages quoted were not to be understood as his personal opinion. In the matter, however, he remains faithful to the Catholic catechism.
The website of the diocese of Chur was not accessible on Thursday afternoon. "Since Tuesday, we have technical problems with the homepage," "Blick" quoted a diocese spokesman. A hacker attack has not been ruled out.