09/21/2018, 19.48
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Archbishop of Singapore against criminalising gays as well as same-sex marriage

Marriage and family are “ordered for the good of humanity". Singaporeans are discussing whether to abolish the section in the Penal Code that criminalises same-sex relations. Laws “must be rooted in truth and the common good.”

Singapore (AsiaNews) – Mgr William Goh Seng Chye, archbishop of Singapore (pictured), reiterated the condemnation by the Catholic Church of any kind of discrimination against homosexuals but warns society against the normalisation of same-sex unions.

In his latest pastoral letter, the prelate emphasises "the dreadful consequences" of such normalisation in countries that have taken this direction. Thus, he hopes that Singapore will “not repeat the mistake that others have made!  I pray that we will not walk the slippery path of no return.”

Released three days ago, the letter is meant "To help us form our judgement prudently on” Section 377A of the city-state’s Penal Code, presently at the centre of a heated debate. Introduced in 1938, the section on "outrages to decency" criminalises homosexual relations between men.

Following a ruling by the Supreme Court of India decriminalising homosexual sex, many in Singapore question the law and are demanding its repeal in the name of human rights. They are opposed by those who fear that a repeal would threaten Singaporean families and society.

The issue is also playing out among Singapore’s 383,000 Catholics (9 per cent of the population)

Mgr Goh notes that the "Church regards everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, with equal respect." However, although the Church “does not discriminate against the homosexual person. This does not mean however that the Church condones homosexual acts.”

Noting that "Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman" and that the union between them is part of “God's plan", the prelate stresses that marriage and family are "ordered for the greater good of humanity".

He notes that the Church is ready to engage in dialogue and work with parliament for the good of the country but warns that "Laws should not be enacted simply on the basis of current or popular opinion but must be rooted in truth and the common good".

In the final part of the letter, Mgr Goh expresses compassion for gay people "when they are ostracised or marginalised by society.” At the same time, he shares "the anxieties and fears of those who subscribe to the traditional and scriptural views of marriage and family.”

In his view, "repealing the law will not be the end of the saga. Rather, it would only embolden the push to legalise same-sex unions, adoption of babies by same-sex couples, surrogacy, and even the criminalisation of those who hold contrary views of marriage and who oppose same-sex unions".

For the prelate, "the spirit of both the moral and civil laws is to emphasise that same-sex unions are not a social norm as they do not help to foster fruitful and life-giving marriages or cohesive families which are the bedrock of a strong and stable society. This is also intended as a safeguard to prevent champions of ‘gay rights’ from taking their cause beyond the mere repeal of S377A.”

While expressing support for removing penal sanctions against homosexuals, the archbishop ends his message with an appeal to the faithful “to make a conscientious decision to reject the repeal for the future of our families, humanity and society.”

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