YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon – A leading priest in Cameroon condemned the announced that the daughter of the African country’s president had announced her relationship with another woman.

Father Humphrey Tatah Mbuy, an author and spokesperson for the bishops’ conference, told Crux, “homosexuality is a deviation and cannot be given the green card.”

The priest was speaking after a post appeared on Instagram by Cameroon’s first daughter, Brenda Biya, in which she is seen kissing Brazilian model, Layyons Valença.

The post – which has since been deleted – was accompanied by a caption, “I’m crazy about you & I want the world to know.” The caption was accompanied by a love heart emoji.

Brenda is the daughter of Cameroon’s 91-year-old President Paul Biya, who has been ruling the country for over 40 years.

According to 2020’s Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law, Cameroon “currently prosecutes consensual same sex conduct more aggressively than almost any country in the world.” Both male and female homosexuality is illegal in the country.

The president, the son of a catechist, is also a former seminarian.

Brenda’s outing herself as a lesbian is now perceived in the country as a betrayal of her Catholic faith.

“Morality neither depends on majority nor on status. Whether it is a Brenda Biya or an unknown entity, homosexuality is a deviation and cannot be given the green card,” Mbuy told Crux.

“Whatever the rest of the world says, for us Africans, homosexuality is a cultural abomination. And we do not mince our words in its condemnation in our continent,” the priest said.

Kiki Bandy, a Cameroonian LGBT+ activist based in the UK, doesn’t share in the priest’s negative view of homosexuals. She told Crux that Brenda hasn’t put her family name to shame or betrayed Catholic faith.

“I don’t see Brenda Biya posting about a girl she is absolutely crazy about as a betrayal to herself or her religious family,” Bandy told Crux.

“Brenda Biya just like any other LGBT+ person around the world is only following the natural instincts and this is how they were created by God,” she said.

Bandy said religion can’t be used today to justify opposition to homosexuality, because “there are some laws in the Bible which would absolutely not be accepted today. For example, capital punishment, slavery, et cetera … And we can’t live by ancient standards.”

“And I think the Catholic Church is realizing that because in recent times we have seen some changes. For example, we recently had the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, allowing priests to bless same-sex relationships,” she said.

Bandy was referring to the declaration – “Fiducia Supplicans: On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings,” which was published Dec. 18 by the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández.

The Vatican later clarified the document allowed for the blessing of individuals where were homosexual, not same-sex relationships. Most Catholic conferences in Africa rejected the document.

“The Catholic Church will never change its stance about the sinfulness of homosexuality,“ Mbuy told Crux.

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo of Kinshasa, who led the continent’s bishops in their emphatic “no” to the Vatican directive, said in a Jan. 11 letter thag Fiducia Supplicans has “sown misconceptions and unrest in the minds of many lay faithful, consecrated persons, and even pastors, and has aroused strong reactions.”

“African Bishops do not consider it appropriate for Africa to bless homosexual unions or same-sex couples because, in our context, this would cause confusion and would be in direct contradiction to the cultural ethos of African communities,” the cardinal said.

In an interview with French daily newspaper, Le Parisien, the Cameroon president’s daughter said she feels “relieved” after coming out as a lesbian.

“I have received a lot of support from Cameroonian and Western organizations. People have wished me courage. But I have also received negative, homophobic reactions,” Brenda Biya said.

She said she first had a crush on a fellow lady at the age of 16, but decided to keep it secret because at the time, it didn’t seem normal.

She said she published the photo because she felt there were far too many people like herself who are struggling with their sexuality.

In Cameroon, homosexuality can lead to a legal punishable including prison sentences of between six months to five years and the payment of fines. Brenda knows these realities.

“I could lose a lot: break my family ties, no longer be allowed to go to my country, be put in prison,” she said.

Mbuy told Crux that even as the Church disapproves of same-sex relationships, it still supports homosexual persons.

“The Church continues to show concern and love towards those involved, because  just like Christ, while condemning sin, was close to sinners seeking their conversion,” the priest said.