A Spanish-language newspaper claims that a homophobic attacker in San Isidro, Argentina invoked Pope Francis, a former Argentine cardinal. According to a March 25th article in Diario Registrado, Pedro Robledo was attacked at a party after kissing another man. According to the article, Robledo was approached by a group of people who lobbed homophobic insults at him before striking him in the face. "La homosexualidad es un pecado, y ahora que el Papa es de todos los argentinos, ustedes son una vergüenza para la Argentina" ("Homosexuality is a sin, and now that the Pope is all Argentines, you are a disgrace to Argentina"), they reportedly said. Another person reportedly ordered Robledo to leave because they now had an Argentine pope. Robledo sought medical attention, then reported the attack with his partner at a San Isidro police station.
Diario Registrado reports that Esteban Paulón, president of La Federación Argentina de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales y Trans, reminded the public that LGBTQ persons are protected by Argentina's laws. He insisted that the attack has "nothing to do with the spirit of the vast majority of Catholic people."
The reported incident should be investigated thoroughly, as there is no room for hate crimes in a civilized world. Nevertheless, the incident illustrates how religion can be used to justify hatred, if not fuel it. While the Catholic Magisterium did not perpetrate or incite the reported attack, the homophobic attitudes of its leaders contribute to homophobia among its followers. Pope Francis and the Catholic Church must recognize the impact that their homophobic attitudes can have on the world, as well as the dire need to repudiate that homophobia.
(Hat tip to Pink News)