The Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, penned an op-ed for Sunday’s El Paso Times that appeared to be a direct response to a homophobic rant by the Rev. Michael Rodriguez that was published in the same newspaper earlier this month.
Rodriguez, parish priest at San Juan Bautista Catholic Church in El Paso, compared gays to rapists and condemned LGBT allies to hell.
“First of all, I would like to state that previous columns claiming to speak for Catholic Doctrine were the personal opinions of individuals and do not necessarily express the belief of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Ochoa writes.
Ochoa went on to say that while the church opposes same-sex marriage, he advocates love and compassion for all — even us “homosexuals”:
“As Church we want to journey with everyone as they search for meaning in their lives. We believe that Christ offers this meaning. The use of harsh words of condemnation is not the approach Christ invites us to have toward one another. Intolerance closes the door to learning and deeper understanding of each other,” he writes. “Furthermore, it leads to divisiveness within the body of Christ. It is time for us to learn how to work with each other, even when and if we disagree. Too many people have suffered because of a profound lack of compassion and a perceived arrogant intolerance.”