Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye recently launched a virulent tirade against same-sex marriage, denouncing it as an "abominable practice" and advocating for the stoning of gay couples, citing religious reasons.
The President, known for his conservative Christian views, previously called for homosexuals to be "banished" and treated as outcasts. He criticized Western countries opposing LGBTQ+ rights and defiantly rejected aid from those advocating such practices, urging individuals embracing those beliefs to stay abroad.
This strong stance is in line with the conservative Christian values prevalent in the Great Lakes country, where same-sex relations are punishable by imprisonment.
This statement comes in reaction as the global discourse on LGBTQ+ rights has seen some notable developments, such as Pope Francis' declaration on December 18th regarding the blessing of homosexual couples.
While this marks a symbolic shift in the Catholic Church's stance, it's essential to note that the Church maintains a clear distinction between homosexual and heterosexual marriages.
The Vatican's doctrine of the "one true marriage" underscores its position that while marriage for all is tolerated, it is not yet fully accepted within the Catholic religion.
However, implementing such changes globally is a complex endeavour. Despite the Vatican's guidance, the ability to enforce a shift in mentality and impose measures across all Catholic communities proves challenging.
Several African churches have already signalled their resistance to these advances. For instance, the bishops of Cameroon explicitly rejected any change, stating, "We formally prohibit all blessings of homosexual couples." Similarly, Togo has expressed openness to individuals in same-sex relationships but encourages priests to refrain from blessing such couples.
This dynamic reflects the ongoing struggle within the Catholic Church to reconcile differing perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues, illustrating the tension between global doctrinal shifts and the autonomy of individual religious communities, particularly in conservative regions like Africa.