September 25, 2015 at 11:44 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Pope Francis addresses U.N. General Assembly

Pope Francis, Catholic Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Pope Francis on Sept. 25, 2015, addressed the U.N. General Assembly. (Photo by Agência Brasil; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

UNITED NATIONS — Pope Francis on Friday spoke about human rights and the environment during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

“No human individual or group can consider itself absolute, permitted to bypass the dignity and the rights of other individuals or their social groupings,” he said.

Francis stressed that economic and social “exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment.” The pontiff added the family is at the “core” of social development.

“The defense of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions,” said Francis.

Francis also referenced “idle chatter” that he said “serves as a cover for al! kinds of abuse and corruption, or for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier in the day praised Francis during a reception with U.N. employees.

“Regardless of faith, we draw inspiration from your humility and humanity — and from your global call for action on social justice, climate change and ensuring a life of dignity for all,” said Ban.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power also noted her admiration of Francis on her Twitter page.

Francis did not specifically reference homosexuality or other LGBT-specific issues in his speech.

The Argentine-born pontiff on Thursday told members of Congress that “the very basis of marriage and the family” is being “called into question.” Francis the day before called for a “tolerant and inclusive” society as he spoke on the South Lawn of the White House.

Francis took part in an interfaith religious service at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in lower Manhattan after leaving the U.N. He is scheduled to visit an East Harlem school and drive through Central Park before celebrating Mass at Madison Square Garden.

Brendan Fay, organizer of an LGBT-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade that takes place each year in the New York City borough of Queens, noted to the Washington Blade during a telephone interview that Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain for the Fire Department of New York, died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The Irish-born advocate said he hopes Francis during his visit to ground zero will hear that Judge “was also a gay man.”

LGBT Federation of Argentina President Estebán Paulón — a frequent critic of Francis — on Thursday applauded the Argentine-born pontiff for his position against the death penalty that he highlighted during his speech to Congress.

Paulón expressed his disappointment that Francis on Thursday did not speak out against anti-LGBT violence around the world.

“It would have also been important that Francis note that the death penalty for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people exists in seven countries of the world for simply being who they are,” Paulón told the Blade in an email. “This also deserves a strong worldwide condemnation the pope can hopefully bring to the U.N. General Assembly.”

Francis did not make such a condemnation during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Brian’s Ions

    Terrific point. That really does highlight the Vatican’s hypocrisy in not also specifically condemning anti-LGBT human rights abuses.
    ——–
    *“It would have also been important that Francis note that the death penalty for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people exists in seven countries of the world for simply being who they are,” Paulón told the Blade in an email. “This also deserves a strong worldwide condemnation the pope can hopefully bring to the U.N. General Assembly.” Francis did not make such a condemnation during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly.**

    • sJames6621

      of course not – he’s’ having diarrhea over how ireland, the most catholic nation in the world changed their constituion with 62% of the people supporting it to allow gays to marry

      • sJames6621

        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32862824

        ps if you see the hate filled comments by mass resistance, they are the extremists from MA who are still having a poop fit that MA (first in freedom long ago) allowed gays to marry

        the head of MA came to md to rant about gays marrying ==I was there- it was hillarious and He was all but thrown out of the committee room head first

        • sJames6621

          ma gAYS ALLOWED TO MARRY UNDER CIVIL LAW 2004

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