April 11, 2011
Ricardo Cruz, foreground, and Javier Lara attended a sexual diversity conference sponsored by the Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico, March 27.

CNS PHOTO | DAVID AGREN

Ricardo Cruz, foreground, and Javier Lara attended a sexual diversity conference sponsored by the Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico, March 27.

Celebrating Mass for participants in a diocesan-endorsed forum on sexual diversity, Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo, Mexico, told gays and lesbians, "The Church is your home. Jesus founded the Church to bring in those on the outside, for those suffering exclusion and rejection . . . so that they find the love of God."

Vera's diocese sponsors a ministry for homosexuals that promotes the ideas of providing gays and lesbians with expanded legal protections and human rights.

He told Catholic News Service he objects to the mentality of love the sinner and hate the sin promoted by many Christians and the view that people are "homosexual by choice."

Vera said: "I can't judge a gay person or a lesbian by their sexual preferences. The most important thing for us is that they have legal protections. Period."

He said gays will not marry in the Catholic Church and the sacrament of marriage is exclusively for heterosexual couples, even though he endorsed a 2007 law in Coahuila state allowing same-sex civil unions.