The top Catholic Bishop in Botswana has claimed that the church does not reject homosexuals, but only related practices such as sodomy.
Commenting in an interview with Botswana's Sunday Standard, Bishop Valentine Seane – leader of the country's 70,000 Catholics - said that homosexuals "are our brothers and sisters. We have to love them, sympathize with them, and help where we can."
"The Church does not reject them," he said. "We only reject attendant practices, like sodomy."
Calling homosexuality a "sickness mostly of our own making," Seane added, however, that the orientation is not something that the church can "justify," although the church will "sympathise to see how people who find themselves with such inclinations can be helped."
"There are interventions that include surgery, hormonal (balancing), and psychological counseling," he said. "We do acknowledge that such orientation might result from physiological make-up or hormonal imbalance, but you can work on that."
"Sometimes socialization plays a role, especially in a family that perhaps had wanted to have a girl to such an extent that the parents insist on dressing a son in girl's clothes," Seane added.
Seane's remarks come as another African bishop is calling on the U.S. government to assist in debunking Uganda's notorious anti-homosexuality law, which carries a death penalty for homosexual acts.
Deposed Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and Bishop Gene Robinson – the first openly gay bishop consecrated in the Episcopal Church – spoke last week in Washington, D.C. against the American "missionaries of hate" who speak against homosexuality in Africa.
"[U.S. Christians] are doing more harm than good," Senyonjo said during an appearance at the Center for American Progress.
"Human sexuality has no boundaries," he added. "As Paul was called to the Gentiles, I believe this is what I am called to do. An inclusive God is what I believe."
"Where I hope we are headed is to discover the enormous diversity in human sexuality," said Robinson.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were as many sexualities as there are human beings?" he asked. "Are we going to value every human being?"
Also present at the meeting was Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who said he was there to "lend support of the U.S. government" to the bishop's cause.
"LGBT rights are human rights," Posner said. "We work to promote them as we would any other."
The meeting took place as part of a nationwide speaking tour for Senjonjo sponsored by Integrity U.S.A, an unofficial homosexual caucus in the Episcopal Church.
During the tour, Senyonjo was also scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House, although the results of the meeting have not been reported.