Happens a lot these days – usually because of the child-rape conspiracy or financial shenanigans. But this time, it happened just after Pope Francis said conciliatory and Christian things about gay people. The resignation? From one of the most virulently homophobic bishops on the planet, Bishop Simon Bakot of Yaoundé, former president of the National Bishops’ Conference of Cameroon. The resignation was announced by the Vatican:
Bishop Bakot did not resign for reason of age as Catholic bishops are required to do when they reach 75; he is only 66. Nor is he known to have been in ill health or under scrutiny for financial reasons or his own sexual misconduct. The sole reason he is famous is for his staunch opposition to gays. He lumps them with pedophiles and practitioners of bestiality and calls them an affront to God’s creation. He threatens to ‘out’ clergy he opposed by revealing their sexual orientation. He has even been a vocal public supporter of Cameroon’s national day of hatred of gays. The fact that his resignation was accepted the day after Francis’s now famous utterance casts new light on the Vatican’s stance toward gays.
Bakot has described marriage equality as “a serious crime against humanity. We need to stand up to combat it with all our energy.” Once in the vanguard of the Catholic hierarchy’s shift toward the far right, he now seems somewhat stranded.