Dominican Republic Cardinal Uses Anti-Gay Slur Against US Diplomat

Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez

A controversy is brewing in the Dominican Republic after President Obama’s choice of an openly gay US ambassador to that nation provoked a severe backlash from conservative Christians, including an anti-gay slur from a Catholic cardinal.

Choosing James ‘Wally’ Brewster, also a major LGBT activist and Obama campaign fundraiser, as nominee for the position is part of a series of LGBT appointments to the diplomatic corp. While equal rights are advancing domestically, critics abroad contend this is the latest efforts of the US to export LGBT rights. Among the critics are members of the Catholic hierarchy in the Dominican Republic, which is 88% Catholic and where bishops heavily influence public opinion. The Miami Herald reports:

“Monsignor Pablo Cedano, auxiliary Catholic bishop of Santo Domingo, said the appointment of Brewster showed ‘a lack of sensitivity, of respect by the United States.’

“Brewster’s position on gay rights ‘is far from our cultural reality,’ he said, adding that if he comes, ‘he’s going to suffer,’ due to the cultural differences, ‘and he’ll have to leave.’ ”

This conflict heightened after Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez used a homophobic slur at a press conference when commenting on the Brewster’s appointment. Daily Mail Online reports he called the nominee a ‘maricon,’ which translates as ‘faggot’ or ‘sissy.’ He continued by saying:

“If the government of Washington considers they are apt to send that kind of ambassador, let the government in Washington go ahead…”

“López warned that if Brewster is sent to the country, ‘the United States can expect anything.’ ”

The cardinal also stated the Church in the Dominican Republic would have no official position on Brewster’s nomination and the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo made no comment. Not all object to President Obama’s choice, however, including LGBT activists in the nation who welcomed the American efforts to expand equality. As The Miami Herald reports:

“It’s a great honor for our country to have someone of his prominence be named ambassador,” Estefanie Hernandez, a member of activist organization GAYP, said as she held a sign welcoming Brewster to motorists who passed a busy oceanfront drive. “To have someone from our community to serve as ambassador is a show of support.”

Supporters also include a Catholic priest, Fr. Jesus Maria Tejada, who openly defied the prelates’ offensive comments and said anti-LGBT prejudice is inappropriate and Brewster would not be discriminated against. More Catholics, clergy and laity alike in the Dominican Republic, need to speak out against this type of anti-gay slander and affirm the Catholic Church’s call to welcome all into the community with respect for each person’s dignity.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


16 thoughts on “Dominican Republic Cardinal Uses Anti-Gay Slur Against US Diplomat

  1. Will July 5, 2013 / 3:30 am

    Yet another example of the ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease that has infected so many of the Church’s senior prelates – and one that reveals their underlying homophobia clearly. So many examples of sheer nastiness and spite from the church cannot be dismissed as isolated incidents (this site has documented many of them).

    The damage this does to moderate people’s view of the church, both those inside and close to it, is incalculable. It makes us look mean, crass, inflexible and uncharitable. What sort of church is that? Don’t Dolan, Tartaglia, Rodrigues, Cordileone etc etc see they damage they do?

  2. Friends July 5, 2013 / 4:48 am

    A Roman Catholic Cardinal calls a U.S. diplomat a “faggot”. I mean…who could even make this stuff up? When Catholics themselves can’t even begin to explain or justify to the world the hateful behavior of their Church’s official ordained leadership, it’s way past time for a new Reformation to occur.

  3. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn July 5, 2013 / 7:08 am

    If the Cardinal wishes to consider Ambassador Brewster such a big sinner, the Cardinal would be wise to read today’s Gospel, and to hold it deeply in his heart. What would he say then? Honestly we are all in need of healing, through love and action, not through rejection and vitriol. I know – you already know this. *sigh* God have mercy. And prayers for Fr. Tejada!

    “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
    Go and learn the meaning of the words,
    I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
    I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

  4. Larry Quirk July 5, 2013 / 12:06 pm

    And if the ambassador called the Cardinal a homophobe, all hell would break loose. This is a trend in the hierarchy where they use their office to give offense but react violently if they are called out for what they really are. This is what happens when the Cardinals live lives apart from the people and forget the gospel message.

  5. Erma Durkin July 5, 2013 / 2:04 pm

    The Cardinal’s attitude and words are very much out of tune with the responsibilities of his calling. What does he know about Ambassador Brewster? Has he even met the man?

  6. Chaplain Bill July 5, 2013 / 2:06 pm

    Am I the only one to feel like there is a parallel universe in the Roman Catholic Church? On the one hand is the very promising election of Pope Francis with his call to openness and humility. On the other hand is the current crop of JP2 bishops with their iron-heartedness. Francis’ voice will not have credibility when these bishops (this one, Dolan, Cordileone . . . ) are allowed this verbal diarrhea.

    I found it so telling that on the day that the Supreme Court approved two gay marriage cases, the bells from Washington’s National Cathedral (the seat of the presiding bishop of Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori) rang with joy. The silence from the steeples of the Roman Catholic Church was so very telling.

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