Catholic World News

Botswana prelate: Homosexuality a sickness ‘mostly of our own making’

June 10, 2010

In a wide-ranging interview published on June 10 by the Gaborone Sunday Standard, Botswana’s leading prelate said that the clerical abuse scandals are a “reflection of a sick society” and that homosexuality is a “sickness … mostly of our own making.”

Clerical abuse is “a reflection that the clergy come from a sick society that produces serial killers, rapists, and abusers,” said 43-year-old Bishop Valentine Tsamma Seane. Defending the discipline of clerical celibacy while acknowledging that the Pope could hypothetically change it, Bishop Seane made clear that women cannot be ordained:

Christ could have instituted women (into the priesthood), but he didn’t. At the Last Supper he sent out men, not women. We are following the tradition of the master who is the Founder of the Church. We are a very traditional Church. This is the Church of Christ himself, not so and so. (If you were to ask) who founded the Anglican Church, the answer is Henry VIII. Who founded the Lutheran Church? Martin Luther. You can put the name of a founder to every other church. Who founded this Church? It’s Christ.

Commenting on homosexuality, Bishop Seane said:

This sickness is mostly of our own making. You can’t justify it. It’s against the natural definition of what’s male and female, and what they are there for. The Church will marry man and woman, not man and man; or woman and woman.

But the Church will sympathize to see how people who find themselves with such inclinations can be helped. There are interventions that include surgery, hormonal (balancing), and psychological counseling. We do acknowledge that such orientation might result from physiological make-up or hormonal imbalance, but you can work on that. Sometimes socialization plays a role, especially in a family that perhaps had wanted to have a girl to such an extent that the parents insist on dressing a son in girl’s clothes.

Look at it this way. Sometimes a baby is born with heart outside, or someone gives birth to Siamese twins. These things happen, but we can make interventions. We can’t accept them as usual. The same applies to homosexuals. They are our brothers and sisters. We have to love them, sympathize with them, and help where we can. The Church does not reject them. We only reject attendant practices, like sodomy.

“In Botswana, the Church is growing,” Bishop Seane added. “The trend is evident throughout southern Africa generally. The reason for this is that people are facing a challenge in getting satisfaction from material things. In the 1980s and 90s people picked material things. But now they realize that material things will not satisfy them. People are also sick, and they find refuge in the Lord.”

The nation of 1.9 million is 67% Protestant and less than 5% Catholic.


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Jun. 11, 2010 8:40 AM ET USA

    Chalk this up to something you would never hear most American bishops (with few exceptions like Bruskewitz) say. Certainly you would never see this coming from the bowels of the USCCB bureaucracy! If the future of the Church is found in places like Africa, then they can re-evangelize us. I welcome them!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 10, 2010 9:18 PM ET USA

    with thinking like this, God help the Church!!!Another example of a theologian who thinks he know every discipline in depth!!

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Jun. 10, 2010 6:22 PM ET USA

    Wow! This prelate is "right on"! On every score. Reasonable and Faithful. He uses Faith and Reason and none of this moral relativism. I have not heard this sensitive issue handled before in such a clearcut, straightforward and reasonable and faithful way! Thank you, Bishop Seane! You know you will be persecuted for your words, but say them anyway - over and over and over! You are in my prayers!