Shocking, I know. It’s not a decree from the Pope himself, but it’s the attitude of Bishop Janusz Kaleta of Holy See, the Apostolic Administrator of Atyrau. When asked about gay and lesbian tourists visiting the Vatican, this is what he had to say:

“The church teachings are from the Bible. If we change this teaching, we will not be the Catholic Church. Don’t expect the Catholic church to change these issues, because it is our identity.” When asked if the Vatican is open to dialogue about welcoming such homosexual groups of tourists in the future, Bishop Kaleta responded that “such demonstrations are just not ethical.”

Yep, because religion is something that never changes, but homosexuality is totally a choice. Hmm, I feel like I heard that somewhere before… But anyway, so is the Bishop just against a gay pride parade going through St. Peter’s Square?

Publisher Steinmetz clarified that what was meant by gay travel was traveling for the purpose of a visit, not as a demonstration. To this the Bishop replied, “I consider if someone is homosexual, it is a provocation and an abuse of this place. Try to go to a mosque if you are not Muslim. It is abuse of our buildings and our religion because the church interprets our religion that it is not ethical. We expect respect of our church as we expect to respect that a person does not have to belong to the Catholic Church. If you have different ideas, go to a different location.”

Nope, simply being gay is provocative, abusive, and disrespectful. Not bears in assless chaps, not rainbow flags, not public make out sessions, not kisses, not holding hands – thought crimes of a homosexual nature are enough. You know how many gays probably go to the Vatican to stare in wonder at the Michelangelos and Berninis (who were probably gay)? Maybe the Vatican would be singing a different tune if they realized how much money they’d lose from banning everyone but upstanding, “moral” Catholics from visiting. Of course, I visited the Vatican when I was already calling myself an atheist, and I somehow didn’t manage to get kicked out (I was also 12 at the time…).

As CarnalNation pointed out, the Swiss Guard better start working on their gaydars.