Brazil priest suspended for views on contraception
- Friday, 27 February 2009
Brazil priest suspended for views
By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo
Map of Brazil
A Roman Catholic priest in Brazil who defended the use of
contraceptives and the rights of homosexuals has been suspended by
his local archbishop.
Father Luiz Couto has been told he can resume his priestly duties in
the north-eastern state of Paraiba if he publicly renounces his views.
The priest is also a member of Congress for the Workers' Party of
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
He says he will continue to celebrate Mass at home with friends.
It appears that Father Couto landed in trouble with the Church
authorities because of an interview that he gave to a local newspaper
defending the use of condoms as a matter of public health.
He also spoke out against discrimination against homosexuals and said
he was opposed to celibacy for priests.
The archbishop in the state of Paraiba, Aldo Pagotto, said the
ambiguous views expressed in the interview over gay marriage and
contraceptives were diametrically opposed to the official teaching of
"This is intolerable," the archbishop said in an interview with
Brazil's TV Globo.
Father Couto says he has not been officially notified of the decision
and will continue to celebrate Mass at home with friends. Archbishop
Pagotto is reported as saying the suspension will be lifted if the
priest publicly renounces the views expressed in the interview.
A spokesman for the suspended clergyman said he was not an advocate
of gay marriage, but an opponent of discrimination.
As an elected member of Congress for President Lula's Workers' Party,
Father Couto has been a high profile advocate for human rights.
He has received threats to his life in the past for his opposition to
death squads that operate in the north east of Brazil.