The initial incident occurred two weeks ago at a symposium in Germany called "Marriage: Gift, Sacrament and Commission." Bishop Vitus Huonder, trying to explain Christian sexual morality, cited two passages from Leviticus (18:22, 20:13). His intention was merely to show that the Bible condemns sodomy as immoral and, thereby, to demonstrate why homosexual "marriage" defies God's plan for His creation.
"There is no plurality of models for marriage and family," he stated. "To even speak of such is already an attack on the Creator, as well as on the Savior and Sanctifier, that is, on the trinitarian God."
Later in his talk, he even explicitly stressed that people with same-sex attraction deserve pastoral care and comfort.
"The Faith is to everyone, even to those with homophile tendencies, a source of comfort," he asserted, "and can lead to a redirection of such an orientation, to a governing of sexual urges, and to an ordering of one's own life according to the divine command."
Following a storm of outrage from left-wing, pro-gay groups like Pink Cross, Bp. Huonder responded to his critics by stating that the reason he cited the passage was only to "guide the question of homosexuality in the right direction from the point of view of faith."
"During the lecture I quoted several uncomfortable passages from the Old Testament to do with marriage, sexuality and family," he noted. "I want to clarify that I would in no way wish to diminish homosexual people."
The pro-gay groups insisted he meant the worst, though. "There is no question in this case of what he was talking about — there was no misunderstanding," claimed the leader of Pink Cross. "We don't need charity or mercy from the Church at all; we don't accept his apology."
International media outlets were more than content to run with that angle against the "ultra-conservative" prelate in their reports.
On Monday, Pink Cross filed a formal criminal complaint against Bp. Huonder, charging that his speech was indirectly "inciting people to crimes."
A second complaint has also been filed by a private individual.
And now he has folded and issued the desired public apology. He sent a three-page letter to 800 of his fellow priests and employees on Wednesday night, expressing sorrow "to everyone who felt injured by [his] speech, in particular those of homosexual persuasion."
He called his prepared words a "mistake" for being too academic and theological.
He still faces criminal complaints for allegedly inciting violence against homosexuals, though.
Apparently, if convicted, he could land up to three years in jail.