(CNSNews.com) -- Archbishop Zbigevs Stankevis, who heads the Catholic archdiocese of Riga, Latvia, and is attending the ongoing Synod on the Family at the Vatican, said foreigners, including the U.S. government, are trying to impose a pro-gay agenda on Latvia and other East European countries.
The archbishop also said that homosexual relationships cannot be condoned because they are unnatural and destroy “the identity of man and the identity of woman.”
Latvia is a nation on the Baltic Sea that borders the northwest corner of Russia, and also borders Estonia to the north and Lithuania and Belarus to the south. Riga is the capital of Latvia.
In an Oct. 7 interview with LifeSiteNews at the Vatican, Archbishop Stankevis explained how foreign governments were pushing a gay agenda in Latvia, saying foreigners want to “promote it and impose it.”
“Two years ago we had Gay Pride and next year we will have Europride,” in the capital city of Riga, said the archbishop, referring to two different pro-homosexual parades. According to the archbishop, the past parade in Latvia was attended by “foreigners more than Latvians,” including U.S. and other European ambassadors.
During the festival the archbishop “invited all believers and all Christians to my cathedral for prayer, for moral values, for Latvia and for families and we had more people than Gay Pride,” he said.
“Because homosexual relationships [are] against nature and it’s a disorder, and from the Christian point of view it’s sin and we couldn’t promote it,” said the archbishop. “But we have not tried to discriminate against them or to humiliate them. We have to play on these two registers and reconcile these two registers.”
According to EuroPride, resistance to the pro-gay movement from the Latvian people only encourages them, saying that attempts to ban the event “show how important EuroPride 2015 in Riga is.”
The archbishop defended the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality, saying the stance is “not against homosexuals. We are ‘pro’ these persons, we are invited to defend each person, but we are invited to disarm a lie and the lack of truth in such relationships.”
“About this imposition of so-called homosexual marriages, we are seeking to disarm this pressure using also this language of human rights, because these human rights are misunderstood in this case when these lobbies want to impose these unions,” said the archbishop.
“I have seen that sometimes Christians are too politically correct and they are keeping silence instead of proclaiming truths,” he said. “We are called to evangelize the contemporary world and our message, we are invited not to have shame for the sake of our message even if this message is against political correctness, and if this message is not in accordance with the majority, because this Christian message is promoting the human person. It’s helping to arrive to fulfillment of the human being.”
“Homosexuals relationships are destroying our identity, our Christian -- not only Christian identity but also our human identity, the identity of men and identity of woman,” said Archbishop Stankevis.
Ghanaian Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu has faced similar pressure from countries such as the United States and Great Britain, he told LifeSiteNews in a separate interview.
“These countries want to give us aid but on condition that we respect what they call ‘gay rights,’ in other words. we should make it possible for men to marry men,” he explained. “That goes against our Ghanaian and African cultures, so I would like to bring those concerns [to the Synod.]”
In October 2013, Pope Francis announced that he would be calling the bishops together in Rome for a synod focusing on pastoral challenges facing the family. The bishops will be meeting from October 5-19 to discuss marriage preparation, sexuality within marriage, treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics and homosexuality, among other topics.
Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in Latvia, comprising 22.7 percent of the population and 2.2 million people, while Ghana has 69 percent of their population identifying as Christian. Archbishop Stankevis was ordained a priest in 1996 and became the archbishop of Riga in 2010 under Pope Benedict XVI. Osei-Bonsu has been a bishop in the diocese of Konongo-Mampong since 1995, appointed there by St. Pope John Paul II.