The Catholic Archbishop of Durban, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, has lashed out at the BBC for “corrupting” viewers by “promoting” homosexuality, adding that gay people are “evil”.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, the notoriously homophobic cleric wrote: “Has anyone also noticed how determined BBC is to undermine traditional & Christian morality…
“Hardly a day passes without it promoting abortion, homosexuality, etc. Usual tactic is to identify a particular country, then isolate it as abnormal for outlawing xy or z,” he said.
Stephen Morgan (@Trisagion) responded to Napier with, “Thank God you’re not compelled to pay [a license] fee for it.”
This led the cardinal to reply: “But I do have to pay! Each time the propaganda is repeated I know more people are corrupted, myself included, by being told ‘evil is good!'”
It’s not clear what in particular motivated Napier to post the hateful tweets, but he has a long and shameful history of condemning the LGBTQ community and promoting intolerance and hate.
This includes perpetuating the false and dangerous myth that homosexuality is foreign to Africa. In 2013, he told the Mail & Guardian, that America is attempting to impose homosexuality on the continent.
“With the same-sex marriages, we are carrying out someone else’s agenda. It’s a new kind of slavery, with America saying you won’t get aid unless you distribute condoms, legalise homosexuality…” he stated.
Religious leaders have often been champions of LGBTQ intolerance in Africa
Napier further said that same-sex marriages go against “reason and revelation,” and that sexually active gay people do not belong in the Catholic Church. Astonishingly, Napier claimed that he couldn’t be accused of homophobia “because I don’t know any homosexuals”.
Also in 2013, Napier was forced to apologise when he told the BBC that paedophiles should not be prosecuted because they suffer from a medical condition. “I don’t think you can really take the position and say that person deserves to be punished,” he said. This was seen as a justification for the church’s refusal to prosecute priests accused of sexually abusing minors.
The cardinal is among a group of conservative predominately African Catholic leaders who recently scuppered efforts by Pope Francis to be more welcoming to LGBTQ people by blocking new progressive language in official Vatican policy documents. He called the Pope’s moves “irredeemable”.
In March 2016, Napier submitted his letter of resignation as archbishop to the Vatican, as required upon reaching the age of 75. He, however, remains in his position until if and when the Pope announces a replacement.